After crash-training, and then running an ultramarathon, working long hours, not sleeping enough, not resting from training, standing on our feet for three days straight, then running a half marathon, and being on the edge of an injury, we may have finally learned our lesson: race recovery and proper rest is really, actually important!
Surely you're the typical athletic type, like us -- overachieving, always striving to be better, a "type A" personality, always competing with ourselves, thinking we can do more, and better, and faster. It's common and it's what makes us f'ing awes
ome human beings. But sometimes we have tough lessons to learn. Like many of our friends (and ourselves, and surely you at one time) who are currently injured, or have been injured in the past. Often it takes something like a muscle tear, or plantar fasciitis (the worst) or a stress fracture (okay, maybe that's the worst) to wake us up and slow ourselves down a bit. But the key is to try to stay healthy, injury free and not push ourselves too much!
So, in the spirt of the Three R's: Recovery, Rest, Relaxation, this post will be quick and to the point. (Need to rest).
Here are 7 Quick Race Recovery Hacks, for people like us who push it too far, too quick, and need quick, simple "cures":
Deep Tissue Massage: Today we broke down and had to get a deep tissue massage. Not sure if you've had a deep tissue massage before, but it's not a normal massage -- there is NOTHING relaxing about it! (But it works). We had pains that hadn't gone away in weeks, and knew all the foam rolling (rumble roller!) and yoga and stretching in the world just wouldn't do it.
Potassium & Electrolytes: Our massage therapist, "E", who's not only really, really amazing but super affordable (massage information here, he works at Sal Anthony's Movement Salon) pointed out one simple thing: after these big races, did we drink enough water and have enough electrolytes? Water yes, electrolytes, probably not. He highly recommends coconut water -- large quantities of it, mostly because of the potassium and nutrients. Of course, bananas and healthy fruits and veggies help too. (Try our our Super Easy Running Recovery Smoothie). Duh, we know healthy eating helps recovery. But do we always do it? No. We had beer instead. (Doh!)
- Epsom Salt Baths: Another one he mentioned, soaking in Epsom Salt baths. Well, we do here and there, but I guess not enough after the big race. And, yes, for all you skeptics everyone we ask says the baths really do work. At the least, they feel nice.
Cold Shower, (Un)happy Ending: One more trick he suggested: can't bear ice baths (no, never!)? Finish off all your hot baths and showers with a minute under the freezing cold shower. Not only does it help recovery, it helps blood flow, immune system, increases oxygen intake, and gives you energy. Fiiiiiiiine, we'll try it.
L-Glutamine: If you haven't discovered the power of amino acids for racing and recovery, we suggest you do. L-Glutamine is great, it's like magic. Although all the Glutamine in the world didn't insta-recover us...it's called a "supplement" for a reason. Here another handy list of the best Supplements and Nutrition for Runners.
Sleep: This is a tough one, especially for those of us who work a lot. But, after these big races, sleep! The body repairs itself during those important 8 hours, so actually take them. (Our average is 6-6.5 hours. Grrr.) For real, listen to the body, go to bed early, sleep in without an alarm. Listen to Ariana and sleep.
Chill the #@*! Out: We live in a crazy city where everyone's always busy, going out, doing things, so much going on. Embrace the FOMO. Be okay with chilling out at home with your feet up and going to bed when most NYC'ers go out. It's okay, the parties never end, there will always be more.
(For the record, results of the ECSNY Bear Mountain 50K crash training? PR'd by 19 minutes, finished 28 of 117 (gender); 7th of 27 AG. Not terrible!)
We are not doctors, just runner's who've been doing this a while and been injured before. (If you need a running doctor or physical therapist in NYC who works with runners, check out our list here). Alas, we have not been injured in many years! So, we kinda might know something about race recovery. As always, we also highly recommend "Chi Running" for great running training and injury prevention.
We know there are many more ways to recover to add to this list, but we're going to go take an epsom salt bath and sleep more than 6 hours. Then we're going to take the long weekend to relax and recover, maybe do some yoga and hike. But, little running. Because, of course, the following week starts training for another trail race in July. This time, we're not planning to crash train, just proper train, and proper recovery.
Do you have any race or running recovery hacks not listed here? How do you recover after a marathon or big race? Please comment below and let us know, we'd love more!
Happy Chilling Out.