Ask Jo

Runner's World (UK) - - In This Issue - BY JO PAVEY Jo Pavey is a five- time UK Olympian and for­mer Euro­pean 5000m cham­pion

Jo Pavey on run­ning tall and cool­ing down

It’s im­por­tant to go into re­cov­ery mode soon af­ter your long run be­cause your body and im­mune sys­tem will be quite vul­ner­a­ble. Have a sports drink that con­tains car­bo­hy­drates and elec­trolytes as soon as you’ve fin­ished. If con­di­tions are wet, change into dry kit be­fore you get cold. Do some light stretch­ing of the ma­jor mus­cle groups, fo­cus­ing on any ar­eas that feel par­tic­u­larly tight. Within the first 20 min­utes to half an hour, eat a pro­tein-rich snack or re­cov­ery drink.

Af­ter stretch­ing, an ice bath is help­ful (if you can tol­er­ate it!), es­pe­cially if you’re in an in­tense train­ing phase and quick re­cov­ery is paramount. But it’s not es­sen­tial if a rest day fol­lows the long run in your sched­ule. Have a de­cent meal within a cou­ple of hours. This is when your body is very re­cep­tive to re­stock­ing your glyco­gen stores. It often takes time to prop­erly re­hy­drate af­ter a long run, so keep tak­ing in flu­ids dur­ing the rest of the day. If pos­si­ble, have a nap two or three hours af­ter the run. The day af­ter, don’t at­tempt a hard run, but a short, gen­tle re­cov­ery run can be help­ful. A mas­sage will aid re­cov­ery on the day of the long run or, if that’s not pos­si­ble, the day af­ter. Dur­ing a long run try to take on some sports drinks and, per­haps, gels; this will make it eas­ier to re­cover, as you’ll be less de­pleted. And it’s good prac­tice if you’re train­ing for a marathon.

Is a cool-down nec­es­sary?

A cool-down helps your body to grad­u­ally re­turn to its rest­ing state. It also helps to elim­i­nate meta­bolic waste prod­ucts such as lac­tic acid, and re­duces tight­en­ing of the mus­cles. The type of cool-down de­pends on the work­out you’ve done. Af­ter an easy or steady run, a cool-down jog isn’t nec­es­sary. But it’s good to stretch to pre­vent your mus­cles tight­en­ing up. Postrun is a good time to stretch, as your mus­cles are nice and warm. Walk around a bit, too, rather than sud­denly sit­ting for a long time. Af­ter a hard or tempo run, do a few min­utes of easy jogging to cool down, then stretch. A good cool-down is most ben­e­fi­cial af­ter an in­ter­val ses­sion – it should in­volve at least 10-15 min­utes of jogging be­fore stretch­ing.

What is ‘run­ning tall’?

It means run­ning with your head, shoul­ders, torso, pelvis and hips in align­ment, with­out slouch­ing at the shoul­ders and bend­ing at the hips. It also en­cour­ages a good foot-plant po­si­tion un­der your body. When ‘run­ning tall’, en­gage your core mus­cles and imag­ine you are lift­ing up out of your hips rather than sink­ing down into them – this should make you feel lighter on your legs. Don’t hold your­self rigidly while run­ning tall – good form is re­laxed, al­low­ing your mus­cles to move freely. Don’t take the ex­pres­sion too lit­er­ally; it’s im­por­tant not to run so up­right that it re­duces your abil­ity to drive for­ward and pro­duce speed.

ICE AT A PRICE A postrun ice bath can aid re­cov­ery , but it’s not for ev­ery­one

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