Leanne Kelsall’s guide to seven products designed to help you to speed up your recovery – from soothing muscle balms to post-run recovery shoes.
Endurance athletes like runners, cyclists and triathletes thrive on pushing their minds and bodies further than what is thought possible. But did you know it’s not just how you train; it’s also how well you recover that determines your performance?
Recovery should be a key part of any training regime – especially for endurance athletes – and there are plenty of tools and gadgets to give you a helping hand. I’ve rounded up some of my favourites below.
These tools will help you train at your best, recover faster and even reduce your likelihood of injury. I tested them fresh from an Ironman 70.3, which involves a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a half marathon. Read on to see what I thought.
CEP Infrared Recovery Socks, £44.95
Compression socks and sleeves have been popular among runners and triathletes for years and originate from the medical world.
Running-specific compression socks can be worn as part of your post-workout routine, and some are designed to be used while working out. CEP are my go-to compression sock brand, and they’ve just launched a new pair that includes infrared technology.
The special medi compression fabric gives your calves a tight hug which improves blood flow and helps its journey back to the heart to speed up recovery. The infrared technology goes one step further. It optimises the supply of oxygen to your muscles by reflecting your body’s heat. This improves microcirculation in your muscles and results in even faster recovery. What’s more, the socks are made with breathable materials to offer a little airflow.
These socks have become a permanent part of my post-run routine. After wearing them, my calves feel noticeably lighter and less tired – they put the spring back in my step.
The Herbtender Perform & Recover Supplements, £36.99 (60 capsules)
Just launched in Selfridges, these flavourless capsules are filled with science-backed herbs that can help you recover better. The Perform & Recover blend is designed to enhance sports performance with two herbs; Rhodiola and Cordyceps.
Rhodiola grows in mountainous regions, and its roots are considered adaptogens which help your body adapt to stress when consumed. Adaptogens have been used safely for centuries for their stress-busting powers, even by Vikings. Cordyceps is a type of fungus and studies have shown it can improve the way your body uses oxygen, especially during exercise. It’s also said to help fight inflammation. It’s been used by swimmers and track runners for years.
The Herbtender products are all produced in the UK. What’s more, all packaging has been created with sustainability in mind. The refillable glass jars and the cardboard packaging can all be recycled.
Cannaray CBD Muscle Balm, £20.25
I’m a big fan of this muscle balm; it works wonders after a long bike ride or run. It’s designed to soothe sore muscles with premium CBD that’s free from THC and can be traced from farm to bottle. It’s also infused with aloe, arnica and eucalyptus, which gives a warm tingle when it’s rubbed in.
This easy-to-apply balm instantly takes the edge off, and I find it’s ideal for your neck and shoulders, calves and quads.
Salomon REELAX MOC 5.0 Men’s Recovery Shoes, £70
A good pair of running recovery shoes are a must-have. There’s no beating the feeling of finishing a gruelling long-distance run or race and slipping your feet into a pair of recovery shoes.
The REELAX MOC shoes are a great choice for men. They’re designed by Salomon, one of the world’s leading outdoorsy brands that have been pioneers in the field of sportswear since the 1940s.
This cosy pair will encourage blood flow to your muscles to kick-start recovery and reduce fatigue. The EndoFit™ wraps and holds your foot in place, cushioning any forces applied to your muscles.
They look smart, too, so you can wear them with your normal clothes as well as workout gear. I recommend using them while pottering around the house or on short walks as part of an active recovery routine.
All Salomon products come with a 2-year warranty against material and manufacturing defects, so you’ve got extra peace of mind.
Walker & Morland CBD Revive Bergamot Massage Oil, £30 (100ml)
Relaxing is a key part of every athlete’s recovery, and I love how this massage oil helps me to unwind. The best time to apply it is after a bath or shower, so I find it works great in the evening after a big training day.
It’s packed with high-quality CBD and botanicals. It absorbs pretty much straight away with no greasy residue. Just massage it in and relax while any soreness melts away. It also moisturises your skin, so I find it works really well after swimming. The brand is vegan-friendly and uses natural ingredients with a focus on sustainability.
Pura Collagen flex+, £39.99 (28 servings)
If you haven’t heard of it, collagen is the most abundant form of protein in your body. It has many important roles, including strengthening your bones.
So it’s probably no surprise to know that collagen supplements are becoming increasingly popular among endurance athletes. And I think flex+ by Pura Collagen is well worth a look. According to the brand’s website, your natural collagen levels start to fall when you hit your early 20s. Taking collagen supplements stimulates your body’s natural collagen production, making it easier for your body to heal and strengthen itself.
Pura Collagen goes one step further by creating collagen tailored for specific needs, like their glow+ for skin, hair and nails. What’s more, their products are free from nasties like additives and no bulk. They simply contain pure, targeted collagen.
I tried their flex+ powder, which is designed to improve joint strength, flexibility, and mobility. Results can be seen in as little as six weeks. While I’m still within that time frame, the reviews I’ve read online for flex+ are really promising. Many people have said it’s helped ease joint pain and muscle soreness.
I also really like the convenient size, which makes it great for use at home or on the go. It mixes easily into oats, shakes and smoothies. You can even bake with it!
Novomins Magnesium Gummies, £14.99
These raspberry-flavoured gummy bears are a convenient way to reach your recommended intake of magnesium. They’re really yummy, with the same texture as a jelly baby. (Good thing they come with a child safety lid, then.) They’re vegan and free from artificial colours and flavours.
A cut above other magnesium supplements out there – these gummies are infused with high-quality magnesium, which reduces tiredness and contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle and nerve function. Just what your recovering body needs!
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