Post Workout Recovery Tips for Every Body

Recovery from a workout, especially a hard one, is when you grow stronger and faster and develop more stamina. In essence, recovery — not your cool-down — is the true final step in your workout. Treat it as such, and you should be able to accelerate your progress and make your next training session more productive. 

How seriously should you take workout recovery? Consider Tour de France veteran cyclist George Hincapie. During the long racing season, he was famous for never taking the stairs when an elevator was available, never walking anywhere when he could drive, always looking for a place to sit if he was standing, and if he was sitting, he’d look for a place to lie down. That’s how seriously he took recovery.

While Hincapie’s approach was extreme, his mindset was correct, and it’s one you can easily adopt and tweak to work for you and your life. Try the tips below, starting with your next training session, and see what works for you. With Humango’s coaching help, you’ll figure out what works best. Who knows, you may find that an evening walk accelerates your post-workout muscle recovery better than doing nothing. Or, you may find that a nap is vital to setting you up for tomorrow.

Within 1-2 Hours of Your Workout

  • Hydrate. You lose water in any workout, but especially during high-intensity cardio workouts. Refill your tank as soon as you finish exercising. You need to replace whatever fluids you lost and supply your body with enough extra fluids to help flush toxins out of your body. Aim to drink at least 16-20 ounces of fluids, or roughly a cycling water bottle’s worth. This is on top of whatever water you drank before and during your workout.
  • Eat. Reload your energy stores quickly so your body can get prepared for the next round of exercise. You want to consume simple carbs from bread, rice, and fruits. Don’t worry too much about protein immediately after training, but be sure to eat 20-40 grams of protein at your next meal. Delaying your protein consumption until mealtime will allow your gut to focus on replenishing spent glycogen stores first. 
  • Skip the long shower. Ice baths, cold showers, massage, stretching, and foam rolling are all viable options for speeding recovery. But the long shower (or whirlpool, hot tub session) will leave you feeling more tired than before and can wreak havoc on the rest of your day’s recovery cycle. Get in, clean up, and get out as quickly as possible.

Rest of the Day

  • Take it easy. You don’t have to copy Hincapie’s approach, but be aware of your body’s need to recover. By this, we mean don’t ref your child’s soccer game hours after you ran 15 miles as part of your marathon training plan. Or, if you’re going to install a backyard fence, don’t do it on the same day you completed an intense brick workout as part of your triathlon training.
  • Do some active recovery. The note above doesn’t mean you should lie on the couch, though. Research suggests that a brisk walk or easy bike ride later in the day or the day after a tough workout serves as a recovery hack, lubricating the joints, preventing stiffness, and flushing toxins out of your muscles. You want to exercise hard enough to feel your heart rate rise but not enough for the active recovery workout to feel “hard.” Humango’s coaching app does this automatically, building a workout schedule that accommodates necessary recovery time based on your current fitness level.

Prepare for Sleep

  • Watch what you drink. Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep starts hours before you crawl under the sheets. Try not to drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated beverages after lunch. The same goes for alcohol (if you can, cut alcohol from your life completely). But do drink a glass of water an hour or so before going to bed. This will top off your fluid intake for the night and help you wake up less dehydrated than usual, which will prime your body for that day’s exercise.
  • Avoid late-night snacks. Stop eating two, ideally three, hours before you go to bed. This break will give your stomach enough time to digest your meal and shut down for the night. It’s hard to fall asleep when your stomach is hard at work digesting a meal.
  • Skip the screens. Put your phone, tablet, or laptop away, and turn off the TV when you get in bed. You’re there to sleep, not stimulate your brain.
  • Follow a routine. Go to bed at the same time each night. This consistency will train your body’s circadian rhythm to go into sleep mode more easily. Humango’s app can track your sleep cycles, which can help you figure out the optimum time to hit the sack and how long you need to sleep to maximize your recovery.

Humango’s AI Coach Prepares Triathletes for Any Triathlon

Triathlon distances appeal to different types of participants. Some people love biking, running, and swimming equally. Some love the challenge of pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone. Others would get bored just training for one discipline, like running, all the time. Still others dream of conquering Ironman distance races. Then there are those who think a sprint distance is plenty. The point is that triathlon is a big umbrella that accommodates a wide field of endurance athletes.

But despite different goals and preferences, triathlon training is similar for each athlete. Everyone has to do swim sessions, bike rides, and distance runs each week. And that’s where Humango’s AI coaching guidance can play a vital role in your success, both in training and your life.

Sprint Distance: Better Time Management

This distance is perfect for newbies to give tri a try. It takes a small time commitment, and there are usually more sprint races than Olympic or Ironman-distance events each year, so the races are easy to slot into busy schedules. Still, the first key to a successful triathlon training schedule is to make the schedule fit your life instead of trying to reschedule your life around training. 

