Tag Archives: recovery

Long Run Recovery

9 May

I headed out last night for what I planned to be a very easy, nice 8 mile run.

Half a mile in, I threw in the towel.

My first reaction was that my new shoes are using different muscles in my calves (because they’re lower to the ground – the insole isn’t as tall?). My second reaction was that my legs have not yet fully recovered. So instead of pushing myself, I decided to walk home and do some easy cross-training. At this point, trying to get the miles in will do me more harm than good.

When I got home, I grabbed my bike and rode over to the library to pick up Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The audiobook case was so big that it almost didn’t fit in my Camelbak (sans water bottle). I was having a rough afternoon (for more reasons than not being able to run) and if that case hadn’t fit, I would’ve lost it. But I was able to cram it in and bike home for a whopping 4.5 miles roundtrip.

Then I convinced Travis to walk the dogs with me for another 1.15 miles before we ate mini pizzas and watched 2 episodes of NCIS.

Today, in my spare time, I’ve been researching the best ways to recover from long runs. Things I learned:

1. Eat right after your run, specifically something with protein and carbs. (source)

I already knew this, but since I’m not hungry ever after a long run, I usually shower, take an epsom salt bath, get dressed, stretch and THEN eat. If I do eat right after a run, it’s usually pure carbs, like a bagel with nothing on it. This could have something to do with my slow recovery so I bought some recovery drinks to take right after a long run to see if that helps.

2. Elevate your legs. (source)

According to Livestrong, elevating your legs can help to increase the blood flow and ease the discomfort of muscle tears from exercise. That’s pretty much the idea behind compression tights (which I do wear after long runs) but it can’t hurt to add something else to the mix.
3. Get a massage for tired and sore legs. (source)
The article reads, “According to Coach Jay Johnson, NikeRunning.com’s resident training expert and former track coach for the University of Colorado, a certified massage therapist can help your tired legs recover and get you back on track.” I have a Groupon for an hour-long massage that I’ve been meaning to use. I need to use this sooner than later.
And probably the best advice of all from this article on Livestrong:
“Even if a runner diligently follows her training program and boosts her recovery through proper diet and hydration, she may still be prone to injury or fatigue. When a runner is left feeling too sore or too tired to run, she should listen to her body and do the one thing marathon runners often dread the most — cut back on running. During a cutback week, a runner can trim her mileage by as much as 50 percent, using the extra time away from running to rest tired muscles, ice aching joints and get a good night’s rest. A runner also can keep her muscles fresh and loose during a cutback week by stretching or cross-training, whether by lifting weights, cycling, swimming or playing another sport.”
I also really liked what Hungry Runner Girl said on her blog the other day: “If you have to take some time off [from running], don’t worry, running will be there for you when you are back.”
With that mentality, I’m not pushing my legs to run when they don’t want to. Instead, I’m letting them do their thing. Obviously I hope they’ll do their thing sooner than later but I know in the long run, taking some time off is the best idea and will benefit me in the long run. 😉

Double Digits.

23 Jan

I must apologize for not choosing the 4-year Blogiversary Giveaway winner last week like I said I would. Sorry. I totally blanked.

But random.org has finally chosen one and the winner is Jen!

Jen – email me and let me know where you’d like to spend your $25! Congrats and thanks for reading.

Speaking of money, I just spent $108.95 on the Brooks Nightlife Speedy Bullet jacket (yes, the yellow one). I’m still not completely sold on it, so I made sure that I could return the jacket if I don’t like it. It’s just so much money! All I’m saying is that it better make me run faster.

Speaking of running (you see how nicely these all segue together?), I did my longest run since November 2010 on Saturday: 9.64 miles (but we’ll round it to 10).

I was looking forward to the run on Friday and even when I woke up Saturday morning. I checked the weather and determined that it would be warmest around 1 pm. So instead of running in the cold at sunrise, I had coffee with a friend, ran errands with Travis and then took a nap before heading out on my run around 2 pm.

By then, I wasn’t feeling the run as much. But at least it was a gorgeous day – I wore my 2XU compression tights and a t-shirt. Glorious. I took the pooches around the lake for 1.55 miles, dropped them off, and then did another 8.1 miles (I thought it would be 8.5 but I didn’t check the route before I left) in a loop that I had only done on my bike before. I figured it would be good to explore new territory (for sanity and safety) and I knew that these trails would be packed with people on such a nice day.

For the first 5 miles of that 8-mile loop, I was pretty indifferent about running. I wasn’t necessarily enjoying it, but I wasn’t hating it either.  But the last 3 miles, I felt pretty good. Half a mile from home, I thought, Another 3 miles wouldn’t be that bad.

Total was 9.64 miles in 1:49:42, an average pace of 11:22. (I didn’t start my phone app until 1 mile in to the 8 mile loop.)

After my run, I decided it was time for my first epsom salt bath – the ice bath alternative. I filled the tub up with warm water, added 2 cups of epsom salts (found at my local dollar store!), and read my book for 15 minutes while soaking in relief from sore muscles. I’ve never taken an ice bath so I can’t comment on how that feels afterward, but my legs felt pretty great after the epsom salt bath. Not nearly as sore as they have from other runs. So I’ll call that a success!

But I’ve noticed that when I use the iMapMyRun app on my phone to record my workout, it estimates the distance longer than if I manually map it out online. My Thursday run was recorded as 4.18 but mapped as 3.98. And this run was recorded as 8.1 but mapped as 7.88.  Obviously, I’d like to believe the recording. I asked Travis about it and he said that if anything, the GPS on my phone would record it too short, not too long. What do you think?