Recovery

Ten days ago I ran Phoenix.  I told myself I would give 10-14 days before beginning to run again.  This was before I knew I would have issues with my hip and hamstring.

Phoenix marathon finish

I feel like my recovery has been going well.  I’ve also actively been working to figure out what went wrong with my hamstring and hip.  I can divide my race recovery into two categories:

  1. Rest and Recover my Injury (Right now it looks like I have a hip and hamstring injury)
  2. Normal recovery from the marathon

I have gotten a deep tissue massage and gone to a chiropractor.  Since my hamstring and hip are my primary concern, I’ll talk more about those.   So far I’ve gotten:

  • Deep Tissue Massage (and another one today)
  • Chiropractor appointment. She adjusted my hip and said it was out of line. She was able to figure out every point in my hip, butt and hamstring (as well as IT band) that hurt so I am hoping that solved most of the problem. While I don’t feel better yet, I’m hoping the muscles will start to get oxygen and feel better.
  • I’ve taken multiple Epsom salt baths as well as foam rolled, etc. (usual race recovery stuff).

Honestly so far my issues are not getting much better.  I wanted to wait 2 full weeks before going to the doctor because of the toll a marathon takes on your body.  The first thing a doctor would say is to rest and that is what I’m doing.  I have a suspicion the problem could be adhesions in the piraformis, sciatic nerve issues or misalignment in the hips.  I think my problem stems from the hips and is translated down into the hamstring.

The rest of my body:

My calves always get the tightest from running and races and this was no exception.  The deep tissue massage is reducing a lot of normal tightness. With the exception of my injury, the rest of my body is healing well. 

I’m not as sore as NYCM but that comes from an easier race course with less hills (and it was my second marathon).  My quads were extremely tight after NYCM but after Phoenix, I didn’t have that same quad tightness.

Something I wanted to make note of is that I do believe I am recovering much quicker because I don’t think I ran my true potential that day.  I believe an extra 10 seconds (due to my injury) per mile for the last few caused my muscles not to work as hard.  Combined with a net downhill race course, I believe that has caused an increase in recovery. I am still very surprised with how fast I am recovering.

For me I like to do all of the following to recover the fastest from a big race (injured or not):

  • Deep Tissue Massage within the week (always worth it to me)
  • Epsom salt bath
  • Take time off of running…my goal race is done…there is no need to jump directly back into training (this helps both mentally and physically)
  • Stretch, etc

So where does this leave me for running?

I used the term running, not training, because I’m not training for anything.  I think it’s important to take rest after big races and not immediately look for another race to dive into.  Obviously I am forced to take rest because I am injured right now regardless.

I’ve gone to the gym twice and done light cross training.  It felt fine to do that (my hamstring and hip didn’t feel any worse).   It felt nice to relax and get a little bit of sweat in.  I’ll continue to rest, relax and get to the bottom of my injury (bottom being a funny pun since occasionally my pain is in my bottom).  I don’t plan to run until my problem is solved.

Questions for you:

How do you recover after a big race (marathon or not)?

Have you ever been to a chiropractor or gotten a deep tissue massage?