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Techniques to Help Recover Faster:

Techniques to Help Recover Faster:

Last week was my longest half marathon in a while and I’ve been spending a lot more time on recovery.  Plus, as I continue to build mileage, I’ve been focusing more on recovery too.  Most people know but I’m injury prone, so I can’t get away with not focusing on recovery.  At this point, I don’t even try too.

Someone once told me that days off save seasons and I think it’s some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten.  Thinking out loud, now I apply them every time I have an injury scare.  Believe me, I’ve gone to my PT convinced I have a stress fracture, only for him to say…no your leg is just tight.

Here are a Few Techniques to Help Recover Faster:

Stretching:

We all know you should but how many people actually stretch after runs or night.  Probably not many of us.

Graston/ART:

I’m a big fan of ART.  It flushes out acid from your legs and muscles quicker and you recover faster.  I’ve always recovered faster when I opted to get a deep tissue massage or ART.  If you are local, I highly recommend Dr. Kemenosh and his staff (and no they aren’t paying me to tell you that).  They have helped me in multiple situations from fixing my hip/piriformis after my last marathon to loosening up my calves, and even feet.

Upping my Protein:

I’m not saying I have steak every meal but adding extra protein: including more eggs, greek yogurt, and lean meat has helped muscles recover faster.  I’m not a nutritionist or dietician and don’t claim to be, I’ve just found it’s been working.

Sleep:

This is an obvious one, but more sleep allows the muscles to repair. We know sleep is important, but there are so many distractions that make it difficult to get to bed. I try and log off the internet around 9 pm.  Sometimes I read, sometimes I go straight to bed.

Rest and Easy Runs:

This week most of my easy runs have been in the 9-10 minute pace which is fine.  There is no point in racing training runs, that is when injuries are caused.  If you struggle with not being able to run slower, I highly recommend leaving the watch at home.

Recovery from anything, whether it’s a race or hard training cycle takes time.  Just like training, there is no secret that does it all at once.

Related Posts:

Quick Core Ideas for Runners

Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury

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

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Tools to Recover from Workouts

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?

Tools to recover from workouts

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.

Throwback to a half in 2013

Throwback to a half in 2013 with my CEP sleeves

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.

Recently I went crazy with pink

Recently I went crazy with pink

CEP Tights:

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.

cep compression capris

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).

Roll8

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? 

Training: Cut Back Week

Looking back at my schedule I needed a recovery week.  It worked out well because honestly my body was exhausted from the RNR Half Marathon.  This week I have been eating a slice of humble pie because it takes far more time to recover from half marathons then 5ks. With the exception of todays raceI ran all of my runs easy.  To be honest I missed the track!  It’s funny how my interests and focus with running has changed.

Gone are the days where I slog easy for every run.   

This was essentially one of those easy weeks and I hated it!  An easier week was necessary because the half marathon broke my body down pretty hard.

I rested Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I ran easy.  I didn’t concern myself with time or pace.

I also got a deep tissue massage on Tuesday which really seemed to help my legs.  It was extremely painful because my calves were so tight but it was exactly what I needed.  By Friday I felt a lot better.

On Saturday I worked a local high school race “The Cherokee Challenge”.  Over 3500 kids competed and it was a lot of fun to see some of the kids I help and talk too “in their running zone”.  It was exhausting just watching.

On Sunday (today) I did decide to run the “Run the Vineyards” 10k. The course itself went through both Peach and Grape orchards. It was absolutely beautiful and was similar to a cross country or trail race. There were a few pavement areas but it was mostly around the Vineyards and grass. It was a nice change of terrain. I haven’t raced on cross country or trails since the Run for the Hill of it 5 Mile race.  I ran a 40:55 and placed second female overall!  Honestly that would have been a fast race for me if it was all road but it was almost all cross country.  It definitely motivated me and I’ll have a recap soon.

I don’t have a lot to report since recovery miles are boring. They were easy and uneventful. The weather was hot and humid so I was glad to take my recovery week this week as well.

Next week:

I’ll be hopefully getting back into routine and getting a track workout in. I miss track!

