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Kyle Merber on Recovery.

The first step to running a new personal best begins with your health. Without the ability to make it to the starting line, all hopes of fast times will be lost. That is why we spend so much time and attention focused on the most crucial aspect of training—the recovery. Completing a hard workout is not the hard part. If anything, that may be considered the easiest component of training because most serious athletes actually enjoy the pursuit of greatness through this suffering. Instead, the disciple required period between two sessions is truly the most difficult element of sports.

Following a heavy workload, your body is at its most vulnerable state. The muscles, tendons and ligaments have been torn up and broken down. Emphasis then shifts from that very gratifying process of controlled destruction to the next phase—repair. With proper nutrition, rest and self-care, your body can reconstruct itself and build back stronger for the next workout. This is the training cycle. We breakdown, we recover, we rebuild and then we repeat indefinitely.

But there is more that can be done that just simply sleeping plenty and eating right. The fate of your body is in your hands. It becomes imperative that we utilize various recovery tools to help promote the restoration of equilibrium. Those aches and pains that will naturally occur while pushing one’s limits in practice then need to be flushed out. This helps bring in new blood to the damaged areas and the increased circulation will aid in the removal of lactic acid and also the promotion of cell regrowth. By rolling out your muscles you are simply participating in one form of self-massage. This generates an improved range of motion and a tangible lengthening that will increase your functional flexibility.

While using a roller or massage tool to help knead out the muscle soreness may not be the most fun or glamorous part of training, it is essential to running quick. Before you can take many fast steps, you must first make sure to be taking them pain-free.