No, you cannot just eat ice cream and sit on the couch all day.
But, that’s not a bad idea.
If you want to take your post-long run game to the next level, check out the below suggestions.
What is a Long Run?
There are certainly different definitions, but a simple one is any single run that is at least 25% of your total weekly volume. So if you are typically running 30 miles per week, a “long” run for your fitness level is about 8 miles.
Immediately After the Run
First, congrats. You’re awesome and you just finished a long run! Few people will ever run that far, and you crushed it.
Before even technically ending the run, I like to walk a bit. What I’ll usually do is an out and back and run a little bit farther out so my goal distance or time will be hit before I get to my starting point. I find walking 5-10 minuets after a run helps me cool down a bit, collect my thoughts, and I usually carry my phone in a running belt so this walk back to the start lets me log that.
Nutrition and hydration should be the first priority. Taking in some carbs and protein within 15-30 minutes of completing the long run is a superior idea and having a meal within 1-2 hours is a nice way to cap off the morning.
The Rest of the Morning
After you return from the long run, there are basically two options.
The first is to stay up and active, the second is to relax. I’ve found that if you have have a lot to do this day, it’s almost best to wait to shower until your more active non-running activities are done. This may include some yard work or laundry. It seems that the shower just makes you tired while staying up and moving hopefully preserves some productivity energy.
If relaxation is the go-to, you can step up your shower game by going cold or hot. Within the past few years taking a cold shower or a hot bath after a run has been shown to each have potential benefits to your running.
In the Afternoon
A bit of a nap in the afternoon after a long run can be a great method of improving your recovery.
Staying active and not spending the entire afternoon seated will almost certainly improve how your legs feel the next day. After you’ve cleaned up a bit, doing some light foam rolling can also go a long way to
There are a number of ways the evening after a long run can go. If you do an easy regeneration run, you’re running on tired legs. This is not a recovery run, but what this does in give you a little bit extra stimulation to adapt from.
You can also hit the gym the evening after a long run. The idea behind this is that the day(s) after a long run are usually reserved for no running or short/easy runs. This means doing some strength work on the same day as a long run means you’ll be seriously prioritizing recovery during the following few days.
Compression socks for the night may help improve your recovery from a hard workout. They may not, but either way they can’t hurt.
Having some protein before bed may help improve your adaptations as well.
Bonus – One Thing to Avoid
One of the most difficult aspects of running, and especially the long run, is food.
Some consider running as an excuse to eat whatever they wish. Others may suggest being a runner is more of a reason to be mindful of your diet quality since you’re stressing your body for many miles of running each day.
If you have no other choice, eating junk food to get in calories after your long run is preferable to not eating after a long run, making healthy choices throughout the day will help optimize both your recovery and how you feel.
Do you have any more tips for the day of a long run? Comment below!
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