Scheduling is one of Humango’s superpowers. When you plug in the days and hours you can train, Humango will build a progressive plan that takes you right to race day. Miss a workout or two because of illness? Have an extra day or two to train next week? Tell Humango to rework your training plan, and it will.

Olympic Distance: Money Better Spent

The amount of specialized triathlon equipment available can be intimidating, especially those pricey tri-bikes and wetsuits. But here’s a reality check: Your race day performance depends more on how well you followed your Olympic triathlon training program (or any triathlon program) than whether or not you have a $7,000 tri bike. 

Focusing on your engine (your body) pays greater dividends than any amount of gear. Humango’s AI coaching for triathletes only costs $348 a year. With it, you get a bespoke training plan that maximizes your performance in each sport. After a couple Humango-coached training cycles under your belt, you’ll know if that tri bike is worth the investment.

Half-Ironman Distance: Look Beyond the Half

There are two types of half-Ironman triathletes: those who have finished one and are now thinking of trying the full Ironman, and those who completed an Ironman and want to use the shorter race to get stronger and faster. If you’re the latter, Humango will guide you through a half-Ironman triathlon training schedule that builds on the work you put in before. Humango’s AI will take you to a higher fitness level, creating a plan that pushes you to better performances instead of simply repeating what you did the last time. The key here is to see the half-Ironman as a step in the multi-year progression, not as a single, isolated goal.

Training Tip: Schedule your training runs to sync with the time of day you expect to be running during your half- or full-iron distance race. That means late morning for half-Ironman triathletes and mid-afternoon for full-Ironman competitors. This way, you get used to running in the heat. 

Ironman Distance: Master Planner Needed

There’s no way around it: It takes a full year to adequately prepare and train for an Ironman. Knowing this, you should choose which race to enter based on when you can manage the 3-5 weeks of extreme training leading into your taper for the event. During these weeks, you will swim, ride, run, and sleep more than you ever thought you could. If you’re a parent, you want those weeks to fall during a period when your kids are still in school and busy with homework and activities, not during the summer break. A late spring Ironman would work best. However, this wouldn’t be the case for a tax accountant. A late fall event works better. It’s also important to consider the climate you’ll train and race in. Residents in the desert or tropical south might train through winter for a spring race, while those in the frozen north might train through summer for a fall race. 

The point is that where you live geographically and where you are in life play a critical role in determining which Ironman you can enter. But regardless of your schedule, 12 months is a long time to follow a training plan. And unless you’re a pro triathlete, it’s almost impossible to prioritize your training over anything else in your life. (Even pros have trouble making this happen.) This is why all pros have coaches. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a pro triathlete to benefit from expert coaching. You’ve got Humango. A lot of life can happen in a year, and Humango can help ensure that any setbacks come with pathways forward to keep you on track. 


Use Precision Training for Your Ultimate 5K Run

The perfect 5k training plan will vary from runner to runner. Some are natural sprinters for whom a 3.1-mile race will feel like a painfully long run. Others are born marathoners who treat a 5k race like an arduous all-out sprint. Unfortunately, many 5k race plans are designed with a one-size-fits-all methodology. They personalize them by using training paces based on a person’s race pace goal. Well, who truly knows their race pace goal?

Experienced runners will have a pretty good idea of a reasonable race pace based on their training runs, as many of their runs cover more than a 5k. But if they’re only using training run data, they’re still guessing. Only a race will tell them what their true race pace is. Fortunately, there are plenty of 5k’s throughout the year for them to enter and determine their actual training pace. Armed with this data point, they can then use it to guide them to their goal race several weeks down the road. Google “5k run near me,” and you can do the same. Or … you can skip the guesswork and use Humango’s advanced AI to know that your 5k running plan will be optimized for you and only you.

Let Humango show you how to train for a 5k.

Whether you consider a 5k a warm-up for your marathon training or a long run as part of a general fitness goal, Hugo, Humango’s AI-powered digital coach, can tailor a program that meets you where you are and builds a training plan based on how much time you have available to train (and recover), what types of cross-training options you have available (strength training, or cycling, for example) and when your race is scheduled. When you enter your training data into the app (mileage, pace, heart rate data, cadence, elevation changes, etc.), Humango can adjust your training progression to match your progressive improvements in running speed and stride efficiency.

Within a week, Humango will tell you whether you’re falling behind, staying on track, or moving ahead of schedule with your training regimen and adjust accordingly. For you, this could mean a different interval structure or workouts at varying intensity levels. It could also translate into an unexpected extra day off to allow your body to recuperate from a hard block of runs. What’s unique about Humango is that it utilizes vast data sets of past runners and the practical experience of Master Coaches to determine which training option or change will work best for you. The app taps into the science of endurance training to prescribe the precise workout you need that day to maximize your potential.

