On Wednesday I mentioned a few things to do right after the goal race, and figured I would take it a step further in a different direction. Here are a few ways to help you recover from a tough workout, your long run, or another road race.
Ice Baths or Epsom Salt Baths
Depending on who you talk to, ice baths and epsom salt baths are usually mentioned. I personally am a fan of the ice bath. It helps to reduce inflammation and makes it so my joints and muscles do not hurt nearly as much after hours of pounding. Plus, when I ran for UCF, we were required to hop in the whirlpool ice tub after every practice. Now, I really only take them after long runs, but would really benefit taking them after speed workouts too. I usually just don’t schedule in enough time for mid week ice baths after workouts.
If I could pick only one item to help me recover, compression sleeves would be my choice. I wear them both during and after runs any longer than 8 miles (or 60 minutes). Compression of the lower leg increases blood circulation, which in turn, speeds up recovery. They can easily be worn underneath pants no matter where you are – at work, on a plane, or just hanging out around the house. Now, I wear them pretty frequently when my legs are sore or bothering me because of the pregnancy. Anything that speeds up circulation is a-ok with me. I tend to like the sleeves better than the socks because a) I am picky with the socks I wear and b) you can wear them post run with flip flops. I do live in Florida after all.
I am a big fan of Biofreeze post marathon. I am not a fan of taking any type of pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol, but I will use Biofreeze and some other footcare products online. It is a cold therapy pain relief lotion. Now it comes in a spray, which is so so awesome! The less lotion I have to put on my hands, the better, especially when it has that cooling effect.
This is definitely a love to hate type of product. It hurts so bad when I use it, but I know how beneficial it is when I am done. If you can make a date with your foam roller every day, you won’t be sorry. It really only take 5-10 minutes. For anyone with IT or glute issues, a foam roller is always my first recommendation to give a try. It is pretty much like getting a deep tissue massage, breaking down the big knots in your muscles that you just can’t get to otherwise.
This is key, although it is sometimes the most difficult thing to do. Try to get in a little nap or some solid rest time after tough workouts or long runs. Your body recovers extremely well while sleeping, or even if you are just sitting while watching a movie with your feet up. If you can schedule a long run on a day you don’t have to be on your feet for the rest of the day, then do it. I’m not saying you should be completely sedentary, but rest is a great thing to take advantage of.