Skip to content

Recovery for Runners – Where 2 Start

runner tired recovery run

How can I optimize recovery as a runner?

Dear Run R2P Community,

As runners, we’re all too familiar with the inevitable aches, pains, and fatigue that come with pounding the pavement. But what if I told you there’s a way to optimize your recovery and bounce back stronger than ever? In this edition of Run R2P, we’re diving into the best strategies for recovery, because let’s face it, how we recover is just as important as how we run.

Saunas, Cold Plunges, and Massage

First off, let’s talk about the myriad of recovery tools available to us. Saunas, cold plunges, massage guns, foam rollers, sports massages – the list goes on. While these tools can offer short-term relief by reducing soreness and leaving you feeling more energized, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Think of them as quick fixes to help you get back toward baseline. They’re likely not enhancing your healing but they can give you a mental edge which is important. They’re great supplements to your recovery routine, but they shouldn’t be your sole focus.  

Fuel Your Recovery

Nutrition is another crucial component of recovery. Fueling your body with the right nutrients can accelerate muscle repair, replenish glycogen stores, and reduce inflammation. Aim for a balanced diet rich in lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget to hydrate! Proper hydration is key to your recovery and performance. 

Cross-Training and Recovery

Incorporating yoga, mobility exercises, and light cross-training workouts into your routine can also work wonders for recovery. These activities help improve flexibility, enhance circulation, and alleviate muscle tension. Plus, they’re a great way to stay active on rest days without putting additional stress on your body. So roll out your yoga mat, grab a foam roller, hit the weights, and get moving!

Catch Those ZZZs

But perhaps the most underrated – yet essential – aspect of recovery is sleep. I can’t stress this enough: sleep is non-negotiable. No amount of foam rolling or sauna sessions can make up for a lack of quality sleep. Those that don’t prioritize sleep may get away with it for a while, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Aim for 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night, but if you’re an elite runner, you may need even more. Studies show that athletes, especially endurance athletes like runners, benefit from 9-11 hours of sleep to support optimal recovery and performance.

Bringing It All Together 

So there you have it, the best way to recover as a runner isn’t just about the tools you use or the exercises you do – it’s about taking a holistic approach to your well-being. Prioritize sleep, nourish your body with wholesome foods, move mindfully, and don’t be afraid to indulge in a little self-care from time to time. Your body will thank you, and your runs will reflect the effort you put into your recovery.

Happy running!

If you need any further guidance or support along the way please feel free to reach out to me directly at, or if you are considering PT – schedule a FREE CONSULT HERE

Happy Running!

running physical therapist

Dr. Greg Ellis PT, DPT, CSCS

Performance Physical Therapist 

Follow Greg on Instagram (HERE) for more content and to see his running progress!

Check out our R2P+ Digital Program, and see if it is right for you.

Fitness Focused Physical Therapy

Running injuries holding you back? Rehab 2 Perform specializes in preventing risk to re-injury and empowering you with the tools to stay active. We serve the AnnapolisBethesdaColumbiaFrederickGambrillsGermantown and Mt. Airy areas in Maryland, and now in Leesburg, and the Tysons Corner Business District in Virginia. Contact us today at 1(301) 798- 4838 or schedule an appointment by visiting us here today. 

We accept all major insurances, including Tricare, VA Community Care, and the Johns Hopkins Healthcare Network!

Posted in ,