People are not designed to run endurance races, but for some, the challenge to endure is just too strong.

The punishment our joints and muscles take, and the mental toll of participating in this type of running, all result in much needed recovery time. Here are 5 rules to aid your recovery and get you back on the trails.

1. Start Out the Right Way.

We all know those runners who wake up on a morning and decide to participate in a race having done only a minimal amount of training. This is just not possible for endurance running. It may seem obvious, but putting a roadrunner onto rough terrain with no training is asking for injury.

So aside from developing the fitness to complete the length of the race, be sure that you are also terrain fit. The best place for a runner to train is on the terrain they plan to compete on. Not training properly can only result in injury and a long, long recovery time.

2. Avoid the Urge and Commit to Your Recover

This means no running. A difficult thing to do once the aches and pains subside, work out what your recovery markers are and commit to them. Many runners advocate active recovery after a race, but even easy runs can add wear and tear.

The question is will you be able to tell the difference between post run stiffness and a new injury in the making. A good rule of thumb is 1 day off for every 10-miles run.

We know that ten days off the road is unthinkable, especially if your identity is inexplicably intertwined with your ability to run. However, It is shorter than six months on the couch because of an ACL tear.

3. Refuel and Rebuild your Body

This should go with out saying, but providing your body with the nutrients it needs to help it recover faster is paramount to a reasonable recovery time. Your reserves need replenishing and those muscles need the building blocks to rebuild.

A high protein diet, healthy fats, limited simple carbs, and lots of hydration after the race and the following days are vital.

4. Get Moving

Not running, but stretching. Many of us have made the mistake of ignoring this golden nugget only to find ourselves bent into what ever shape we last lay in and unable to move.

Before the stiffness reaches its peak, stretch things out, whatever needs it. Regular stretching should not be underestimated.

5. Rest Up and Get Some Shut Eye.

It is a well-known fact that the hours we spend with our eyes closed are the body’s’ time to repair.

During the various stages of sleep our body goes through the process of resting our brains to revitalise us mentally, and slow wave and deep sleep during which time our body repairs itself.

Getting some extra rest after a race will speed up recovery time considerably. So, turn down those invitations to hang with friends and turn in early, or sit back and relax.

Endurance racing pushes our bodies and minds to absolute maximum capacity. With our bodies performing at their peak pace for hours or days, the recovery is as important as the training you put in to get there.

Get back into it slowly, and be sure to check that your stride is normal before you start full tilt training again. Happy resting.