Running Recovery

As you guys know and have probably listened to me complain about on all my social media feeds the last couple of weeks…I have not been recovering appropriately.  Maybe appropriately is not the word I am looking for, but ever since my Shamrock half I’ve had less than stellar runs.  Not awful and not injury prone, just not that I feel that awesome.  To clear the air, not every run should be awesome but 100% of your runs should not feel bad.  It didn’t really count in Texas because my mind was elsewhere and I wasn’t really focused on feeling like crap.

Oh yeah I remember that race that has caused me 3 weeks of sub par runs...
Oh yeah I remember that race that has caused me 3 weeks of sub par runs…still don’t regret it.

That’s that and I don’t regret anything I’ve done post running that race.  I have taken this week to really focus on my recovery efforts though and I’m seeing the results of better and more quality runs (thank the high heavens because running when you feel awful and it’s cold…well that is not enjoyable).

What have I been doing?

  1. Dedicating half an hour EVERY DAY this week to stretching, foam rolling and more stretching.  I’m sure if you had a lot of friends or blogs to read you might not have the time to dedicate half an hour but seeing as I don’t have either…I have time to dedicate to stretch.  I also like to feel good so I make the time anyways.
  2. Upping my protein.  My muscles need some protein to recover…not just some but more then I was getting…I’ve added about 50 grams of protein extra this week.  Maybe it’s just a placebo effect but either way it seems to be working.  I have been having 25 grams of protein (greek yogurt or eggs) after all my runs.  Even though I’m not hungry after my run…I still have it.   I don’t have a lot of knowledge of this and don’t claim to…I’m just telling you what seems to be working for me.
  3. Sleep.  I’ve been forcing myself into bed.  I am the first to admit I don’t think I’ve been getting quality sleep lately.  Not sure why, but I just haven’t been sleeping the greatest latest but either way I still crawl into bed early.
  4. Taking easy runs.  I haven’t forced myself to run faster (actually that isn’t anything new either).  I don’t need too.  I’ve cut out some speed workouts and just kind of taken it from there.  If I want to run at a 9 minute pace…so be it…if I want to run an 8 minute pace…fine.  Doesn’t bother me at all.  I really could care less about pace ever…unless it’s a goal race.

And that is really it as far as changes go.  It seems silly that I wasn’t making these before but being on vacation and having a lot at work, I didn’t really have the time to think ahead (or that’s what I’m justifying it with).  Hopefully I’ll continue to recover.

Question for you: How do you recover from hard workouts? Any tips?

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  1. Can we have a “crappy workouts” club? We can be co-presidents. Meetings will involve foam rolling.

  2. When I started running early last year and was building up to a 5k I had little trouble recovering. When I started to run 4 or 5 miles I would get a migraine EVERY time. I thought it was dehydration so I chugged coconut water like it was a competition to drink the most. Then someone gave me a protein shake to try after a 5 mile run and no migraine. Needless to say I’m big on the protein train after every run longer than 4 miles. I use a powder because I’m too lazy to make eggs and I’ve never liked Greek yogurt, or yogurt in general, unless its frozen yogurt with lots of bad stuff in it. Since I’ve started crossfit some trainers recommended L-glutamine to help with recovery, I bought some but have been too lazy to try it yet.

    1. I’ve never tried glutamine but I’ve heard it’s really good too. I know a lot of weightlifters that use it so maybe I’ll try it. I don’t have any issue saying that I use protein powder after runs. I like Greek yogurt but protein powder is equally as fine.

  3. Sleep is so important. If I don’t get more than 8 hours a night EVERY night than I start to feel it a few weeks later. Consistency is key.

    I love that picture of you!

  4. I need to focus more of stretching and such. It didn’t seem to be helping so I got lazy, but I shouldn’t have. I went to get my probs checked out and it’s not PF, it’s actually just my Achilles and due to my calves. Gahhh c’mon calves, loosen up!

