Recovery for Runners- Seven Things that Work for Me

It’s a fact:  the older you are as a runner, the more important recovery becomes. I’ve found that I can no longer skip stretching and foam rolling after I run or I’ll be more sore and stiff the next day. The longer and/or more intense the run, the more important it is that I follow my recovery regime.

Over the years I’ve found some recovery products that undoubtedly make a huge difference in how quickly my body recovers after running. Probably the one recovery product that I’ve had the longest is my foam roller. I’ve tried different brands and different styles of foam rollers over the last 15-20 years and have found the TriggerPoint GRID foam roller lasts longer than most other brands and does a great job for an affordable price. You can buy TriggerPoint products here.

One or both of my dogs often tries to take over my rug that I stretch and foam roll on!

I also love Nuun hydration products and will have either their Endurance during a long run or their Sport after a shorter but intense run to re-hydrate. Endurance has some carbohydrates to help keep you fueled for runs longer than 90 minutes. You could drink either Endurance or Sport before or after a run (or during) but I’ve found what works best for me as stated above. Nuun also has a relatively new product, Rest, that has magnesium, tart cherry, and potassium to help you recover and sleep better. I’ve tried the Blackberry Vanilla Rest and really like it. You can buy Nuun products at local running and sporting goods stores, Target, Whole Foods, Amazon, and many other places including the full line of products at


Another product for recovery that I love is my Zensah recovery compression tights. My hips and calves tend to tighten up after an especially long run and I’ve found if I wear these tights for a few hours after running, my legs and hips don’t feel as tight or sore. At first I wore them only after running half marathons then I thought that was silly and started wearing them after runs more than 10 miles, when I really feel like I need them the most. I also wear Zensah compression socks or True Grit socks while I’m running and love both products. Some local running stores carry some of their products but you can find all of Zensah’s products at


One thing I do for recovery and I feel like it’s made a huge impact on my running and the prevention of major running injuries is go to yoga class. I’ve been going to yoga class at a gym for about 15 years and although the gyms and teachers have varied over the years, I’ve been able to learn some excellent yoga poses and stretches for helping loosen my tight runner legs and hips. I only go to yoga class once a week but I’ll sometimes incorporate some yoga-specific stretches into my post-run stretches at home.

Another thing I do after every long run is make sure I eat something healthy with carbohydrates and protein. I really love a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with whole almonds, Hemp seeds, mixed berries, sunflower seeds, and a drizzle of honey. That’s been my go-to snack after long runs for a while now and it fills me up and satisfies me plus it’s got plenty of protein and carbs to help with recovery.

The final thing I do for recovery is schedule a massage once a month. I started doing this when I was dealing with headaches and neck pain in my early 30’s. I had been involved in three different car accidents spread out over about 5 years beginning when I was in high school. At the time, I was seeing a chiropractor but didn’t want to continue seeing a chiropractor for the rest of my life so I looked into massage therapy. Not only has massage therapy helped with my neck pain and headaches but it also helped with Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) many years ago. Since I started going to a massage therapist regularly, I make sure I pay attention to any little niggles I’m currently feeling so the therapist can work those out before they become something bigger.

My other dog commandeering the rug I stretch and foam roll on

Actually, there is one more thing, actually probably the most important part of recovery of all- sleep! I’m the type of person that has always needed a lot of sleep. Now that I’m a long-distance runner I need even more sleep so I always make sure I get 9 hours of sleep every night. If I haven’t been sleeping well during the week and I don’t need to get up early for a run on the weekend I’ll sometimes get as much as 10 hours of sleep at night on the weekend. Naps after a long run are also a fabulous way for your body to recover but I don’t nap that often myself.

To help with getting a good night’s sleep, I make sure I turn off all electronics at least a half hour before bedtime (preferably an hour), I dim the lights, and read every night before I go to sleep. That routine works well for me and I almost never have trouble falling asleep. I also run a fan in the bedroom for white noise and wear an eye mask to block out light.

So there you have seven things I incorporate into my life to help with recovery from running. To be honest, even if I didn’t run, each and every one of these things I listed here would still be great tools to add to my routine to help me feel better.

