Do you do everything you should to recover between workouts? Recovery is perhaps even more important than the training itself since the adaptations to training occur during the recovery period between runs, not during the runs themselves.

Guidelines for recovery:

Consume carbohydrate to resynthesize and store glycogen in muscles and liver. To maximize the rate of glycogen resynthesis, consume 0.7 gram of glucose per pound of body weight within 30 minutes after your run and every 2 hours for 4-6 hours.

Consume protein to repair microscopic muscle fiber damage and to provide amino acids for adaptation to your training. Consume 20-30 grams of complete protein (those which contain all essential amino acids) after you run.

Consume antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E) to help muscles repair cellular oxidative damage.

Water is vital for many chemical reactions that occur inside your cells, including the production of energy for muscle contraction. Dehydration from sweating also decreases blood volume, which decreases stroke volume, cardiac output and, ultimately, a decreased oxygen delivery. Drink half a liter of water for every pound you lose during your workout. If your run is longer than 1 hour, drink fluids with sodium.

Research is mixed on this. Ice massage or cold water immersion doesn’t decrease the perception of soreness, but it can decrease the level of the enzyme creatine kinase in the blood (an indirect indicator of muscle damage). If you soak your legs in cold water, limit it to about 10 minutes to prevent frostbite.

Research shows that the effects of massage on recovery are rather small. It can reduce muscle soreness but has no effect on muscle function.

Getting adequate sleep is paramount to recovery. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.

4 Responses to RECOVERY

  1. Hi Jason,
    I understand for endurance athletes, not only do glycogen stores increase, but also triglycerides. I had previously thought triglycerides were a negative thing and a pre cursor to all sorts of health risks like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases n cancer. Are the triglyceride stores in endurance athletes distinguishable from non athletes and do they pose the same risk?
    Also what happens if the endurance athlete stops exercising. Will those triglycerides get turned into fat? Many thanks!

    • Hi. Jeynelle. We store triglycerides in adipose tissue and inside muscle as intramuscular triglyceride. When you run, most of the fat you use is intramuscular triglyceride because that fat is physically closer to the mitochondria where it is ultimately converted into energy aerobically. So, yes, endurance athletes will store some more triglyceride, but it is of the intramuscular triglyceride variety so that you have more fuel (along with the glycogen). If you stop exercising, you effectively take away the demand so, over time, you lose the adaptations.

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