    1. Calf sleeves all the way. I hope they loosen up and that gets taken care of. I still think you should do the run-swim-run in VA Beach this summer.

  5. I feel like I forget about the sleep component of running recovery sometimes. It makes such a big difference but I end up somehow convincing myself I don’t have time to sleep even though that’s more important than the run itself at times. I’m glad you’re taking measures to get yourself feeling good post-racing again so you’re ready to rock some other races coming up in the next few weeks.

  6. I’m glad your sleeping and stretching and getting lots of protein, but I know what will make you feel better (and hopefully me too)…..a 20 mile run together. Yup that should do the trick… I hope. I’m in a damn run funk!

  7. Good points, need to do fund and do what works for you. Gotta say I’m not a big stretching fan and feel it’s a little overrated but I do maybe a few minutes here and there after a run or with hot water pounding on back or calves in shower. Never rolled a foam. Sleep is huge. Carbs + protein 4-1 mix (endurox r4, Gu brew, whatever) after every hard or long workout. Then eggsies for sure!! Being fueled before and during hard long sessions with carbs. And on easy days run “embarrassingly” slow. Really. The slower the better, but with good form. Plus, macro cycles of easy weeks, months, season…

    1. I have super tight calves from hill work. I’m not one to just go out and stretch randomly and all the time. I think that there is such a thing as overstretching. Anyways-my easy runs are done close to 2 minutes per mile slower then my half marathon pace and I have no issues with that.

  8. I’m the same way with getting protein after any workout. I used to always want coffee so now I have my coffee along with a scoop of protein powder. I must admit, it’s pretty dang delicious and it’s easy on my tummy. It’s annoying but as long as I get SOME form of protein in my stomach it’s a good thing. I hope recovery keeps going well for you, although it seems to be taking forever it’s far better than an injury. Maybe your body just needs a complete break from running for a few days? Did you try ONLY cross training?

    1. I tried coffee and protein powder and didn’t care for it as much as I thought I would be.

      It was a hard race so I’m not surprised it is taken that long and running up mountains really doesn’t improve/help recovery LOL.

      1. Honestly, I hated it before but I found the perfect way to make it and it only works well with Gold Standard Whey. Every other protein I tried gets gritty and weird. Plus, you have to get it at the right temp so it can mix in. It’s a huge science experiment. Thankfully, my keurig doesn’t brew too hot so it’s perfect everytime.

      2. Yeah the GS mixes in but leaves some fluffy things at the top which soak of the coffee and once those are gone, the rest is just coffee. I like the things at the top though, it’s almost like an added bonus. haha

  9. I’ve been horrible about eating enough protein lately- and I know it. My issue is that I don’t eat dairy or most meat so I’m just finding it hard to come up with good protein sources that aren’t quinoa or almond butter…

  10. Ah foam rolling SO key. I actually like it even though its semi painful. I try to stretch but I’m not so great at it lol. I’m not very into yoga either … Probably should try more. I really like to have some protein after long runs. I also need to sleep more too!

  11. Sleep, sleep, sleep. And stretching. So crucial to recovery – I noticed such a huge difference back in 2010 when I was actually getting over four consecutive hours of sleep in a night (unheard of for me) consistently. No oversleeping or insomnia – I’d love to go back to those days!


  12. Gahh I really hope that relaxing a bit helps you recover better lady!
    I am incredibly sore from an army PT test I took yesterday. This morning I spent some quality time stretching and foam rolling. I also really like hot baths with epsom salts-they may not help but they sure are relaxing 🙂

    I really admire your care-free approach with pace!

    1. I was traveling, I had a lot going on in that recovery wasn’t really at the forefront of my mind…certainly fine I suppose. Care free has kept me injury free (knock on wood)!

  13. As you know, I ran a half on Saturday. I have only run once since then … for 10 minutes haha. I’m trying out this one theory I have heard: take as many days off/easy days as the distance you raced. So 13 miles = 13 days off or easy. I’m sure I’ll run before 13 days, but I’m taking it easy! Good idea with upping the protein too!

