The importance of the after work out phase

The importance of the after work out phase
August 13, 2019 No Comments Running journey Pietro

Many runners neglect, especially as beginners, the importance of the after work out phase. However, as the training is important to create conditions for improvements, so rest and recovery are crucial, to allow the conditions for building that desired performance boost.

I want to share with you some of the lessons I learned during my journey as a traveling runner:

Do stretching exercise after run

We often decide to go home and rest, pleased or exhausted after a good running session. The job is not done yet: muscles, contracted for the effort, need to be stretched to teach them the work-out is over, helping them to go in resting position.

This will help avoiding muscular injuries, for example at the calf or the soleus muscle, withstanding deep solicitation.

Eat and drink after the session

As already mentioned while discussing what to eat when training, it is important to keep the right level of hydration of the body. But the effort, especially when running for more than one hour, requires a full recovery of energies, especially carbs and proteins.

The recommendation is to have a meal within the hour after the running session: a toast with marmalade or ham, yogurt or skyr (less fat, more proteic content), fruit and water and/or orange juice. Your body has been under stress due to the work out: don’t add not needed, additional stress and nurture it!

Sleep well and limit stress

Even if quite obvious, many of us underestimate how important is a good quality sleep for the performance. Today most of GPS watches for runners track heartbeat and give info on sleep quality and stress.

This can be an useful indicator, and not only for your performance. If there are causes of stress in your life, it would be good advise to isolate them, and try to solve the root cause.

Don’t over-train

Sometimes, after procrastinating and skipping some training sessions, we see a goal (e.g. a running event date) approaching fast. The temptation is to compress the training to achieve more in less. Other times, we just feel so well during the first sessions, that we feel we can achieve more, adjusting our schedule to more ambitious targets.

Over-training is a big enemy of runners, and not only increasing the chances of muscular injuries. It can also lead to declining performances without an apparent explanation.

Usually some main body indicators (as the resting heart frequency) show a tendency opposite to the expectations. The usual reason is that the time given to the recovery is too short, compared to the effort.

I understand, you probably don’t feel like spending a day on the couch watching that new series on Netflix. But remember: also cross-training (few hours in the gym potentiating other muscles) or just having a nice walk in a park) will allow you to feel active without pushing hard.


What is the bottom line here? Often, the most difficult thing to do for a runner preparing an event, is the… easiest. Er are talking about sleeping, drinking a glass of water, eating a sandwich, or just relax! We need to consider these as an important part of our training; it is actually what gives the body time to build the performances we will aim at, in the next training session.

If you liked this post about the importance of the after work out phase, contact me for any question, comment below or sign in to increase this community 🙂

About The Author
Pietro I am an italian living in Denmark, where the culture of running touched me and combined with my passion for travelling. I finally found a very good excuse to visit new places: organizing running trips, usually for half marathon.

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