After a long run, how can there really be anything else to do? We’ve enjoyed the scenery and taken some pictures. We’ve nodded or peace-signed to our fellow long-run-day runners. We’ve sweat. We’ve strengthened our lungs. Even our heart has worked and grown, specifically our left ventricle, pumping enough blood and provided enough oxygen to complete our run. So, what else do we need? Well, we need to think about fuel and our mind.
When you finally get to press the stop button on your watch, I’m sure you feel a bit of relief. Some words that may cross your mind, “Ahhh, it’s done! I did it!” You did! But before you leave your run behind you and hop in the shower or grab that coffee, go into your closet and take out your yoga mat and foam roller.
We’ve got to stretch and do a little bit of strength before we put our efforts to rest. So, find a nice quiet space to lay out your yoga mat. Sit down with a nice straight back, sitting “criss cross applesauce” or on a mediation pillow, and just take a few slow, deep breaths. Quiet your mind for a couple of breaths, only thinking of your breathing. Next, let your thoughts wander about your long run. How did you feel during and after? What sights did you see? What sounds did you hear that made your long run enjoyable?
After your reflection, go back to taking a few deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Think of nothing but your breathe.
Next, let’s team up this long run even more with caring for those muscles that worked so hard for you. Take your foam roller and start to gently roll out your glutes, quads, calves, and back. Remember to keep your core engaged and support yourself. After rolling out, move into a downward dog position and start pedaling your feet (about 6x), then perform 5 shoulder presses, followed by 5 alternating knee crunch-ins, and repeat this about 3-4x. When you are finished, you can lay on the mat and finish up with any favorite stretches.
Fuel! It’s really not just the first 30 minutes after your run that you need to worry about. It’s the entire day and every day after. Are you seriously going to give yourself a nutritiously calibrated post-run snack and then two hours later eat a pizza or buffalo wings? I hope not.
Long Run Nutrition Team Up Ideas to Fuel You Beyond your Long Run:
Post-run Smoothie: date, banana, maca powder, cocoa powder, almond butter, almond milk, frozen berries, spirulina
Lunch: mixed raw veggies and hummus w or w/o toast
Dinner: Wicked Awesome Salad! Chopped Kale, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Pepper, beans with Rice & Apple Cider Vinegar (mixed and sitting/soaking for 10-15 min). Mix in flaxseed meal and nutritional yeast. Then drizzle peanut sauce (peanut butter, a little apple cider vinegar, gluten free soy sauce, water, rice vinegar.)
This can be served as is or over warm quinoa. Not only do adults like this meal but little humans do too.
There’s so much that we can do for our body and mind even after we’ve put in a strong effort. Remembering that recovery and fueling is just as important as logging miles can be a struggle. However, once you get in the rhythm of stretching your body and mind in those ways, your body will thank you in the end!