Just like the actual running component, recovery tools are just as important. Without rest and recovery, you won’t be able to run. For me, March through May are busy racing months, so it’s important to take rest seriously. On a personal level, I have a few big races in the next month (ranging from 1 mile to 13.1), so recovery is at the front of my mind.
There are plenty of recovery items from compression sleeves to foam rollers that look like Rollerblades….but what works and what doesn’t?
I’ve compiled some of my favorite items and tools for recovery. Like running shoes, what works for me might not work for you.
CEP Compression sleeves and tights
I’ve been wearing CEP compression sleeves for years. My calves are my problem area, and I need to stretch them often and promote blood flow as much as possible. Compression sleeves allow more blood to flow to calves and shins. Therefore, my calves recover faster. Compression sleeves can benefit anyone for faster recovery.
I frequently wear them during races as well as after a hard run or race.
I like CEP because they are medical grade compression. Medical grade compression means unlike many other compression brands, they have more compression. They aren’t simply an expensive tube sock to make you look cool.
I was recently sent a pair of CEP capris to try out, and I like them a lot. More often than not my quads get sore after a hard workout or race. The compression capris have the same compression as the sleeves but geared towards the quads and hamstrings.
I’ve worn them while running and I’ve also worn them to recover in. I don’t wear them as much as the sleeves, but I do wear them after hard workouts and races.
Be warned: the material for the capris can be see through in the booty. It’s extremely tight, and the material stretches. Like leggings, you can wear them solo if you make sure they fit appropriately.
Roll Recovery: R8
The Roll Recovery R8 is the most expensive piece of equipment I purchased but, to be honest; it ‘s worth it. It’s $120, which is the cost of an average pair of shoes. I haven’t found anything that can get as deep into the muscle. When I foam roll myself, I never get as deep as needed. Since the R8 clamps on to your leg, it goes as deep as possible. It takes the guess work away from you. While it’s expensive, I do think it’s better than any other foam roller I’ve tried. I do use my Roll Recovery R8 more than any other foam roller I’ve purchased…(read: I actually use my R8).
Epsom Salt Baths and Ice Baths
Admittedly, I’m not always as good at this as I would like. I prefer Epsom salt baths because I do feel relaxed afterwards. I just feel cold and miserable after ice baths.
Deep Tissue Massages:
Each month I try and get a deep tissue massage. I wrote an entire post dedicated to how they help me. Essentially, deep tissue massages release knots in my muscles too deep for me to do personally. Over time, they build up. I think that’s what keeps me from having a lot of muscle injuries (knock on wood).
Questions for you:
How do you recover from a hard workout?
Do you like to take baths?
The R8 roll recovery is amazing. I use that and a foam roller daily plus tons of hydration and stretching!
I think I originally saw the R8 long ago on your blog Kris.
Great post, thanks!
I try to make sure I eat something straight after a workout. That often helps. I’ve also not had trouble with my calves since I started using compression, I’m on Gococo Sportswear socks and (touch wood) not had problems. Having just become a qualified sports massage therapist, I’ll echo your thoughts on maintenance massages. Well worth the money.
Another great tip is to go out and run 3 miles at recovery pace the next morning. For me thats about 3 minutes a mile slower than 5k pace. It hardly seems worth going out the door but it helps your legs get ready for the next session.
Baths – I’m 6ft which makes baths awkward, there’s always a part of me sticking out the water getting cold. I’ve tried sitting in ice baths for the time it takes to drink a cup of tea and they’re hell, I’d much rather have an epsom salts bath, as hot as I can take it!
I just wrote a post about this the other day! I am in love with my compression socks and wear them for recovery religiously. I have two different foam rollers and a stick that I use to get the job done and it makes a world of difference. I also like to stretch and attempt to do yoga every once and awhile to get my muscles back in fighting shape.
Ditto on the R8 “leg smasher” money very well spent. In fact, I brought it to work this morning and plan to smash my legs as soon as I get a cup of coffee!
