Top tips to recover from a long hard run

Top tips to recover from a long hard run

If you were one of the thousands of runners in yesterdays London Marathon, you are probably feeling pretty tired today and wondering what the best way is for you to recover from such a long run.

Using a combination of stretching, good nutrition and hydration, and some training tailored to gentle recovery you can be back in no time

Long run recovery tips

Here’s my list of tips:

Recovery time

The time needed for your body to adapt to the stress of exercise, while replenishing energy stores and repairing damaged tissues.


One of the main reasons we stretch after exercise is to help remove lactic acid (a waste product) from muscles and to get the blood flowing back around the body. Lactic acid contributes to muscle soreness (DOMS) which nobody wants! Stretching will relieve tension from muscles, increase flexibility and in turn will reduce the risk of injury.


Running for a long period of time will use up a large amount of your body’s energy supplies. It is important to replenish your body with good nutrients to regain energy and to speed up the recovery process. If you have another training session the next day, or on the same day this is especially important to ensure you’re ready to go and you’re able to make the most out of it.


On average you have enough glycogen in your muscles to fuel your body while running for 60-90 minutes. So if you’re running for longer than an hour, by the time you’ve finished your run your glycogen stores will be pretty depleted. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose which comes from eating or drinking carbohydrates. Post run, we would recommend taking on some good quality carbs, such as potatoes, rice, pasta etc. And alongside your carbs there should be some high quality protein to help repair and rebuild your muscles.


Water helps to regulate your body temperature, removes waste from the body, transports energy to cells and helps to cushion joints. Throughout your long runs you will sweat, so while it is important to keep hydrated while running it is vital to drink plenty of water post run to replenish what has been lost.


Time is needed for your body to adapt to the stress of exercise, while replenishing energy stores and repairing damaged tissues. Not factoring in enough rest will hinder recovery and future performance/training. All good training programmes will factor in rest periods and recovery days.

Recovery training session

Aa gentle recovery session will help to keep your muscles and body ticking over while keeping the intensity low. Think of activities that you are able to perform where your heart rate stays in zone 1 or 2. These could be things such as walking, a gentle jog, or even swimming.

About the author

Sophie is a Level 2 & 3 qualified personal trainer and nutrition coach. Over the last 10 years Sophie’s training has been focused around running, swimming & cycling. She has completed numerous half marathon and marathon races as well as an Ironman 70.3. In the last few years Sophie’s training has been CrossFit based, however she still enjoys endurance training, specifically running.

Leave a Comment