Questions for you:

How long do you take to recover from half marathons?

When I race them more frequently I recover faster…imagine that!

What is your favorite type of run to do (track, tempo, LSD (long slow distance)?

For me it used to be LSD but I think it might be the track right now!

Training: Racing and Recovery

I’ve been logging a lot of speed work and high mileage lately.  It is no wonder why my legs have felt fatigued.  I haven’t had a recovery week in a while. This week I nixed my trip to the track and did easy runs with the exception of a 5k.

I woke up on Monday feeling tired and sore.  My legs felt the last two weeks of training.  I knew immediately it was time to focus on a recovery week.  Plus, we were traveling to see my in-laws so it made sense.

Monday: OFF + Deep Tissue Massage
Tuesday: 10 mile run with my father in law and Tim
Wednesday: 10 mile run with my father in law and Tim
Thursday: 1 hour AMT
Friday: 10 mile run
Saturday: 5k: 20:08
Sunday: 14 miles
 Total:  54

After waking up on Monday with sore legs, I booked a deep tissue massage instead of running.  I was lucky they had same day appointments.  It was a different women than I usually go too but she did a great job. My IT band and calves were sore and I needed someone to loosen those up.  I felt sore most of the week but have the deep tissue massage helped to loosen everything up.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I ran with my husband and father in law.  PA is much hillier than I’m used too but I enjoyed the change of terrain.  We ran easy and enjoyed the sights.  There was nothing too interesting about the runs but great conversation.

PA

PA

I took Thursday off from running as well.  I decided to cross train on the AMT.  I haven’t been as good about cross training as I would like. When I take two days off from running I try to cross train one of the days…however if I take one day off from running, I like to take complete rest instead!

Saturday was a fun race. We have been having a really busy week at work so I spent about 20 hours on my feet between Thursday and Friday.  My legs were definitely fatigued from that too.  I have a huge respect for waitresses!  That being said, we enjoyed racing down in Delaware again. My husband was fast enough to win a year supply of Panera bread!  I’m happy with how the race went for me despite being tired.

me run lululemon sports bra

Thoughts:

I have to say I missed the track but I know this was a better idea for me to take an extra day off! I’ll be back next week when my body is more recovered! While I took an extra day off from running, I have been on my feet a lot. That definitely played a role in running.

Next week:

I’ll have a much easier week so I’ll be able to get back into training. This week made me realize how many outside factors can affect your running. I plan to focus more on sleep and hopefully get back to the track!

Questions for you:

What is the coolest race award you have won?

What outside factors affect your personal running?

 

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?

Training with No Gravity Part 2

A few people asked me to write a bit more about my experience with the Alter G.  I’ve run on it 5 times now (so I’m not any sort of expert).  I do know I have not regretted a single run.  I haven’t felt pain during or after run, so I’m honestly glad I’ve started using it.  I actually think my recovery is starting to go really well (but I also feel extremely jaded because my last run was at 77% body weight).

Before last week, I had heard about an Alter G treadmill but never used it for myself.  I had seen it downstairs but never used it.  I had seen one of my elite coworkers use it but seeing someone run 5 min miles like no big deal….well you don’t stop to chat while they are doing workouts.

I honestly hadn’t even done that much research about it prior to last week. I was letting an extremely useful training tool pass by me.  After my doctor said I could use the alter G, I did more research and decided to give it a go.

I knew we had one at Haddonfield Running Company to rent and use.  Finding one would have probably been the hardest hurdle.  Life granted me a ray on sunshine though.

So last week I went in to do my 20 minutes.  I knew nothing and once again I had done very little research until about an hour prior.  70% seemed to be the optimal starting point in beginning to run post stress fracture.

You wear a pair of party pants that essentially zip you into the machine.  As it calibrates, you stand completely still with you arms crossed.  It’s a lot easier said then done.   The chamber where you will run fills with air.  The gravity almost feels as if it’s lifting you off the ground. It’s a strange and indescribable feeling. I felt like I was running in the pool but with no resistance.

alter G treadmill pantsSo with that I ran for 20 minutes at 6.5 pace and 70% body weight.  I didn’t listen to music because I wanted to be hyper aware of my foot.  During the run it felt as if there was no pain or pressure on it.  It felt fine.  I honestly wasn’t surprised since it was putting very little pressure on my foot.

