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How Do You Feel, After a Long Run?

posted almost 6 years ago | Report

I want to gather some thoughts on how people feel after a long run.

For instance, my run yesterday was 15 miles. During the run I had 20 0z of sports drink. I ran in the morning. I came home and laid in the tub filled with cold water for about 15 minutes, then took a warm shower. For breakfast, I had some water, OJ, Chocolate Milk, a banana, 3 scrambled eggs, and an English Muffin with some butter. After breakfast, I took a 2 hour nap. When I woke up, I ate again.

For the rest of the day, I just chilled on the couch.

For the most part, after a long run like this, I feel completely spent. I am tired and feel like I am worthless the rest of the day. Is that normal to feel like that? It is only on long runs (anything above half-marathon distances) that I feel this way.

I feel fine today except for a little tightness in my calves.

How do you feel after long runs?
Should I alter my water/nutrition intake to help aid recovery? I feel I eat my best after workouts.

23 posts

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  • I could easily spend all day on a couch after a long run if I had that opportunity. When I did my 22 mile run before the marathon, I photographed a house about 2 hours after completion of the run. It's just what I had to do so I did it.
    If you have the day off to spend on the couch, i say to go for it. You certainly deserve it.

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • I always try to have a recovery drink (32 oz Powerbar Recovery) immediately after a long run like I did yesterday (12.5 miles). I was kind of spent yesterday afternoon, but it was because my heart rate was too high the last hour (that's what I get for trying to hang with a friend that is a stronger runner).

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • I just returned from my long run and I'm definitely feeling my legs, but energy-wise I'm not too bad. I ran about an hour and a half after waking up and had coffee, water, yogurt, and two granola bars before heading out. At mile 8, I ate a PowerBar.

    I can't offer much advice as to whether it's normal or not to feel completely spent, but certainly it doesn't hurt to relax the rest of the day and let your body recover. Eating is a good idea and sometimes I take an aspirin. If your body's craving the food you're eating, then it's probably a good idea to eat it.

    What pace relative to your race pace do you do your long runs at? Anything over a half-marathon I've been taking about a minute slower than race pace.

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • I usually don't want to move the rest of the day either. However, I usually try to push myself during long runs more than advised. But I like it that way.

    Also, unfortunately, I usually ruin my GI tract by doing long runs. I heard it is from the sugar intake (gels, sport drink, etc.)

    So I like to eat, and lay around, near a bathroom. A nap usually does help. I have read that elite triathletes usually snooze about 8hr/night and a 2hr nap. Sleeping is the way to recovery!

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • I find that taking a nap after a long run is just the thing ... after taking in carbs within the first hour to reload my glycogen stores and making sure I'm back to full hydration. If I don't set an alarm I find I sleep about 2 hours and feel great and ready-to-go after. If you look at the schedules of top marathoners, they often nap after long runs as well.

    posted over 5 years ago

  • Usually my legs are tired but otherwise I feel pretty good. That's assuming I did everything right leading up to the run...stuck to a reasonable number of miles and pace in the days leading up to the long run, ate good the day before and had plenty of sleep. It also assumes I ran the right pace... 1+ min/mi slower than goal pace.

    I usually get up around 5:30 AM, eat a bowl of cereal (frosted mini wheats), stretch a few minutes and head out the door around 6 AM. My post long run routine is to stretch for about 10 - 15 minutes, eat a snack, shower and relax for about an hour. After that I should be ready for a normal day...mowing grass, running around playing with the kids, etc. Sitting still all day, for me, is the worst thing I can do for recovery. I just end up stiff and sore.

    If you're "tired & spent" for the whole day then you definitely need to change something. Pace would be my first guess...though I haven't looked at your log and I'm not an expert. :-)

    posted over 5 years ago

  • I have never really tried the "long" runs, but usually, after running for a longer period of time I feel energetic.. and just dance my way home. (on the rooftop of my home sometimes, lol).
    But after taking a hot shower and stretching I just feel... dead. I cannot move, I cannot think, I cannot do anything but relax and maybe sleep for a little while.
    And oh, I become extremely hungry for some reason!

    posted over 5 years ago

  • well the longest run I have done is 13 and after that I was really hyper for like 3 hours and then I crashed all day

    posted over 5 years ago

  • I feel like I'm 95yrs old! :)

    Actually, I'm tired but can easily continue on with my day if necessary. Normally, I would prefer to sleep for an hour or two in the afternoon, but the last few months have had to work afterward.

