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A Guide to Muscle Recovery

The best way to help your muscles recover after training is to eat a healthy diet and make sure you rest and sleep well. However, other factors such as your body type, level of fitness and goals can affect muscle recovery and the techniques that work best for you. Take a look at these top tips to maximise muscle recovery from virtual running event providers ACE Races.

What Food can Help to Support Muscle Recovery?

Protein

Eating protein pre-workout can potentially increase muscle protein synthesis (MPS) in which protein is produced to repair any muscle damage caused by running. As the proteins in your muscle fibres can become damaged during intense exercise it can also be beneficial to eat protein post-workout to repair any muscle damage.

Carbohydrates

Eating carbohydrates post-workout can also help with muscle recovery, especially those with a high glycemic index (GI) such as potatoes and white rice. As your muscles store carbohydrates as glycogen for energy, it can be important for your body’s recovery to restore glycogen levels after running.

A Balanced Diet

Eating an overall balanced diet is essential for muscle recovery as it will ensure you do not develop any nutrient deficiencies. Try to avoid eating too many processed foods and include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet, as well as protein and carbohydrates.

How Does Staying Hydrated Improve Muscle Recovery?

Dehydration can pose some dangers, including impairing your muscles ability to repair themselves after a run. It’s therefore vital that you replace any lost fluids with water, diluted juice or a sports drink. The best way to ensure your muscles can recover after exercise is to remain hydrated as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. It is recommended to drink 500ml of water around two hours before running and 150ml just before setting off. If you’re training intensively, you should drink around 120ml to 240ml every 15 minutes.

However, please be aware that the amount of water required for you to stay hydrated can depend on a range of factors such as your weight and current level of fitness. Over-drinking can also be a danger, so if you’re a long-distance runner or running for more than four hours you should try to consume fluids when thirsty to minimise the risk of excessive consumption.

For more information on how drinking fluids can help to accelerate muscle recovery, take a look at our informative blog post on the importance of staying hydrated when running.

Can Supplements Aid Muscle Recovery?

As mentioned, protein can help to repair damaged muscles. Protein powder is, therefore, a convenient way to increase the amount of protein your body consumes and aid muscle recovery. Many protein powders also contain essential amino acids.

Creatine powder can improve muscle strength along with resistance training. However, recent studies show creatine can also reduce muscle damage, ease inflammation and help to restore your muscle’s glycogen levels.

How can Sleep Improve Muscle Recovery?

Rest is essential to muscle recovery, and sleep allows your muscles the time to recover from running. According to the NHS, most adults need 6 to 9 hours of sleep each night. However, if you train often, you’ll likely require more rest than the average person and many professional athletes sleep for 10 hours or more.

A lack of sleep can potentially damage muscle recovery by affecting the production of hormones that contribute to muscle growth and impairing your body’s reaction to inflammation.

What Substances Should I Avoid?

Alcohol and tobacco can both harm your muscles ability to recover. According to research, as well as being damaging to your overall health, consuming alcohol can also impair muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and your muscles’ ability to restore glycogen levels. There is also some evidence that smoking tobacco can increase the risk of muscular injury, joint disease and bone fractures by negatively affecting your musculoskeletal system.

What other Factors can Affect Muscle Recovery?

As well as getting a good nights sleep, sports massages, compression garments and water therapies have also been linked to improving or accelerating muscle recovery. As mentioned, the effectiveness and speed of your muscle recovery can depend on a range of factors including your quality of sleep, your diet, how much stress you’re under and the intensity of the workout.

After a light run, your muscles may recover within 24 hours but a more challenging run may mean your body’s muscles will take two to three days to recover. Whether you run regularly or are training for your first 5k race, it is essential to allow your body time to recover after exercise to allow for muscle repair and the removal of lactic acid. Failure to give your muscles time to recover could result in a running injury.

Stay Active and Take Part in a Virtual Race

Staying active, keeping fit and allowing your body and muscles to recover afterwards are all essential to a healthy lifestyle. If you love to run, why not challenge yourself further and take part in a virtual race!

Our virtual running events at ACE Races can be run anywhere, anytime and at your own pace. Whether you take part in a virtual 5k race, virtual 10k race, a virtual half-marathon races or a virtual marathon race, you’ll receive a custom-made medal for your efforts!

So, take a look at our range of exciting virtual races and join our supportive virtual running community today!