5 top tips to optimise your recovery


We all know that recovery is important, but with the current boom of running across social media and the increase of hi-tech equipment it is hard to know what effective recovery looks like.

We caught up with Tom Craggs, National Endurance Manager (Off Track) with England Athletics, to discuss what is most important for recovery and his top tips to help you in your training.

"The key things really are training sensibly, eating a really high-quality diet, making sure you are getting good sleep and respecting those stress levels in and around your training."

1. Training plan

To start off with, make sure your training is right, no special massage gun, foam roller, or recovery shake is going to dig you out of a hole of poor training. So, follow a plan that doesn’t build you up too much, too fast, too soon, too hard, or too often. Reflect on how much you can feasibly train and still allow your body to recover, in and around everything else that you have got going on in your life.

2. Nutrition

Nutrition is absolutely critical to recovering well. Make sure you’ve got enough macro and micro nutrients in your diet to ensure you are fuelling your training and recovery well. And respect that quite narrow window after your hard interval sessions, or key long runs where your body is most receptive to taking on nutrients and recovery products quickly.

3. Sleep

Sleep is definitely one of your key recovery tools. So, try and really respect that last 60-90 minutes before bed, avoid using your smartphone because the blue light from the screen can affect your melatonin levels and have a knock-on impact on your sleep. Try to wind down creating a relaxed, cool, calm environment in which to sleep and obviously avoid caffeine and alcohol late at night.

We can’t all get eight hours sleep a night but what we can do is try to improve the quality of sleep that we do get, so really try to work on that.

4. Easy days and rest days

Respect your easy days and your rest days, we need the rest and recovery to improve.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to see whether your easy days and rest days are effective for recovery, or whether you need to improve:

  • Are you pushing your easy runs a little bit too hard?
  • Do you need a little bit more active recovery in your training week?
  • Are you taking rest days if you feel you need them?

So, really take a long hard look at your training balance and make sure there’s a mix between the hard training and recovery in there.

5. Stress levels

Stress levels have a really big impact on your ability to recover from training and that’s not just physical stress that’s psychological stress. So, do look to do things that can help you stay calm in and around your training, whatever that might be for you.

And if you are going through a period of life that is particularly stressful, with work or family, perhaps you might need to change your training balance to respect that and take that on board.


Of course, there is a wide range of other things that we do that are quite individual to us, whether that’s stretching and mobility work, or strength and conditioning that can also play a part in how robust your body is in and around your training.

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