    My appetite is virtually non- existent after a long run. I'll make myself eat a bowl of cereal, and a glass of V-8 juice. It seems the next day I have a voracious appetite.

    posted over 5 years ago | edited over 5 years ago

  • The first few times I did long runs I spent the rest of the day resting. I generally run at least 12 miles and go as far as 20 on my long weekend run. I'm less tired after long runs than I was when I first started.

    posted over 5 years ago

  • After my long runs I've always felt fine. Tight in the legs of course and hungry as a horse, but, it's always a nice sunny day and I end up coming home, downing a glass of chocolate milk, taking my shower, eating something healthy and then I head to the beach and sit in the water while my kids play. The water is always 70-75degrees here so it feels good. I don't have time to sit in the tub like that so I have to use other options. As for energy I'm fine as well. If I'm doing a 10+ run, not only do I take gatorade but at my 7 mile mark I take a clif shot with water and how ever many more I need during a 15+ run. It works. I train as if I am in the race, speed, gel packs, fluids. I have to, it lets me know what my body can handle. I nap if I can (if kids allow it...) but if I don't I usually crash around 9 or 9:30 to get good sleep. The next day I always feel good.

    posted over 5 years ago

  • Hungry comes to mind.

    posted over 5 years ago

  • First of all, you didn't take in enough fuel during your run. That's definitely going to impact how you feel. 20 oz of sports drink isn't enough. Your body has about an hours worth of fuel to run on. You should be taking an energy gel with electrolytes at least 2x for a run of 15 miles.

    As soon as your run is over, you need to eat something. Do not wait. Chocolate milk is perfect. It has the perfect ratio of carbs to protein. So do that FIRST then ice bath.

    Your recovery, however, sounds perfect if you reverse the eating and the ice bath, or just take in about 200 calories or so, then ice bath, then do a meal.

    If this is the first time you've trained for a long distance, you probably are going to feel really tired the rest of the day.

    After my long runs, having run a number of marathons in the last year, I am usually tired but if I fuel correctly on the run, refuel immediately after, and make sure I've fueled and hydrated well the day before, I can usually get out and perform normally for the rest of the day. It just takes time to get to that point. I've run a marathon then spent the day walking around Chicago, going to the zoo, and even going to an amusement park. I sleep VERY well that night. A bomb could go off and I wouldn't wake up!

    So for your future runs my advice would be (as an experienced marathoner and coach):

    -Fuel and hydrate well the day before
    -Begin taking a gel at about mile 5-6 and take one every 4-6 miles thereafter
    -Drink about 4-8 oz water every mile or so
    -Run at 1-2 minutes SLOWER than anticipated race pace. A long run is NOT where you push your speed until your body has adapted to the long runs
    -Eat something with protein and carbs within 20 minutes of finishing your run
    -Ice bath or at least ice quads, knees
    -No massage
    -Eat a good healthy meal (as you did) within an hour
    -Listen to your body (as you did) for the rest of the day

    A long run will take between 2-7 days to fully recover from, depending on your endurance fitness level. Note that I am NOT suggesting you are not "fit". You obviously are, but right now you're working on your ENDURANCE fitness. (I have endurance fitness, for example, but have just started a boot camp and am finding I am not as fit in some areas of my body as I am in my endurance. This doesn't mean I'm not fit. It means I am fit for the sport I participate in.)

    I ran a 50k Sunday. During the race I took in:
    -About 64 oz water
    -4 wafer cookies
    -1/4 peanut butter sandwich
    -2 gels
    -1 Fig Newton, 1 Oreo, 1 oatmeal cookie
    -half a boiled potato with salt
    -Endurolytes (due to the fact I was using more food as fuel, and less electrolyte gel)

    It was a trail race, and I do tend to "eat" on trail races. I don't on a marathon. And while it may look like I had a lot of "junk" when you're out there for that long, you eat what your body will handle and I knew it would handle all that stuff.

    After I immediately had more water and half a bagel with peanut butter. On the way home I had an iced latte. About two hours after the meal I had no oil stir fry with shrimp, a few sesame balls, and some light soft serve ice cream and strawberries.