With your 5k training regimen set, focus on the details.

Since you don’t have to wonder how or if you can do your workouts from Humango, you can turn your attention to race day details and strategy, focusing on finer points like food choices and warm-up routines. 

What (and how) you eat and drink before the race is paramount to a personal best. You don’t necessarily need to down a sports gel or chug a sports drink before a 5k. Your body should have plenty of stored energy to see you across the finish line. If you overdo it on the pre-race diet, you can end up with an upset stomach during the run. So, use your weekend runs to test out and dial in your pre-race diet protocol. Figure out what foods to eat and how much to drink before the race. 

Eating a plain bagel with peanut butter (or butter) and drinking 16 ounces of water an hour before your run is a good start. This will give your body enough time to metabolize the bagel and top off your fluid levels. (Pro tip: Make a quick bathroom stop before you run). If the bagel/peanut butter suggestion isn’t appealing, experiment with foods and timing to find a pre-race snack that works best for you.

Warm-ups are not optional. 5k races start fast and stay fast for the duration. If you haven’t sufficiently warmed up your muscles and joints, you risk an injury, and a performance below your best is almost guaranteed. Spend 6-8 minutes jogging lightly, then work through a full-body range-of-motion warm-up. These aren’t static stretches where you pull your muscles. These moves — deep knee bends, leg kicks, hip rotations, and arm windmills — are all about getting blood into your joints and lubricating them for the work ahead. 


Make Long Distance Running Easier with Humango

Millions of runners around the world complete half-marathons and marathons successfully each year. Many are gifted natural runners who’ve been running since elementary school. Others never ran until a year or two before their first marathon. But regardless of their backgrounds, they all benefit from years and years of evolving training guidelines for distance runners. You, too, can tap into that expertise with Humango’s AI-powered endurance coaching app. With the app’s connectivity with Garmin and Suunto GPS watches, you can put that expertise to practice and accelerate your long-distance running progress.

Tune Your Body to Run Far

Training for distance running events starts with developing a fine-tuned aerobic engine, the cardiovascular system that keeps your blood pumping efficiently to your running muscles mile after mile. And as your engine becomes more efficient, you can go farther while putting in the same effort. 

By tracking your runs with a GPS sports watch and heart rate monitor, you can avoid a common trap that trips up many new — and even experienced — runners: running slower or faster than they should. Those who run slow are certainly improving their cardiovascular fitness, but they’re also teaching their body how to run slow. Those who run too fast may feel like they’re doing the work. And they are, but they never really give their body a chance to recover. It sounds counter-intuitive, but by running too fast too often, they prevent themselves from running even faster.

A training app like Humango will set your running paces according to your current fitness level, prescribing workouts that are neither too easy nor too hard when the goal is aerobic efficiency. 

Run Fast the Right Way

To run faster, you need to, yes, run fast. But you need to run as fast as possible for 1-8 minute intervals as part of your training, even for marathon distances. Speed work forces you to run with good form and cadence. The American College for Sports Medicine recommends all runners shoot for a running cadence of more than 170 steps per minute. Today’s GPS watches can measure your cadence to tell you if you’re on pace. Taken together, this focus on top-end, all-out speed will improve your running economy, which saves energy and trains your body to run faster for longer. 

Speed work and long-distance running sound like oxymorons, but the combo works. The tricky part is finding the right time and place for it in a multi-week training plan. Humango’s coaching app will know where to insert these workouts. Once they’re downloaded, Humango’s AI will adjust your future workouts accordingly. Nailing every interval? Expect to see harder ones in the future. Struggling to finish the last workout? Humango will schedule easier workouts that meet you where you are on your running journey. 

Schedule Time for a Strong Foundation

Strong runners with legs built to last require a rock-solid core to give their legs a solid platform to drive them forward. A strong foundation is also a key to stamina and endurance; the more stable the core, the more energy your body can redirect to your legs. A basic core-strengthening routine that targets your stomach, back, chest, shoulders, hips, and legs is all you need, and you can get a quality core workout in as little as 20 minutes. But knowing when and where to schedule it in between your runs can be difficult. That’s where Humango steps in, scheduling strength-training sessions for times when they complement, not interrupt, your plan. 

Know When To Take a Break

Recovery and rest. Everyone knows these are vital to improving any athletic endeavor. Yet, it’s so hard to deduce how much is too little or too much. (Oddly, the result is a fitness plateau followed by slowly eroding fitness in both cases.) Knowing how much rest you need to optimize your running progression is as easy as downloading your runs and strength workouts to Humango’s app. It’ll take your results and schedule an extra day off if needed. Or it could accelerate your schedule if it sees you crushing — not merely finishing — your workouts. Thanks to Humango, the guesswork that goes into figuring out how much work is too much is gone. Now, you can learn your limits without years of trial and error.