To become a stronger, faster runner, you've got to run. Seems obvious, right? But it's what you do after you run that really impacts your overall performance. "Recovery is the most important element of training. It's where your body gets stronger and faster. Where you become a better athlete" Dan Stepney, British Athletics and NRC Coach. In addition to eating healthy and getting enough sleep on a regular basis, take the following steps immediately after your next hard training session to help improve your recovery and ultimately, make you a stronger runner. Plan your recovery strategy! "A thorough recovery strategy lowers the risk of injury and helps your body get the maximum out of training sessions.

Recovery happens straight after your session/workout has finished and looking to replenish the nutrients that your body has used during exercise immediately after would be a great way to kick start your recovery process."


BE QUICK "There's an optimal 20min window post exercise where you want to replenish the nutrients and water you have lost. Don't wait until you get home as you'll miss this optimal window. Instead, plan and prepare what your going to have and take it with you to your session. Eating protein-based foods is ideal, however some people find at hard to eat within 20mins so protein recovery shakes can be a good option."


SLEEP MORE "Recovery is where all your bodies adaptations occur and what better way to recover than to switch off completely and get some more sleep!? Very few of us can say that we get enough sleep each night but this is an invaluable aspect of recovery. The likelihood of becoming injured also dramatically decreases with the more sleep you get."


DO A DYNAMIC COOL-DOWN "Doing a comprehensive, dynamic cool-down after you run will allow you to hit all the major muscles in your body in a short period of time," says Nike Performance Council Member David McHenry, PT, DPT, lead therapist and strength coach for the Nike Oregon Project. If there are spots that are typically sore after certain workouts (like your hamstrings and calves after a track session), then be sure to target those areas. Try these exercises from the Nike Oregon Project's routine. Perform each drill for about 15 yards, then turn around and repeat back to start.


STRETCH Once you've cooled down, ease your way into some nice, gentle stretches. You should focus on whatever muscle groups tend to tighten up on you the most, but be sure to hit your calves, hamstrings and piriformis, notes NRC Chicago Coach Robyn LaLonde.