In a series of three articles by Coach Martin Trout, we look at Recovery strategies in Trail Running.

  • Types of recovery strategies
  • Which ones are shown to work
  • How they can benefit you
  • Best practices

In this article, Part 2 of 3. Martin looks at the use of compression garments, massage and stretching.

 Part 1. and introduction focused on:

  • Hydrotherapy
  • Active Recovery

In Part 3. and summary Martin looks at:

  • Nutrition
  • Sleep

Recovery in Trail Running – Part 2.

by Martin J. Trout Part two of three.

  • Compression garments
  • Massage
  • Stretching.

Compression Garments

Many recovery strategies for elite athletes are based on medical equipment or therapies otherwise used in clinical situations.

Compression clothing is one of these strategies.

Compression garments have been traditionally used to treat various lymphatic and circulatory conditions, as they seem to improve venous return through application of graduated compression to the limbs from proximal to distal.

The external pressure created may reduce the intramuscular space available for swelling and promote stable alignment of muscle fibres, attenuating the inflammatory response and reducing muscle soreness.

There are very few independent studies into compression garments and recovery for endurance athletes however the small amount of data suggests that they may be beneficial and do not appear to be harmful to the recovery process.


Massage is quite widely used as a recovery strategy among athletes. Undoubtedly there are perceived benefits of massage on muscle soreness, however very few studies have shown any positive effects on repeated exercise performance.

A number of studies have concluded that massage is almost certainly beneficial in improving psychological aspects of recovery, but do not support massage as a modality to improve functional performance.

Nonetheless massage may have potential benefits for injury prevention and healing. Most athletes would be wise to incorporate massage into their training programme.


Stretching is anecdotally one of the most used recovery strategies, however very few, if any, studies report the benefit of stretching as a recovery strategy. A number of studies have concluded that there is no benefit to stretching as a recovery modality.

At the same time it is important to note that to date, there have not been any reports of detrimental effects on performance, associated with post exercise stretching.

Read Part One in the series here.


Martin John Trout
Martin Trout is an all round Adventurer, an accomplished ultra runner, mountaineer, ski mountaineering instructor and trail running coach at Endurance Training in Progress. He’s been living in Italy since the 1990’s.