What Not To Do After A Run
After going for a run, you often feel you’re ready to take on the world. You’re pumped full of the endorphins that make up the almost mystical feeling of a runner’s high that combined with an unbeatable feeling of accomplishment swells your positivity and makes the day feel a little better. But all the benefits of your run are for nought if you neglect to treat your post run as important as your pre-run. Just like you wouldn’t hit the streets without warming up properly, you also shouldn’t get home and forget to treat your body properly. To ensure your muscles don’t seize up and you can keep smashing your personal best, here are our top 10 things not to do after a run.
1. Stay In Your Running Gear
Even if you’re not sweat manifested as a human being, you absolutely must get out of your running clothes as soon as you get back from your run. Bacteria loves damp, dank, humid environments, and the longer you stay in your gear, the more you are encouraging it to grow.
This also includes your running shoes, which are likely to be the sweatiest area of the body. Removing both running shoes and socks upon getting back home will mitigate the potential for Athlete’s Foot and will keep you on track to keep hitting the – uh – track.
2. Take Well Deserved Lie Down Or Nap
It’s also tempting to reward yourself with a quick lie down once you get home from your run. It makes sense; you’ve just done a load of exercise and deserve some time to get off your feet. Here’s why you shouldn’t though: a quick lie down can turn into a long lie down and you’ll end up feeling lethargic and listless.
Sometimes you can’t help but halt your activity throughout the day, though, especially if you sit at a desk all day. If you know this will happen, take the time to do light stretches whenever you can to encourage the blood flow, and wear compression socks to stop blood getting stagnant in the lower legs.
3. Refuel The Wrong Way
Your body needs the right fuel following your run, so treat it properly by eating the right foods once you get home. If you need to get to work or have other commitments, prepare everything ahead of time. Good foods to eat following a run include chicken or turkey, fresh fruit, and low-fat yogurt.
4. Rehydrate Improperly
As important as food-based refueling is, also remember to rehydrate correctly. Drinking water (or an electrolyte replacement) after your run helps eliminate metabolic waste and restores oxygen to the blood. Make sure to do this within 2 hours of your run.
5. Sell Yourself Short
Bodies can be weird and sometimes you’re just not feeling it on your run, right? It’s easy to get back from a less than successful run around the neighborhood and beat yourself up because you didn’t hit your usual expectations.
Having a negative attitude can lead to further negativity each time you pull on your running shoes, so while you may not have achieved your personal best this time around, there’s always the next run to go for it.
6. Avoid The Cool Down
Even if you feel like your run wasn’t as intense as it could have been, you still shouldn’t neglect the cool-down period. An abrupt halt following intense exercise can lead to a buildup of lactic acid which will stiffen the muscles and lead to a burning sensation. You might also feel weak or sick.
Completing your cool down eases your body out of exercise mode and allows you to get outside and do it all again tomorrow.
7. Get On With Demanding Chores
One positive of the post-run attitude is your feeling you are ready for anything, and it might even motivate you to tackle more demanding chores around the house. However, while you feel like you can do it, you shouldn’t, as you’re exerting energy that’s necessary for proper muscle recovery and will risk injury.
8. Not Give Your Body A Break
The problem with running and exercise in general is that it can become an addiction, and while running is good for you, it’s high-impact factors mean too much of it can lead to injury and a speedier breakdown of bones, joints, and muscles. We know you may have fitness goals to hit, but you’re only doing yourself a disservice by trying to run a lot every day. Make sure to give yourself a break every once in a while
9. Miss Out On Your Sleep
The best way to recharge after your run to prepare for the next day is to get enough sleep as you can. This is particularly true if you like to enjoy the brisk air and sunrises of morning runs, even if it might mean waiting until the next day to catch up on Game of Thrones.
Elite runners claim to get up to 12 hours of sleep a night, but we know most of you have far too much to do to achieve that. If you start adhering to a (mostly) strict sleeping schedule (at least 8 hours), you’ll find your energy improving soon enough. Let’s face it, you’ll only be spending those extra hours awake scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit anyway.
10. Treat Yourself To A Beer (or Five)
We’ve all been there after a run with a few buddies or your running group when you’ve come to the end of trail only to stumble upon promising looking pub. A well-deserved post-run beer feels like a natural progression of your day, but the dehydration can negatively affect your progress, and any calories you’ve burned will pour straight back down your throat.
If you don’t have a choice, then drink as much water (or more) alongside your favorite IPA. Many people believe it’s an old wives’ tale, but it works.
Running For Your Life
We all know a run is a great way to get healthy, stay active, and clear your head, especially after a stressful day at work. However, you won’t get the full benefit from your run unless you make sure to not make the same mistakes many people do following their workout. That shouldn’t be a problem, though, if you follow this advice.