Sore to soaring: Everything you need to know about post-run recovery

So you can bounce back faster.

A group of runners completing a marathon - aerial view - they're going to need some post-run recovery

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

With just under two months to go until both the London marathon and the Manchester marathon, those lucky enough (or brave enough) to have secured a place will be ramping up their running routines. But you don't have to run a marathon to care about post-run recovery.

It's fair to say the running revolution is in full swing. With a 109% increase in searches for 'running recovery' in the past month and a whopping 750.5 thousand views on TikTok, it's not surprising the streets are bustling with joggers. So, in a bid to help runners of every level, the gurus at Provacan have come up with some indispensable tips to make your post-run recovery as pain-free as possible.

Post-run recovery for running rookies

Starting with running rookies, it's crucial to treat your body with the TLC it deserves after each run. Kick back, relax and let the post-run magic happen. According to Provacan, you should be doing these things...


Nourish muscles and keep any dehydration at bay by drinking water. This might seem like an obvious one, but your body will need it after a run. For even more benefits, try swapping Mother Nature's finest with coconut water or water with added electrolytes.


Investing in the best gym trainers will help you no end. Having the right footwear for the type of running you do will minimise the risk of injury. We have a whole host of guides explaining how to choose the perfect pair of kicks for you.

Don't run before you can walk

Rome wasn't built in a day, nor is your running empire. Begin slow, enjoy the journey and gradually work up to long distances. A great way to begin running without overexerting yourself is by running for 60 seconds and walking for 90. Repeat this eight times over.

A man dressed in grey using a treadmill in a gym
Make sure to increase your run duration, and intensity, slowly and over time. The NHS 'Couch To 5K' app might help with this. ©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers


Fuel up with a balanced meal or snack afterwards, loaded with protein and carbs. Ideally it needs to be eaten either two hours before (which can be challenging if you're impartial to a morning jog), or within 30 minutes after.

Vitamins and supplements can help

Whether you choose Vitamin C to reduce inflammation, magnesium to help with muscle relaxation, Omega-3 for joint health, or even CBD, gym supplements can play a role in speeding up recovery. BCAAs can also be great at promoting muscle protein synthesis and reducing any soreness. By taking the best vitamins for you you're not just replenishing what was lost during your run, but you're also (hopefully) reaping the benefits of a faster recovery and improved performance when exercising next.

Post-run recovery for seasoned pavement-pounders

Continuing on, if you're a seasoned pavement-pounder and you're thinking, well, I already do all the things you've mentioned, there are some more specific things Provacan mentions you can do to ensure you're mastering the running game.

Dabble in cross-training

Shaking up your routine by integrating low-impact activities can be a good idea. You might be thinking, yoga is boring, but we don't necessarily mean that. Swimming or cycling can make for the perfect addition to your current workout routine, and will ease the strain on your joints. All while keeping your body moving and fitness levels up.

Active recovery

Every fitness aficionado knows the value of rest days. Saying that, rest days don't necessarily mean you don't exercise at all that day. If you've caught the fitness bug and you're dying to keep moving, opt for light exercises or dynamic stretches to keep the blood flowing. This way, muscle stiffness might not be so much of an issue.

A woman in blue workout clothes stretching post-run
Although a rest day can mean a complete day off for some, others struggle without exercise, even if it only is for one day. Try doing some gentle stretches on your day off. ©Getty Images/Turk Stock Photographer

Catch those Zzz's

Good quality shut-eye is non-negotiable for the best post-run recovery. Make sleep a priority in your routine to keep your body functioning at its best. Let it repair and revitalise. So put the TikTok or gripping book down, and go to sleep instead.

Look after your legs

Think of your post-run recovery as the secret sauce that turns a good run into a great one. This marathon season, if you're gearing up to run a 5K or a 30K, give your body the TLC deserves. Whether that be cold therapy, investing in a great pair of running shoes, or just prioritising a good nights sleep. If you neglect your recovery, you'll certainly know about it. So, be smarter than that and bounce back faster than ever with small lifestyle changes.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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