Preparing for your next workout begins as soon as your current run is over. Kick-start your recovery and ensure your next workout is high-quality, by implementing some active and passive recovery practices. I am a big efficiency guy, so I've compiled a list of recovery modalities that have the best return on your investment. Active recovery modalities are things you do for and to yourself, while passive recovery is done without any effort on your part.
Your active recovery should begin with a cool-down walk. Keep moving after your run to help pump blood back through the heart. A favorite practice is walking backwards, to (literally) unwind your body from the forward movement of running. After you "walk it off," prioritize hydration and recovery calories. Your post-workout snack could be a smoothie, an energy bar or even just a simple piece of fruit...just get it into your system during the 30 minute post-workout window.
You can also do active stretching immediately after your run and/or later on in the day. I recommend my runners participate in a weekly yoga class on their off day in order to work on overall mobility and flexibility. Finally, practice diaphragmatic breathing...you can do it anywhere at any time! This "belly breathing" practice promotes full oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange and will also help suppress any stress-related hormones that are on full alert from the workout.
Passive recovery is an excellent modality because it requires little to no energy on the part of the participant. Schedule a weekly massage, or hook up with a place like AHN's Cool Springs facility that offers recovery-based technologies like compressive leg pumps, cryotherapy and a vibration plate. Physical therapists like the ones at Novacare Rehabilitation are also amazing go-to resources for passive recovery. Not only will they help you stay on your feet and perform at your best, but they can also offer guidance on how to stay resilient and remain injury-free in the long-term.
You can't progress as a runner and an athlete if you are not adequately recovering from your runs and your workouts. It's easy to put in miles, and forget about the easy stuff that is just as important!!