Special to Run Forever Sports by Abbie Darcey
After punishing your body with intense workouts, it’s important to allow yourself time to heal. It doesn’t have to be complicated, as illustrated by Run Forever Sports’ 6 simple steps to recovery. Every Olympic athlete will tell you that recovery is key to a strong performance.
Here are a few recovery tips straight from the Olympic runner’s handbook.
Six-time Olympic track and field medalist Allyson Felix believes that sleep is the key to recovery. She makes sure to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep, and even takes naps during training days whenever she can. The endocrine system is hard at work even when you're asleep and it secretes hormones necessary for muscle growth and repair. It is also when the central nervous system resets which is responsible for muscle coordination and speed—two things that every runner needs.
The 2012 Olympic champion might also have another trick up her sleeve, or down her leg sleeves to be more precise.Vogue observed that Felix wore compression leg sleeves during the 2016 summer Olympics. Her physical therapist explained that compression gear helps prevent lactic acid build up by improving blood circulation. It prevents symptoms such as muscle cramps and fatigue after a run. If you want to recover the Felix way,check out Run Forever Sports' collection for your compression gear needs.
Yohan Blake has hit a few rough patches in his career, but the Jamaican sprinter still has an impressive record. With Usain Bolt as his training partner, it’s no surprise that he is the second fastest man in the 100-meter and 200-meter events.Blake has been using massages to enhance his recovery journey and make a comeback to the track. Massage therapy can help reduce muscular tension, prevent muscle soreness and injury, and improves blood flow. You can also incorporate a post-training stretching routine or foam rolling techniques which have a similar effect.
Now retired, Kelly Holmes is still a highly respected athlete we can all learn a lot from. Recovery is something that she pays more attention to now that she’s approaching her 50s.Holmes told Athletics Weekly that nutrition and fluids are vital for recovery. Recovery food should include protein for muscle repair, as Holmes emphasized, and carbohydrates to refuel your energy sources. Then drink electrolyte-rich fluids to rehydrate. It's advice that she swore by even during her prime, and it has clearly paid off. In addition to other achievements,her most glorious moment came in the 2004 Olympics. Holmes dominated both the 800m and 1500m events and became Britain's first double gold medalist in the same games since 1920. Of course, nutrition—albeit a big part of recovery—is still only a part of the equation. The esteemed runner also mentioned varying your workouts and intensity. This will ease the strain off particular joints or muscles that can cause chronic pain and injury. Swimming, for example, is a great alternative to running as it is also a cardiovascular workout.
The simplest yet wisest advice probably comes from 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Andre De Grasse: be patient. When the Canadian sprinter felt a hamstring strain last year, he withdrew from the 2017 World Championships in Athletics. He stated in an interview that he’s being patient with letting his body take its time to recuperate without pushing himself too hard. Some people push too far beyond their limit and often learn their lesson the hard way. De Grasse is an Olympic athlete with an extraordinary ability that can compete with Usain Bolt, but he is also human like everybody else. Listen to your body’s warning signs. Step back when you need to so you can heal completely and come back stronger than ever.