Gene! Are you running Shamrock? I hope you had a good R8 session.
I’ve thought about buying the Roll Recovery, as I tried it out at Fleet Feet a few times and really like it. I have some gift cards for there so I may purchase one for myself soon. That is a lot of money but honestly, I think it would pay off with preventing injury and it’s not much more than a sports massage costs (at least, it won’t be after I apply my gift cards 😉 ). Epsom salt baths are the best too- especially with the scented epsom salts. It’s so relaxing!
Really thinking about getting the R8 – so many friends love it. Thanks for the recommendations. I love Epsom salt baths as well.
You and I have very similar recovery methods! Love my CEPs, Epsom salts and ice baths. Need to get better about going to see my massage therapist on the regular, though. So good and so effective!
I always regret when I don’t make time for a deep tissue massage. That’s normally when I start to get those little aches and pains.
hahahahaha. I totally snorted at your “expensive tube socks” comment 😉
I also have an R8 and it’s amazing. I can tell I need to focus a LOT more on rolling because it tickles and hurts in some areas.
I’m getting a massage today and I know it’s going to be the best/worst massage of my whole life because I’m so tight and sore.
I tend to be fairly injury prone, so I am all about the recovery tools! I have never heard of the R8 actually and totally will be checking it out.
Let me know what you think if you try it Jessica!
My calves are my problem area as well, and compression socks have definitely been a godsend. Those and foam rolling are probably my two biggest ones. I curse like a sailor while I’m doing it, but I really have no idea what I’d do without my roller. Probably hobble a lot 😆
So, a little embarrassed to say this. But I pretty much ran for 5 or so years before I even considered that I might need to stretch or foam roll. Even after 2 marathons & several halfs. Whatever. It happened.
I had my first injury this summer with some super tight calves & have been wondering about compression socks since. I think I’ll finally just bite the bullet & buy a pair.
As for that R8 nonsense? I can barely handle foam rolling without making ridiculous I’m in pain faces, so I certainly don’t think I could hook myself up to that pain machine.
Anything calf related I always recommend the sleeves. What kind of injury did you have Jessie?
I really want to try that Roll recovery tool. Now that I’m running more miles, I think I need it! I use The Stick and a Foot Rubz ball every day on my calves, which always seem to get a ton of knots.
I’ve been thinking about the R8, it was good to read your review. Thanks!
I love my foam roller! I have one that has ridges and not just a solid foam tube-like roller. I’ve been curious about trying the R8 though.
I think the R8 is worth the price point. It gets deeps into your muscles.
I’ve become better about foam rolling after every run. It really makes a huge difference! I also try to get a sports massage once every month/training block.
I need to try out some compression sleeves because I have a lot of issues with my calves and shins. Ice baths always sounded miserable to me
I love cep sleeves they are my favorite! I didn’t know they made tights might have to check it out!
I may not run often but the amount of walking I do and just working out in general leads me to sore calves sometimes. I think I need to look into purchasing some sort of compression socks or tights. I have a foam roller but that R8 tool sounds amazing. I love taking hot salt baths, just did the other night and it felt great. I have also been getting monthly massages since November but next week is my last one for that because my favorite masseuse left and I felt like she was better at really getting deep.
I recommend compressive sleeves/socks for people who are on their feet a lot too. We actually have a lot of teachers and nurses who like to use them as well.
I need to try the R8 – I keep hearing great things about it and it is time to just break down and get it. I am good about foam rolling, but I think it would help in the places that I wuss out and don’t put enough pressure on 🙂 Deep tissues massages have helped me so much. I schedule them on a regular basis now so I don’t get behind and get crazy sore like I used to!
I love deep tissue massages, foam rolling, stretching and salt baths (when I make time for them). Have you ever tried Cupping Therapy? I tried it yesterday and wrote about it on my blog today. It is pretty interesting and is supposed to increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
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