After I made it through my 20 minutes completely pain free, it was more the afterwords I was worried about. The next few minutes I felt fine. I chatted with my coworkers. I drove home and felt fine afterwords. I haven’t had any extra aches, pains or problems since adding these Alter G runs. I’ve started to slowly up my body weight use from 70% body weight to 77%. My plan is to keep slowly upping my body weight until I feel good running at 95%, then I will try running outdoors.

Alter G Treadmill

(I’m not being payed to be injured and review an Alter G)

Questions for you:
Have you tried an Alter G?
How do you come back post injury?

 

Training With No Gravity

This could be my most exciting training post ever. It’s not many weeks you get to use a multithousand dollar piece of equipment.  Does it make me instafast?

At the beginning of last week I had my foot check up.  At my previous foot check up a few weeks ago, my doctor said “your foot is healing really well.  You are at the point that you can try running 1 mile to see how it feels.  Just one mile and go by pain”.  So I did that and the next day I truly felt like I had set myself back in another week or two in recovery.  So after my doctor said I could run on the alter G and “see how it goes”, I felt very indifferent.  Would set me back again? Am I too cautious? I had also gotten a second opinion from another doctor who said the Alter G wouldn’t hurt.

Two doctors cleared me to run a little bit and I still wasn’t excited? That makes complete sense…When I was cleared a few weeks ago, I tried running one mile and it only ended in dramatic heartbreak. I didn’t feel as if I had made the right progress. While I felt good during my run, I did not feel great after my run. I only felt as if I had made my entire situation worse.  That was close to three weeks ago and I decided to give the alter G a shot.  So this time (despite not even full out running) I was very hesitant.

After my doctors appointment, I decided to go give the Alter G a shot.  I knew i wouldn’t gain this much momentum to get out to Haddonfield very often. I had to take full advantage! I will be honest, I got there a bit nervous and not knowing what to expect. I’m (very) lucky to work at Haddonfield Running Co, which has an Alter G available to rent and use.

Alter G Treadmill

So with that I put on the jazzy zipper pants and I was zipped into place. I was told to keep my feet firm on the ground. I can stand straight (or so I thought). My legs were nearly reduced to nothing. I ran for 20 minutes with 70% body weight. My biggest worry was my foot would hurt post run. I didn’t think it would hurt during the run because it’s such a reduced pressure on your foot.

After I was done it was time to come back into real life with gravity. You don’t realize how heavy your butt is until you come back into gravity and everything comes back into true weight. I thought I had a butt that rivaled Nikki Minaj after I was done…but sadly I was just back to normal.

The big question is: how am I feeling now? Honestly I feel okay. I don’t feel like I put any extra pressure on my foot and by the nature of the alter G, I didn’t put much pressure on my foot. I will continue to use the alter G for another week or two.  I do realize that I’m only running at 70-77% of my body weight right now.  It’s very hard to fathom an alter G because you truly are leaving “real life”.  If I tried to run on a regular treadmill the same amount of time, I would be posting about how I rebroke my foot.  I really hope this is the plateau in my injury that I’ve finally broken out of. I’m ready to run. I’m hungry to run outside again. It’s hard to say how I’m really feeling because I’m running with less weight.

As far as pain while I’m walking around.  I am aware of an ache but not in pain if that makes sense. I’m in no pain and it feels like a dull ache, I’m hyper aware of because I know my injury history.

Workouts-

Monday: 1 Hour AMT
Tuesday: 20 minutes Alter G at 70% body weight
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 24 minutes Alter G at 70% body weight
Friday: 30 minutes Alter G at 75% body weight
Saturday:  Rest
Sunday:  30 minutes Alter G at 77% body weight

So that wraps up another week.  If you have questions about the Alter G, feel free to ask.  It’s certainly new to me and something I hope to incorporate more of.

Questions for you:

Have you ever used an alter G?

What was your best/favorite workout this week? 

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