    The next day I ran a very easy paced recovery run. I had to coach two days after so I ran 6 miles, but it was run/walk as it's a new "team" of people training for their very first 5k.

    Don't join bootcamp the week after, though. Wow my legs are regretting THAT decision...but I already wrote the check!

    posted over 5 years ago

  • LOL, I couldn't agree more!

    posted over 5 years ago

  • I've been told to pace a minute slower than race pace. This is the first time I've ever trained with a goal marathon time. Do I ever try to achieve goal marathon pace during a long training run? Or just go for it on race day?

    posted over 5 years ago

  • in reply to what Ben W. said:I just returned from my long run and I'm definitely feeling my legs, but energy-wise I'm not too bad. I ran about an hour and a half after waking up and had coffee, water, yogurt, and two granola bars before heading out. At mile 8, I ate... read more

    I've been told to pace a minute slower than race pace. This is the first time I've ever trained with a goal marathon time. Do I ever try to achieve goal marathon pace during a long training run? Or just go for it on race day?

    posted over 5 years ago

  • in reply to what Tory K. said:First of all, you didn't take in enough fuel during your run. That's definitely going to impact how you feel. 20 oz of sports drink isn't enough. Your body has about an hours worth of fuel to run on. You should be taking an energy g... read more

    Great feedback! Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise. Last week I read an article similar to your tips here and my recovery was so much better yesterday after a 20 miler. I actually did a couple productive things throughout the day! Thanks Tory!

    posted over 5 years ago

  • I have felt great and I have felt like a pile of poo after a long run. There is such a wide array of factors (sleep quality, training load, life stresses, dehydration, position of the moon :), etc) that can impact how you feel after the run.

    The only thing I would note to help with recovery would be to return to a hydrated state after the run. A bit of electrolytes probably wouldn't hurt either whether that includes various fruit or a pinch of sea salt in your water. You could weigh yourself pre-run and then weigh again post-run. If you weigh less than pre-run, you need to rehydrate the body. This will help all body processes to work better. This doesn't mean drinking a gallon of water in one sitting but consistently throughout the day. :)

    A general guide is you also don't want to have greater than 2% weight loss post run. If so, you may want to try and drink more during the run.

    If you have an opportunity to veg out, more power to you! Gains come in the recovery, not the work.

    posted over 5 years ago

  • In response to your question:
    I've been told to pace a minute slower than race pace. This is the first time I've ever trained with a goal marathon time. Do I ever try to achieve goal marathon pace during a long training run? Or just go for it on race day?

    I've had better results going about a minute slower on the long runs. I use all the shorter runs during the week to do tempo work. This is how I was taught while training for my first 1/2 marathon and it has served me well.

    posted over 5 years ago

  • After a long run, I'm tired... plain and simple. I just want to shower, clean up and relax with a great healthy meal and glass of wine.......usually my long runs are on the weekend, so I feel a glass of wine is a great treat and I feel NO guilt over it. a long run day also will involve a good DVD so I can veg on the couch and fall in an out of sleep.......:)

    posted over 5 years ago

  • I typically feel better after a long run than after my speed workout. On speed days I'm happy to see my driveway or car or finish line. On long days I'm honestly sad that my run is over. I usually feel like I could run 10 more miles.

    After every run, it's a tall glass of chocolate milk, usually within 10 minutes of finishing. If the twigs are sore, or spent feeling after my shower, I put on the compression socks and stretch. My anterior compartment (anterior tibialis muscle - lateral of tibia) is my problem child so i pay particular attention to stretching it.

    As far as altering water and nutrition, who's to say. That varies from person to person and day to day. I'm still tweaking my nutrition - 8oz gatorade per 30 minutes/2 Gu packets per 45 minutes/water every 10-15/etc. Depends on the day.

    posted about 5 years ago

  • I am DEAD tired after a long run. I usually eat a good meal, shower and take a long nap. The rest of the day I dont feel like doing much more than watching tv. I usually sleep like a baby that night and feel much better the next day.

    posted about 5 years ago

  • Just curious... how come you mentioned 'No massage'? I did a 10.8 miles run on Sat. and after i stretched ,I ate a good healthy snack after (Lara cashew Bar), then had a massage 30 min after my run. I felt great that day and the next. i thought it really helped with any potential soreness, of which i had none.

    posted almost 5 years ago

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