Whether you’re taking part in a local running event, such as those run by Vitality’s partner parkrun, or you’re training for a half marathon, these tips, supplied by co-founder and coach of Yelling Performance, Martin Yelling, should help you reach your personal best. In part one he helped you prepare for a run, in part two he helped you maximise your run and now he’s advising you on what to eat after a run, what to do if you get injured and how to rest appropriately after a race.

Nutrition

How quickly after a work-out should you replenish energy levels?

This really depends on the intensity and duration of the workout. In very simple terms the longer and/or harder the workout then the more important it is to replenish your energy levels relatively quickly. Kick this off within 10-15 minutes post workout with a quick snack such as a banana or an energy bar, and some water, but look to do a proper job within 60-90 minutes. If your run is less than 30 minutes or so there’s no rush, but the longer and harder the workout the more you’ll need to eat.

What do you like to eat post-race?

A decent greasy spoon always goes down well – scrambled eggs, mushrooms, bacon, beans, tomatoes. If I’m feeling healthy, a chicken salad with cous cous and beetroot is also a favourite, but my all-time favourite is a salmon risotto.

The Run

What should I do if I get injured?

Runners who struggle with injury should seek qualified specialist help quickly – especially if it’s a painful acute or chronic injury that means running (or walking) hurts. A trusted and knowledge physiotherapist will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis to enable recovery, rehab and a return from injury. In order to avoid injury, runners can keep themselves in tip top condition with appropriate, functional and specific conditioning routines – ideally ones that have been development with their personal functional weakness in mind – to strengthen the area and reduce the risk of injury in the future. Pilates, yoga, and calisthenics all provide body balance and effective general conditioning. If you’re unable to run but want to maintain some cardio fitness then swimming, aqua jogging and cycling keep your heart and lungs working without impact.

How important is it to appropriately warm down after a half marathon?

Warming or cooling down after a running race helps your body recover, can help reduce muscle soreness and actually help you get back to running faster. An appropriate warm down might consist of a few minutes (five to 15) of very slow jogging followed by some gentle stretching to ease out muscles, aid circulation and promote recovery.

What are your best recovery techniques?

A small amount of light exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling or yoga, in the days following a tough race can really help. If you’re still feeling stiff, treat yourself to a massage – you’ve earned it! Also great food, appropriate hydration, great conversation, sharing race stories and a few cracking nights sleep are the best recovery strategies.

When should you go back to training following a distance race?

When to make a return to regular running depends how hard and intense the race was. If it was a half or full marathon then you’ll most likely want to take a decent amount of time away from any serious running training. One day for every hard mile run is a good benchmark of time to allow before resuming any structured training. So, for a half marathon where you’ve truly run your socks off then 10-14 days of recovery, light, low intensity, unstructured running works well. If your race didn’t take that much out of you or you used it as a training run then it’s possible to take a few easy days post pace and leap back into training three or four days later.

Planning on taking part in a half marathon? Download one of Martin Yelling’s Vitality training plans for FREE, whether you’re a beginner, improver or advanced:

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