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Recovery, varies amongst athletes in how and when it’s done. It repairs, rests, and reenergizes your body so that you can continue training at a maximum capacity.
Above all, sleep has been argued to be most essential to athleticism — and not just your typical 7-8 hour sleep span. Many olympic and world class athletes get 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Some athletes will even fit in a nap in addition to this long night’s sleep. Good routine sleep is very important. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. This allows an optimal environment for your body to heal.
Cheri Mah, a researcher at Stanford who has studied longer sleep and its effect on athletic performance, offers some tips for obtaining optimal sleep hygiene.
Sleep tips for runners
- Maintain a consistent schedule (same time to go to sleep and wake up)
- When transitioning from summer to fall, it can become easier to sleep in. Gradually, push back your bedtime over a few days, and then you wake-up time can adjust accordingly
- Make the bedroom dark and quiet
- Establish a pre-bed routine to wind down (stretching, reading, etc.)
- Reduce hydration a couple hours before bedtime
Ways of promote better recovery and performance if you’re a runner
Before your running sesh:
- If you choose to eat a meal, give yourself a few hours to digest. Otherwise, go for something that your system can easily absorb (e.g., a banana or dried fruit)
- Drink at least 8 oz. of water a half hour out
- Start your run with an easy stride, rather than going 100%. This will prevent more soreness
- Track mileage with your shoes. After about 500 miles, soles will typically give, and it will be time to replace them
- Fit in a 3-5 minute cool down jog, followed by ten minutes of stretching. You can even incorporate this into your walk back to the car
- Soak your legs in a ice bath for 7-10 minutes to treat inflammation.
- Do “leg drains” by lying on your back with your legs extended vertically and feet and legs propped against a wall for three to four minutes. This allows clean blood to be pumped back into them. You’ll notice a difference!
- Get a sports massage to flush out lactic acid and realign the muscles
- Active Release Technique, which breaks up adhesions and realigns the muscles
- Incorporate protein into your next meal to aid in the repair process
If you are a runner and looking to promote better performance and recovery, ask your San Francisco Custom Chiropractic chiropractor about Active Release Technique. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Bay Area clinics, contact us here.