The best recovery for runners
What is the best recovery for runners? A question posed often when athletes are recovering from injuries. Most of these injuries were partially caused by insufficient recovery. Not just for runners, but for all athletes, recovery should be a dominant contributor to their training regime.
Effects of poor recovery
Many athletes fail to meet the first rule of recovery. This is having enough sleep and correct nutrition. Due to this, two key effects occur; Feeling fatigued and injury.
Without the body’s ability to recover from training, your muscles, which are broken down during exercise, won’t be able to recover. This results in a constant cycle where your body fails to fully replenish. Because of this, the full adaptations of training are never obtained and you will feel more fatigued due to the body’s constant efforts to return to a fully recovered state. Athletics weekly have a great article on “how to recover like a pro” . Which covers most key factors of recovery and can set you on the right track in optimising your training.
The two main, crucial factors of recovery are sleep and nutrition. However, how can you achieve marginal gains through other methods of recovery? There’s beetroot, which essentially loosens your blood vessels and increases blood flow. There’s muscle rollers, stretching, ice baths, hot baths which all have some science supporting their recovery effectiveness.
A tool which we have had the pleasure of using, is the Firefly. Best described as a portable electrical stimulation device which you put around your knee (As seen below). Simplified, it causes small contractions in the leg, which almost acts as a heartbeat. In doing so, these contractions increase blood flow around the body.
Good blood flow around the body has many benefits. The main one is oxygen can flow effectively, allowing muscles and organs to function correctly. When muscles receive oxygenated blood, they can efficiently work on repairing themselves after exercise. As well as work on the healing process after an injury. Performance benefits aside, effective blood flow helps white blood cells transport around the body and aid fighting off illnesses and diseases. Blood flow also helps remove waste created during exercise.
The Firefly can also increase the lower extremity microcirculation by 400%. (Circulation in your legs).
Things better about the Firefly
One reason we love this product so much is the fact that it’s portable. You can use it on the go, whilst travelling to competitions, when you’re sitting at home or at work. It’s discrete size and no sound means you can wear it without any burden to your day to day life.
Probably the number one reason we recommend this product so highly is because of its effectiveness. The stated benefits are; Increased blood circulation, reduced muscle soreness, active recovery simulation, reduced swelling after injury, recovery of sprains/ strains and improved recovery of neuromuscular function. Since using the firefly I have experienced every benefit (Other than the sprain/strain as I haven’t had one). Wearing them for 30 minutes +, I noticed my legs feeling like I’ve just done an easy shakeout pre race. Fresh and light. For optimal recovery it’s recommended you wear them for 2-4 hours, but the effects I had within 30 minutes were noticeable to say the least.
Not only can this be a tool for recovery, but I have seen benefits using it as a tool to warm up. Before starting my warm up I use the firefly for 15 minutes and then proceed to do my mobility exercises and jog. Whether this is just a mental boost or actually has some science behind it, I feel my legs benefit.
Athletes using firefly
Firefly has worked with many athletes and colleges across many different sports. Other than being followed by Joe Rogan! Firefly also has quite a few high profile athletes to their name. These include; Galen Rupp, Clayton Murphy and Jordan Hasay.
We did a podcast about firefly and the best recovery for runners, which you can check out here.