The two main things I use for my recovery after training are two things I am so enthusiastic about and try to share where possible so thought I would share them here.
1. Foam rolling.
A growing trend in the last year or two and something I have been doing for a couple of years since recommended to me by a personal trainer friend. At first I was quite put off by the screams of agony from those who did it at my gym (it can be quite painful if your muscles are really tight) but once I got used to and felt the benefits I was a convert and am now a massive fan!
I roll as part of my warm up to loosen up mainly my calves and will then usually roll as part of a secondary cool down an hour or so after a run. I also try to roll on run rest days or when I am especially achy in days after a long run. Before an event I will also try to do a 10/15 minute roll session twice a day in the couple of days before just to keep my muscles in good condition.
There are loads of articles online about what exercises to do and how to start rolling but heres one I rather liked:
There are loads of rollers on the market as well, currently I favour a Reebok one and I would recommend one as its not that expensive and has lasted me well. I cant be without mine now and it is a key bit of kit that I pack when going away for an event.
For further assistance in buying yourself a foam roller heres runnersworld guide:
I would really urge any runner or anyone doing a lot of training to give it ago and am confident you will feel the benefits.
Complete list of foam roller exercises:
2. Another exercise I use that I am a big fan of is legs up the wall.
Its so simple yet so effective, lie on the floor, legs against a wall with your bum as close to the wall as you can manage. Then just lie, relax, breathe....
Apparently its an old yoga pose thats meant to bring so many health benefits but for my purposes I use for helping to drain lactic acid out of my muscles and increasing blood flow round my body.
I couldn't find many sites with running specific information but for a detailed list of benefits check this out:
Again I was recommended this by a personal trainer who was quite into alternative exercises a few years ago and have used it ever since.
I have since read that it is an exercise favoured by cricket players to energise themselves before or during long periods in the field.
I am always trying to remind myself to do it after a run as don't think I utilise it enough. I always do it for 5-10 minutes after a morning run before work as I really feel it aides recovery and further energised you for the day ahead.
Don't be afraid to give it ago you might feel a bit conscious trying it out in public but don't let that stop you just give it a go and try to relax into and use it to reflect on your training and prepare yourself for the day ahead.