This post was originally posted on the Flexible Warrior blog and is re-published here with permission from the author.
Hi and Happy Summer Warriors!
The extra day light and warm temps make for perfect running conditions.
But how is your post-run stretching, recovery and nutrition?
Most runners are busy juggling family and work, and when it comes to your workouts and eating, the focus is on sweating, burning calories and logging miles … so stretching falls to the bottom of the list … and post-run nutrition is usually something you can grab quick and eat in the car.
I can relate to the struggles to fit it all in, so I post short, time-effecient yoga segments on my Youtube channel that you can do quickly at home after your runs.
I often run and stretch with my two rescue pups, Stella and Luna (fit, flexible yoga pups).
I also love making a superfood smoothie (takes about 5 minutes and when you put it in a mason jar, it’s easily transportable)… So, in about 15 minutes total you can make big gains in your flexibility, recovery and overall health.
It’s a small investment of time with a great ROI (return on investment).
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
First, remember consistency is the key with all training, including flexibility … Meaning, it’s more beneficial to stretch for 10 minutes several times a week than a 60 or 75 minute yoga class once a week. It’s the same time commitment altogether but your body will benefit more from the daily stretch rather than cramming it into one long session.
If you have time to do both the daily stretch plus an hour-long yoga, great! But most runners I know have more success doing a 10 minute post-run stretch at home. Whatever works best for your schedule and body is great! Since consistency is the key, I suggest adding a stretch category to your training schedule to motivate you to stretch more frequently.
LESS IS MORE
Remember forcing and pushing into a stretch is counterproductive. There’s a time to push, and there is a time to relax. When you’re on your yoga mat, breathe, relax and let the competitive athlete stand on the sidelines. Yes, a yoga mat is ideal, but not necessary. If you think it will motivate you to stretch more, here is a yoga mat I like – order one and keep it handy in your living room to inspire you to stretch more.
HEALTHY FAST FOOD
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming. I’m a big fan of an anti-inflammatory superfood diet for athletes because reducing inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy and gluten has been shown to speed healing, reduce aches and pains and support recovery. Adding in superfoods that are packed with high-quality, nutrient-dense vitamins and minerals can naturally boost energy, performance and stamina. You wouldn’t put low-grade gas in your high-performance car, so why fuel your body with anything less than the best?
Many of my clients feel lighter and more energized without counting calories … they recover quicker and run faster because they drop a few pounds and their bodies are more resilient and better fueled.
I love making a Chocolate Cherry superfood smoothie in July because cherries are currently in-season (pick them up at your local orchard or farmers market) and have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Raw cacao is a favorite because it is naturally energizing and high in plant-based protein and magnesium. Coconut water and sea salt are great for rehydration and electrolytes. Kefir is high in probiotics and protein – great for gut health and muscle recovery. Coconut oil is a source healthy fat and good for energy, brain health and boosting vitamin, mineral and antioxidant absorption. Fat also keeps you feeling full longer. The extras like protein powder, superfruit powder and cacoa nibs add an extra boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein.
Side Note: I keep a small jar of coconut oil near my running shoes, and mix it with a dab of peppermint essential oil to energize and moisturize my feet when I’m running.
OK enough talk. Let’s get to the post run stretch and smoothie recipe…
Here is a short post-run yoga stretch to open up tight hamstrings, inner thighs, quads and calves…
Post Run Anti-inflammatory Chocolate Cherry Smoothie (1 serving)
1/2 cup cherries (pitted)
1/4 cup plain kefir
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1 T raw cacao powder
1 T Superfruit powder
1 T coconut oil
1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein or Collagen powder
1 pinch Himalayan Sea Salt
1 T cacao nibs
Cheers Runners! Wishing you the best race season ever!
About the Author: Karen Dubs
Karen Dubs has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years. She is a registered yoga teacher, a holistic health coach and a doTerra wellness advocate, specializing in helping athletic, Type A’s create more balanced, pain-free, flexible minds and bodies by incorporating an anti-inflammatory superfood diet along with essential oils, supplements and simple self-care techniques. Karen believes that everyone is a warrior on some level… Whether you are a professional athlete trying to recover faster and improve flexibility, a corporate executive wanting to reduce stress or chronic pain, a cancer survivor or a stay-at-home mom trying to stay healthy, calm and energized… We are all warriors! Check out the Flexible Warrior blog here.