Are you a long-distance runner? Encyclopedia Britannica classifies distances greater than 3k (1.8 miles) as long-distance running. So chances are good that your morning run, lunchtime trot or weekend jog have earned you the long-distance runner badge. But who are we to exclude anyone! Maybe you simply hope to work up to a couple of miles, a few days a week. You’re in the club too.
The human body is perfectly built for the activity of long-distance running. Over the course of evolution, our physique has developed traits like long legs to cover distance, spring-like muscles and tendons, and strong joints to absorb the shock of foot strikes to enable running longer distances at slower speeds. Other elements like wide shoulders and inner ear mechanisms contribute to stability and balance.
So, we run. As a species, we are obsessed with long-distance running. We run outdoors and indoors, on roads and trails, on beaches and tracks, rain or shine. We run for fitness, competition, and mental health. We have treadmills that make running convenient, watches that provide data, and devices to keep us entertained so we never get bored while we're running. There are shoes to help run further and faster, and now we even debate whether a shoe may be too fast.
Related: How to Run a Marathon
With all this running, there are also many options for recovering from long-distance running. Let’s take a look at a couple of the more interesting ones.
Tips For Recovering From Long-Distance Running
Compression socks, sleeves and leggings are common apparel for runners of every ability. The goal of wearing compression gear during training or competition is improved performance. But the top manufacturers market their product equally as a recovery tool for increased circulation post-workout.
The Tip: Give compression gear a try for yourself. Look past the fashion statement opportunity and be mindful of how your body is responding to wearing it. If it increases your performance or even helps motivate you to train longer and more frequently, then awesome. Just do your housemates a favor and don’t cruise around the house “recovering” in the same gear you “performed” in.
Heat vs. Ice Therapy
You don’t need the latest study results to know that both can feel pretty darn good depending on the situation. Immersing in a hot tub after a cold-weather training session is a soothing experience for tight and fatigued muscles. While a big bag of ice might be the ticket to combat small muscle fiber tears and soreness from a threshold pushing run. The science seems limited and murky on which might be best for any specific condition. Traditionally, heat is best when blood flow needs to be increased, for example, to relax muscle spasms. And applying ice to acute injuries, like a sprained ankle, can reduce swelling and inflammation by slowing blood flow.
The Tip: Ditch the cold compress and ice pack and jump in with both feet to a lower-body ice bath. This Cryotherapy submersion theorizes to benefit large, intertwined areas of the body to constrict blood vessels and reduce tissue breakdown and swelling. And if turning up the heat in a hot tub or sauna is more your style, remember to stay hydrated, especially following a workout.