    1. YES, I normally play by that rule but t was harder with running with Tim. (He doesn’t pressure me to run faster or anything) he is just a faster dude LOL. Add him on dailymile if you want. 😉

  14. I do the things you listed when I recover from a tough workout. The toughest one that I had to recover from was during after my very first Half Marathon. My body was not used to the distance yet so I had to do a lot of stretching and foam rolling. I was sore for a full week. KT tapes were my saviour! 🙂

  15. When my body is not recovering, most of the time it is lack of sleep.

    I track a bunch of random numbers throughout the year… one of them being resting heart rate. After races or hard runs, I make sure my resting heart rate gets back into a certain range before attempting any fast workouts. If it still does not go down after a few days, I stop running and just cross train until it does. Helps keep myself in-check. Just an idea:)

  16. I always say I am going to foam roll at least 5 out of 7 days per week… this never seems to happen. It’s time to cut the crap and at least stretch every day I can and foam roll somewhere in there too. No I am not really running right now, but anyone’s legs can benefit from a bit of TLC… well after the foam roll session is done, ya know ya know. That’s great you are listening to what your hot bod needs and making some temporary adjustments. Way to be, especially to keep your kick-ass pace going!

  17. Glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery, friend. (I’m sure that will be me next week.) Honestly, the first thing that pops in my head when talking about recovery is chocolate milk–food/drink, big surprise. 😉 After races, it’s my go-to beverage. Sure it tastes like a treat, but it also has all the nutrition stuff we need like carbs and protein.

  18. Sorry to hear that your runs haven’t been stellar lately, but you seem to have some great ideas to recovering. Curious about sleeping, as I think I’ve commented on this before, but how many hours do you aim for a night? I normally get about 7-9 depending on the day. Everyone always says that you can tell when you get a good sleep in because you feel well rested… Maybe I need to experiment with more? Haha. I always waked up dead to the world no matter how long I sleep!

    1. I had a really good race and traveling the next week took it out of me. I aim for the same amount. I don’t really run unless I’ve gotten that amount of sleep though. I’m not one who is able to workout on little sleep and I don’t try to be.

  19. It makes me feel good to know that the things that I’m doing to help my legs recover are the same as the things that others are doing to help their legs recover. I could have written this exact same list to describe my week. (Hydration is big for me too — flush all of the crap that I’m stretching out of my muscles out of my body.)
    And after this week is over and our legs feel better — bring on the fun stuff. Are you excited? I’m excited. 🙂

  20. I love a protein smoothie after a hard workout, but I think I just like the taste 😉 Not sure if it’s actually doing anything for me, haha

  21. SLEEEP. Yes, I love that one. Actually I could get behind all these measures to ensure better recovery. I think its great that you are setting time aside to take precautionary measures, I’m sure it will eventually pay off 🙂

  22. I am just sorry it is taking this long to recover! It could also be the changed environment of Texas right after and then back to cold Oswego that has got you off kilter.

    The biggest thing that caught me in this post was that you said you don’t know a lot about the protein thing but are doing what is working for you… Um that means you know more than you think you do. No one is the same and that is what makes nutrition so complicated! What works for one person doesn’t work for another person. Pro athletes go through dozens of nutrition plans before their dietitian and them find what works for them 😉

  23. Really sucks about not enjoying your runs and feeling less than optimum. It’s true that every run doesn’t leave me bouncing around with happiness, but a good fair few leave me pretty satisfied so to not feel that must be annoying 🙁 I think you’ve got a really good plan though. And it only stresses more to me that I need to do more stretching and foam rolling…gah.

  24. You nailed all my usual tips too- cleaner eating, more stretching and foam rolling, compression, and easier runs. Hope they bounce back quickly! Sometimes I enjoy the recovery phase and the easy, carefree runs!

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