Obviously, longer runs require longer recovery. Besides using something like gels and drinking water when running, is there anything else I can do to help my body from being depleated as much during long runs so I can recover faster afterwards?

  • 2
    You are confusing your terminology. "Recovery" is what you do post-workout.
    – prototoast
    Apr 10 '12 at 7:17
  • I know it is. However, if my recovery is slow afterwards, I want to know if there is anything I can do ahead of time to help speed up the recovery. I'm not sure how that's confusing. Apr 10 '12 at 12:51

When I was doing my distance training I found a litre of chocolate milk was a great cheap recovery drink. Lots of carbs, protein, tasty, and available everywhere.

My friends find it amusing that every time an article is published suggesting this, they send me links, which I alas do not store.

But soon (15-30 minutes) after your long run is finished, have some carbs and protein. Chocolate Milk is just an easy thing to handle at that point.

  • Thanks for the tip. I've used products like Muscle Milk or the Kellog's Protein Chocolate shake but never after a run -- only before and I found myself a bit sick to my stomach even after allowing an hour or so after drinking it before I run. Thanks! Apr 9 '12 at 15:29
  • 2
    I have also used chokolate milk. From the content of the content of the dedicated product (e.g. from Kellogs), I cannot see what they have that makes it worth the money... Apr 10 '12 at 9:18
  • It's not really worth the money. Every now and then I see it on a decent sale so I pick it up. Thanks for the response @TonnyMadsen Apr 10 '12 at 12:52
  • Why chocolate? Why not just whole milk with necessary fats, protein and energy? I personally drink whole milk (unprocessed) a lot, feel good in whole body -- sometimes I add extra energy with chocolate powder and carbs with dried-brown-bread called "ruisleipä" with some fats on it -- but this is for extra energy. I still buy just normal milk, not anything special. Keep things simple :)
    – hhh
    Sep 7 '13 at 13:33

The core aspects are

  • as you have mentioned, replenishment of water, salts and carbohydrates - using gels, drinks etc
  • training your body to cope with longer distances improves your recovery time.

The training piece is the aspect you can improve over time, so concentrate on that.

  • Thanks Rory. That's the main thing I'm trying to do. At my weight I seem to be burning quite a few calories (around 2000 per 10 miles) whereas many of the guys I run with are burning only 1/2 that. Apr 9 '12 at 0:40
  • 1
    I'm sure that getting proper rest (both before and after the run) would also help with recovery time.
    – JW8
    Apr 9 '12 at 3:23

In addition to hydrating, replenishing energy stores, etc., I have found that my recovery time is improved when I don't overextend myself. Two things I've found that help to keep my recovery time in check are: not attempting to run a distance that is further than I'm able to handle, and not running at a pace that is too fast for my goals.

Generally speaking, it is recommended that long runs not exceed 25-35% of your weekly running volume. This distance is usually adequate for gaining all of the benefits of the long run, while not requiring such a lengthy recovery that it interferes with training. Depending on your goals, there are times where it makes sense to exceed this, but the range is a good rule of thumb.

Regarding pace, again, this depends on your goals, but for a typical long run, it is recommended that the pace be 1-2 minutes per mile slower than your goal marathon pace. Another guideline would be to keep the pace "conversational." Basically, the faster/harder you go during your long run, the more time you'll need to allow for recovery.

One last thing I've found to help is to go for a short, easy-paced run the day after a long run, instead of taking a day off.

As always, pace and distance should adjusted based on your ability to complete a workout on any given day. Listen to your body--have you been getting adequate rest and nutrition? Consider the elements--is it warmer or more humid than what you're used to?

  • When you run 30+ km for an LSR, then it can be rather difficult to make that max 25-35% of the weekly distance... :-) Sep 3 '12 at 17:35
  • No doubt...but that should probably be the exception rather than the rule. I would argue that most people who do regularly run 30+ km (18+ miles) for a long run, are probably running in excess of 50 miles, which would put that LSR distance at the upper end of the range. Sep 3 '12 at 18:09
  • I should add that just this past week, after not having done a long run in quite a long time, and not having a ton of volume/week recently, I ran 10 miles, and only ended up with 22 miles for the week. (Of course, that had to do with a bout of food poisoning mid-week.) Sep 3 '12 at 18:24

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