Recovery For Runners: A Guide For Beginners & Experts

Recovery For Runners: A Guide For Beginners & Experts

  • Post category:cryotherapy
Are you one of the thousands of Portlanders who run for fun and exercise? For years, Portland has been ranked as one of the healthiest and most active cities in the entire country! And with good reason. It seems like every weekend there’s a 5k, 10k, or half-marathon run going on. No matter where you live in the Portland area, from Lake Oswego to Oregon City, there’s almost certainly a race near you soon!

The ugly truth about running

Running is great exercise for the mind, body, and soul. But like many forms of physical activity, it’s common for people to do too much too fast and suffer from a wide variety of injuries. Everything from aches and pains to more serious strains and tears are possible.

The key to building a healthy relationship with running is emphasizing recovery as an active and essential part of your training program. Recovery is when your body works to build itself back up after a tough workout. If you skip recovery and rest days, you’ll be putting a tax on your body. And like all taxes, it will eventually come due — and you’ll be paying in pain and frustration.

3 tips for new runners:

  • Start with a structured program like Couch25k
  • Never run 2 days in a row
  • Stop if you feel any pain that’s affecting your gait — it’s OK to be sore, but sharp pains shouldn’t be ignored

Cryotherapy

For decades, runners and athletes of all kinds have used ice baths to relieve sore muscles. But ice baths are old fashioned. Think about it:

  • Where do you get all that ice?
  • Doesn’t it get uncomfortable sitting in a tub of ice?
  • How long does it take?

We asked Miru, a Portland runner who has competed in the Boston Marathon, about her experiences with ice baths. She said, “I’ve tried it and the results are OK, but they take too long and are really uncomfortable.”

We hear those same complaints over and over and over again. That’s why so many people are coming to Lux Tan & Cryotherapy instead of relying on old fashioned ice baths. By comparison, cryo is:

  • Faster – Cryo treatment takes 3 minutes or less
  • More comfortable – Cryo uses super-chilled air which even at lower temperatures is much more tolerable than an ice bath
  • No setup and no cleanup – Just hop in the chamber and let cryo do its magic
  • Better results – Try it once and you’ll be a believer!

Cross-training

​Recovery doesn’t always mean laying around with your feet up — although sometimes it does! Running can be hard on the joints and doesn’t stress all of your muscles the same way. If you’re a runner in Portland, look for ways to cross-train like:

  • Bicycling to work
  • Swimming at the gym
  • Lifting weights or doing Crossfit
  • Going to yoga or barre classes
  • Taking your pupper for a walk!

​Look for ways to get your heart rate up, but don’t put too much stress on the muscles you use while running. Cross-training will help make you a stronger runner and reduce your risk of injuries.

Foam Rolling

​Using a foam roller is a great way to stretch out tired muscles and get rid of aches and pains. Best of all, it’s something every runner can do in their own home without a lot of fancy and expensive equipment. If you’re new to foam rolling, here’s what you need to know:

  • Take it slow and easy, listening to your body
  • Stick to soft tissue and don’t roll directly over the bone
  • Start with short sessions and build up over time
  • Expect a bit of discomfort but don’t keep rolling through intense pain

Massage

A great massage can relieve pain, tension, and help you unwind after a long run or a stressful day at the office. There are so many great massage therapists in Portland offering many different styles of massage, including:

  • Swedish massage
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Myofascial Release
  • Reflexology

Try different options and see what works best for you!

Soaking

​Soaking in hot or cold water can really aid in recovery after running. Here in Portland, there’s Knot Springs, known for its series of hot and cold alternating soaking tubs, steam rooms, and saunas. Put it all together and you’ve got a truly unique recovery experience.

For at-home soaks, try Epsom Salts! Avid soakers preach the benefits of these soaks which include reduced inflammation and improved muscle recovery. The science doesn’t fully support the practice, but there’s no denying that a relaxing soak is great for the mind, body, and soul!

Compression Therapy

​At Lux Tan & Cryotherapy in Lake Oswego, we’ve got one of the hottest recovery tools around: a high-powered compression therapy system. Compression therapy aids in your running recovery by boosting blood flow and circulation in your legs and also:

  • Reducing edema, swelling, and fluid retention
  • Speeding up healing
  • Increasing mobility and flexibility
  • Promoting whole-body relaxation and wellness​

There are at-home compression therapy systems for runners but these are often a big investment costing hundreds of dollars  — or even more! But at Lux Tan in Lake Oswego, you can try compression therapy for as little as $10. There’s nothing to lose!

Stay healthy and happy!

Interested in trying compression therapy or cryotherapy to aid in your running recovery? Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your first visit. We want to keep you running healthy and happy.