What things do you do for recovery? Do you find yourself spending more time on recovery than you did when you were younger?

Also, I’m looking for new shows to watch on Netflix while I stretch and foam roll. Any suggestions for shows or movies that you’re currently watching and love?

Happy running!






Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

9 thoughts on “Recovery for Runners- Seven Things that Work for Me”

  1. one of the best things of running for a while is you have more time to figure out how to do it right 😉 and the recovery is something I only really started to understand after the third marathon! Eating afterwards is a biggie for me, as well as stretching and foam rolling since last year’s injuries. Overall, I think I do a lot, but I’d love to get massages! Looking forward to having a real job and budgeting money for that. And sleep is definitely one of the most important ways to recover. I wish I could get 9 hours…. admittedly, it’s my own fault, but I usually get an average of 7 hours a week, 6 when I’m with my family :-/ Need to work on that! Right now, I guess being a bit younger allows for less sleep, but as time goes by… neat post, Donna. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dorothea! I feel like all of these recovery things take up so much time but I don’t think I would still be running without them. For me they come with part of being a runner. I can’t emphasize enough how much massage therapy has done for me. I hope you’re able to find a good massage therapist when you’re done with school and find a job. It won’t be long now, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha. Well, I should be able to submit my dissertation a year from now and start applying for jobs for the Fall 2020, hopefully. We’ll see! First I have to meet my Chapter deadline for tomorrow eek. But I agree, recovery takes up time, but it’s not wasted time and I’ve learned to plan the recovery time just like I plan the run. If it’s an hour run, I plan a 1.5 hour block, etc…. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I do lots of different types of exercise, including running, but it doesn’t seem to matter what it is – stretching and foam rolling are key. I sometimes shorten my stretching if I’m in a hurry and I pay for it with tight muscles, but if I skip or shorten foam rolling too often, I get shooting pains in my glutes!! Not fun. We have a membership to one of those massage places and I get a 30-min massage every other week. It’s gotten to be where I don’t think I can give it up. It’s helped with so many workout-related pains, tweaks, and downright injuries. Also, when a bad lower back resurfaced recently after a couple of years of being ok, I thought I was going to have to restart the hassle of PT sessions, but just 3 sessions with the massage therapist (and a renewed commitment to foam rolling) did the trick. It’s like magic. I’m personally not a fan of yoga, but I have done some Yin (I think that’s what it’s called – where you hold a pose for 3-4 minutes) and that can work wonders. We usually start up squash in the late fall each year and can barely walk or lift our arms the next day (this goes on for several weeks of playing until our bodies adjust to this physically demanding game). The times that we have gone to Yin right after squash, or soreness the next day is dramatically reduced. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Massage is like magic for me as well. There have been times where I didn’t even know I had knots in a part of my body and the therapist found the knots and worked them out and I felt so much better afterwards. I hadn’t heard of Yin yoga but I just looked it up. There are so many different types of yoga it’s hard for me to keep up with all of the names! I guess that’s the great part about yoga- if you try a type that doesn’t work for you, just try another type and maybe you’ll like it better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with eating a good carb/protein combo snack post run. I like to eat peanut butter on whole wheat toast as I usually can’t stomach anything too heavy right away. Foam rolling is amazing, but I’m definitely not as good about it post-run as I ought to be!

    Netflix suggestions – Blacklist, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things are all ones we’ve watched or are currently watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peanut butter on toast is a great post-run snack too because it’s quick and easy and has carbs and protein.
      Thanks for the Netflix suggestions. I just added Blacklist to my list. It looks interesting. I’ve watched all of the others you suggested. Like I said, I spend a lot of time stretching and foam-rolling while I watch Netflix. : )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I started incorporating yoga into my gym workouts about 5 years ago. It helped relieve most of the hip pain I used to experience during marathons.
    I’ve also been taking collagen for the past month after runs or in the morning. I’ll have a better idea if that is doing anything after I run the Boston Marathon.
    I’ve never worn compression socks. I do wear compression shirts and shorts, but that’s for different reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: