10 Tips to Recover Faster Between Runs

By Danny Dreyer, Creator and founder of Chi Running Published on May 13, 2022


How many times have you gone out for a run and felt like your legs were made of concrete, or worse? Surprisingly, they might not feel so bad about something that you did as something that you didn't do. Treat your legs well between runs to gain more enjoyment from your workouts, increase performance, and speed up recovery time.

1. Fuel

If you eat a large meal before a run, wait at least three hours before you head out. Almost nothing you eat immediately before a run will digest enough to give you energy during your run. If you do have to eat, choose something your system can easily absorb, such as a banana, a few spoonful’s of peanut butter or honey, or a handful of dried fruit.

2. Hydrate

Drink at least eight ounces of water a half hour before heading out to prevent dehydration. If you're going for longer than a 10K run, you might consider taking a water bottle or planning a route that has a water stop along the way. Staying hydrated will keep your legs from cramping, especially in hot weather.

3. Shake it Out

You may be tempted to do intense stretching to get warmed up but try to just loosen up instead. Ankle rolls, hip rotations, and knee circles are a few gentle exercises you can do to get your body loose and relaxed without straining cold muscles and joints.

4. Start slow

Begin your runs with a very relaxed and easy stride—not too fast. Increase your pace slowly until you're running at your desired level. If you start off too fast, you risk running out of gas early in your run, and you'll feel more soreness in your legs afterward.

5. Monitor your shoes

Track the mileage on your shoes. At about 300 miles, mid-soles can become too compressed to return to their original shape between runs, and your feet and legs will notice. Be sure to replace your shoes regularly.

6. Cool Down

After you finish your miles, do a three- to five-minute cool-down run, then stretch thoroughly. Don't just jump back into your car and head off to your next event, or you could be walking around with tight legs for the rest of the day. Performing a cooldown and stretching period allows the lactic acid (the byproduct created by your muscles) to be flushed out into your bloodstream and eliminated from your body.

7. Soak

Take a hot bath or relax in a hot tub after your workout. Soaking your legs warms your muscles and relaxes them back into their normal shapes. A shower doesn't work as well, unfortunately, but it's still good for your legs if a bath is out of the question.

8. Feet up the wall

Perform "leg drains" by lying on your back with your legs extended vertically and feet propped against a wall for three to four minutes. This drains the blood out of your legs so fresh, clean blood can be pumped back into them when you stand up. You can do leg drains either immediately after stretching or after your bath. Either way, you'll notice a markedly different pair of legs under you when you get up.

9. Fuel again

If you've just done a strenuous workout, one of your next two meals should be a solid protein meal, which helps your muscles rebuild themselves. Add a hearty green salad and fresh vegetables to replenish your system with valuable minerals.

10. More water

Whether or not you're a regular runner, you should be drinking water all day long. Eight to ten glasses of water spread throughout the day will replenish the fluid lost to exercise. Don't drink your water all at once; just keep an even flow going.



Some basic yoga poses

Boat Pose


Navasana

This pose not only strengthens your abdominal muscles, but it also strengthens the hip flexors and tests your balance. It can be quite challenging at first, so work your way through the different variations until you find one that challenges you, but is sustainable.

To do this pose:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Gently sit back until you feel your sitting bones and tailbone touching the floor, creating a tripod of support.

  • Keep your back straight and make a "V" shape between your thighbones and torso. Stretch your arms in front of you along your legs. If this is enough of a challenge, stay with this.

  • Otherwise, begin to lift the legs until the toes are even with your knees and shins are parallel to the floor.

  • Once you've mastered that, straighten the legs all the way and point the toes, moving into full boat pose. Hold for 5-10 breaths then relax. Repeat up to 5 times to see results.


Downward-Facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana

If you've been to a yoga class or watched any yoga videos, you are likely familiar with the Downward-Facing Dog. To the seasoned practitioner, it might feel like a resting pose, but for beginners it's a fantastic place to start building strength. This pose is a traditional staple of many styles of yoga, and in addition to its health benefits, it's a great strength-builder.

To do this pose:

      • § Start in a Tabletop position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips.

      • § Tuck your toes under and lift your hips to the sky, creating an upside down "V" with your body. Relax your neck so that your ears are between your biceps, and draw the gaze toward your navel, if that's comfortable for you.

      • § Spread your fingers wide and press into the thumb and first finger to engage the forearms and prevent your weight from sinking into the wrists. Avoid locking the elbows and rotate elbows and triceps down toward the floor. This will activate your forearms and shoulders, creating strength in the arms.

      • § Suck in the belly as you lift the sits bones toward the sky, and allow the core muscles to aid in creating the shape.

      • § If your hamstrings are tight, bend the knees. The most important thing is to keep the back nice and straight.

      • § Hold for 5-10 breaths. To come out of the pose, bend your knees and return to tabletop position.


Chair Pose

Utkatasana


One of the best ways to strengthen the legs and glutes is the Chair Pose, or Utkatasana. Squeezing the thighs while simultaneously squatting toward the floor creates full-body engagement, and you'll be sweating in no time. This pose mimics a squat you might see in a traditional fitness class, but with the legs squeezed together. *

To do this pose:

  • Come to standing with your feet comfortably together and hands by your sides.

  • Begin to bend the knees and squeeze the thighs together as you sit the hips back like you're sitting in a chair. Most of your weight should be in your heels, and you should be able to see your toes in front of your knees.

  • Keep your chest lifted and raise your arms by your ears. Looking upward helps prevent the chest from pitching forward. To intensify, sit more deeply until your hips become even with your knees.

*If you struggle with sciatica or other low back pain, separate the feet so they are hip width apart, instead of squeezing to the centerline.

  • Breathe in this position for 5-10 breaths, then stand up straight, releasing the legs and arms down by your sides.

Crescent Lunge

Anjaneyasana

This pose may be familiar to you, as it's similar to the basic lunge you might see in a fitness class. Luckily, there is a lot you can do with this pose to build strength in the thighs andgluteus muscles, as well as stretch the hips and quadriceps.

To do this pose:

  • § From a Downward-Facing Dog, step or place your right foot forward next to your right thumb, aligning the knee directly over the ankle. You can stay low to start, and if your quad is on fire, lower the back knee to offer some support.

  • § Once you've mastered this, move to lifting the knee, then lift the torso up so the shoulders align directly over the hips.

  • § Reach arms overhead with palms facing toward one another.

  • § For additional strength work, perform 5-10 lunges, hovering the back knee two inches off the ground, then lifting back up. Repeat with the left leg forward.


Upper Plank Pose

Ardha Chaturanga Dandasana

Like its name, this pose teaches you to be strong like a sturdy plank. It gives you the core strength and heat needed to build into more complex yoga postures. Like many poses in yoga, it creates strength in many areas of the body, including the abdominal muscles, shoulders, and even quadriceps. It's a great pose to help keep wrists injury-free, however if your wrists get tired, you can lower onto your elbows.

To do this pose:

  • § From Downward-Facing Dog, shift the shoulders forward so they line up perfectly over the wrists. (You may have to wiggle the toes back a little bit, and that is okay.)

  • § Create a long, straight line from the crown of your head, through the back and all the way through the legs and heels. Keep the butt low and in line.

  • § Draw the navel up toward the spine, as the quadriceps lift toward the thighbones. Press through the hands so the upper back rounds slightly, and the chest doesn't sink.

  • § If this places too much weight on the shoulders or wrists, bring the knees down to the floor. This still builds strength, but with half of the body weight.

  • § Hold for 5 breaths, then release back into your Downward-Facing Dog or Tabletop.


Lower Plank

Chaturanga Dandasana

Traditional wide-armed push-ups are great for building pectorals, but to build sleek triceps, look no further than the yoga push-up, Chaturanga Dandasana. This one takes time to perfect, but once you do, your arms will thank you.

To do this pose:

  • § From your Upper Plank pose, begin to lower the body, bending the elbows to a max point of 90 degrees. Hug elbows in toward your body. If your elbows flare out to the side, you might play with rotating your hands outward until you can safely squeeze the elbows in toward your ribs.

  • § Chaturanga can be performed with knees down or knees lifted. Various methods of yoga will instruct you to look either forward or down; simply choose what works best for your neck and shoulders.

  • § Lower from Upper Plank to Lower Plank then push straight back up to Upper Plank, then back to Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat 5-10 times to build the triceps.

Side Plank Pose


Vasisthasana

Take your planks to the next level by balancing on one hand and engaging the obliques.

Side Plank helps build core strength, this time in the side body. It also adds intensity to the

wrist and shoulder strengthening of the Upper Plank Pose as you shift to support your body

weight on one arm.

To do this pose:

  • § From your Upper Plank Pose, rotate the feet to the right side and lift the right arm, reaching through the fingers. Keep the hips moving up and engage the side abdominal muscles to support the posture.

  • § Check to ensure the supporting hand is underneath the shoulder to keep the shoulder cuff safe.

  • § For beginners, the bottom knee can come down onto the floor, with the knee directly underneath the hip.

  • § Once you've mastered this, begin to lift the top leg so it floats parallel to the floor, adding intensity to the balance. When the feet are stacked, you can also lift the top leg to increase the intensity. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.


Warrior

Warrior 3

Virabhadrasana III


This yoga pose tests your balance as it strengthens the back body. Not only does it strengthen your ankles and legs as you find balance on one leg, but it also strengthens the back, glutes and back of the leg as you lift in the back body to maintain balance and shape.

To do this pose:

  • § Start by standing and reach your arms straight up overhead. Bring your right toes slightly behind your left heel, then, while thinking of your body as a teeter-totter, begin to lift the right leg as you tilt the torso forward. Tilt until you make a straight line from your fingers through your back and all the way through your right heel behind you. Your body will resemble a capital letter "T."

  • § If your arms get tired, you can bring them by your sides. Keep the chest somewhat lifted, so the shoulder blades and back are engaged.

  • § Press through the heel and keep the toes pointing down. This action will help you maintain the balance. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then repeat with the left leg floating. (If balancing freely is challenging, you can stand near a chair or a wall to assist with the balance as you strengthen the back.)





Some basic yoga poses with images - below

Boat Pose


Navasana

This pose not only strengthens your abdominal muscles, but it also strengthens the hip flexors and tests your balance. It can be quite challenging at first, so work your way through the different variations until you find one that challenges you, but is sustainable.

To do this pose:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Gently sit back until you feel your sitting bones and tailbone touching the floor, creating a tripod of support.

  • Keep your back straight and make a "V" shape between your thighbones and torso. Stretch your arms in front of you along your legs. If this is enough of a challenge, stay with this.

  • Otherwise, begin to lift the legs until the toes are even with your knees and shins are parallel to the floor.

  • Once you've mastered that, straighten the legs all the way and point the toes, moving into full boat pose. Hold for 5-10 breaths then relax. Repeat up to 5 times to see results.

Downward-Facing Dog


Adho Mukha Svanasana

If you've been to a yoga class or watched any yoga videos, you are likely familiar with the Downward-Facing Dog. To the seasoned practitioner, it might feel like a resting pose, but for beginners it's a fantastic place to start building strength. This pose is a traditional staple of many styles of yoga, and in addition to its health benefits, it's a great strength-builder.

To do this pose:

      • Start in a Tabletop position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips.

      • Tuck your toes under and lift your hips to the sky, creating an upside down "V" with your body. Relax your neck so that your ears are between your biceps, and draw the gaze toward your navel, if that's comfortable for you.

      • Spread your fingers wide and press into the thumb and first finger to engage the forearms and prevent your weight from sinking into the wrists. Avoid locking the elbows and rotate elbows and triceps down toward the floor. This will activate your forearms and shoulders, creating strength in the arms.

      • Suck in the belly as you lift the sits bones toward the sky, and allow the core muscles to aid in creating the shape.

      • If your hamstrings are tight, bend the knees. The most important thing is to keep the back nice and straight.

      • Hold for 5-10 breaths. To come out of the pose, bend your knees and return to tabletop position.

Chair Pose

Utkatasana

One of the best ways to strengthen the legs and glutes is the Chair Pose, or Utkatasana. Squeezing the thighs while simultaneously squatting toward the floor creates full-body engagement, and you'll be sweating in no time. This pose mimics a squat you might see in a traditional fitness class, but with the legs squeezed together. *

To do this pose:

  • Come to standing with your feet comfortably together and hands by your sides.

  • Begin to bend the knees and squeeze the thighs together as you sit the hips back like you're sitting in a chair. Most of your weight should be in your heels, and you should be able to see your toes in front of your knees.

  • Keep your chest lifted and raise your arms by your ears. Looking upward helps prevent the chest from pitching forward. To intensify, sit more deeply until your hips become even with your knees.

*If you struggle with sciatica or other low back pain, separate the feet so they are hip width apart, instead of squeezing to the centerline.

  • Breathe in this position for 5-10 breaths, then stand up straight, releasing the legs and arms down by your sides.

Crescent Lunge

Anjaneyasana

This pose may be familiar to you, as it's similar to the basic lunge you might see in a fitness class. Luckily, there is a lot you can do with this pose to build strength in the thighs and gluteus muscles, as well as stretch the hips and quadriceps.

To do this pose:

  • § From a Downward-Facing Dog, step or place your right foot forward next to your right thumb, aligning the knee directly over the ankle. You can stay low to start, and if your quad is on fire, lower the back knee to offer some support.

  • § Once you've mastered this, move to lifting the knee, then lift the torso up so the shoulders align directly over the hips.

  • § Reach arms overhead with palms facing toward one another.

  • § For additional strength work, perform 5-10 lunges, hovering the back knee two inches off the ground, then lifting back up. Repeat with the left leg forward.

Upper Plank Pose

Ardha Chaturanga Dandasana

Like its name, this pose teaches you to be strong like a sturdy plank. It gives you the core strength and heat needed to build into more complex yoga postures. Like many poses in yoga, it creates strength in many areas of the body, including the abdominal muscles, shoulders, and even quadriceps. It's a great pose to help keep wrists injury-free, however if your wrists get tired, you can lower onto your elbows.

To do this pose:

      • From Downward-Facing Dog, shift the shoulders forward so they line up perfectly over the wrists. (You may have to wiggle the toes back a little bit, and that is okay.)

      • Create a long, straight line from the crown of your head, through the back and all the way through the legs and heels. Keep the butt low and in line.

      • Draw the navel up toward the spine, as the quadriceps lift toward the thighbones. Press through the hands so the upper back rounds slightly, and the chest doesn't sink.

      • If this places too much weight on the shoulders or wrists, bring the knees down to the floor. This still builds strength, but with half of the body weight.

      • Hold for 5 breaths, then release back into your Downward-Facing Dog or Tabletop

Lower Plank

Chaturanga Dandasana


Traditional wide-armed push-ups are great for building pectorals, but to build sleek triceps, look no further than the yoga push-up, Chaturanga Dandasana. This one takes time to perfect, but once you do, your arms will thank you.

To do this pose:

  • § From your Upper Plank pose, begin to lower the body, bending the elbows to a max point of 90 degrees. Hug elbows in toward your body. If your elbows flare out to the side, you might play with rotating your hands outward until you can safely squeeze the elbows in toward your ribs.

  • § Chaturanga can be performed with knees down or knees lifted. Various methods of yoga will instruct you to look either forward or down; simply choose what works best for your neck and shoulders.

  • § Lower from Upper Plank to Lower Plank then push straight back up to Upper Plank, then back to Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat 5-10 times to build the triceps.

Side Plank Pose

Vasisthasana


Take your planks to the next level by balancing on one hand and engaging the obliques.

Side Plank helps build core strength, this time in the side body. It also adds intensity to the

wrist and shoulder strengthening of the Upper Plank Pose as you shift to support your body

weight on one arm.

To do this pose:

  • From your Upper Plank Pose, rotate the feet to the right side and lift the right arm, reaching through the fingers. Keep the hips moving up and engage the side abdominal muscles to support the posture.

  • Check to ensure the supporting hand is underneath the shoulder to keep the shoulder cuff safe.

  • For beginners, the bottom knee can come down onto the floor, with the knee directly underneath the hip.

  • Once you've mastered this, begin to lift the top leg so it floats parallel to the floor, adding intensity to the balance. When the feet are stacked, you can also lift the top leg to increase the intensity. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Warrior & Warrior 3

Virabhadrasana III


This yoga pose tests your balance as it strengthens the back body. Not only does it strengthen your ankles and legs as you find balance on one leg, but it also strengthens the back, glutes and back of the leg as you lift in the back body to maintain balance and shape.

To do this pose:

  • Start by standing and reach your arms straight up overhead. Bring your right toes slightly behind your left heel, then, while thinking of your body as a teeter-totter, begin to lift the right leg as you tilt the torso forward. Tilt until you make a straight line from your fingers through your back and all the way through your right heel behind you. Your body will resemble a capital letter "T."

  • If your arms get tired, you can bring them by your sides. Keep the chest somewhat lifted, so the shoulder blades and back are engaged.

  • Press through the heel and keep the toes pointing down. This action will help you maintain the balance. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then repeat with the left leg floating. (If balancing freely is challenging, you can stand near a chair or a wall to assist with the balance as you strengthen the back.)

Basic 10-minute start to the morning


Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

8 Yoga Poses and Stretches for a Tight IT Band

By Stephanie Ring Published on May 10, 2022

Get out your foam rollers and lacrosse balls—we're talking about the IT band.

Just kidding. You won't need those two torture devices.

Why is it when we have tightness or irritation in our outer hip or knee, our assumption is often that it's our IT band, and rolling is the answer? Using rollers and balls can help, but don't forget about functional fitness and yoga.

Pain and irritation in the IT band are usually caused by one of two things. First, training too much, too quickly. We believe more is better, so we pile on the miles in the hopes of increasing endurance, speed, and fitness. The result is an angry hip or knee. The second cause is general tightness in the band itself caused by a lack of flexibility in the surrounding muscles. That tightness begins to pull on the band, and from there, pain is born.

So what do we do to stop and prevent that pain?

Try practicing yoga. The physical practice of yoga is designed to lengthen and stretch the muscles to increase mobility and improve movement patterns. The poses below are an excellent place to start.

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image