By Golda Smith
This past weekend I accomplished a goal I set a little more than 16 weeks ago. My goal was to train for and complete a half marathon in under two hours. Sounds simple enough and although I had been running for a few years, it had been a while since I actually put money down to register myself to be toured…I mean challenged with hills and the promise of nice looking hardware at the finish line.
So I decided that I would enter the Rock N Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon. It was the perfect race because it was literally in my backyard so I had absolutely no excuse. My workouts were set and I had been faithfully getting my training runs in. I was also still doing my strength training AND yoga, so I was putting my mind and body under a lot of stress.
Many people underestimate the need to plan the recovery process; however, it is just as important as the training itself. As a matter of fact, recover should be integrated into your training so that you can train better and eventually perform at your best when it is competition time. Today I will share with you my 5 tips to a speedy recovery after race day and really, after any heavy activity.
My first tip is to properly refuel as soon as you can. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I headed for the UPS truck that carried my check in bag. Inside my bag was my post workout shake. All I needed to do was mix it with water, shake and drink. Your muscles want to be feed and they want to be feed as quickly as possible with some nutrient dense food.
Second tip is to stretch. Do you regularly incorporate pre and post workout stretching into your training? If you don’t, you really should. Stretching keeps your muscles and joints flexible and decreases your chance of injury. The last thing you should do after just completing a long run is stop moving so roll out your yoga mat and get your om going.
My third tip is to use a foam roller to work out those knots. Yes, I know that foam rolling isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing; however, it is quite effective in helping the fibrous layers of connective tissue that surround your muscles to relax. When those muscles (fascia) relax, you have better mobility.
Fourth tip…get some rest. Do not under estimate the power of proper rest. Actually, proper rest is something to make sure you’re doing as often as possible. Turn off your electronic gadgets, put on some comfy clothes, make your room dark and comfortable, close your eyes and sleep.
My fifth tip is one of my favorites and it is to take a bath. Fill your tub with warm water and add a cup of Epsom salt and if you have essential oils then by all means do add a few drops. Some of my favorite essential oils to add to my bath salt after a hard workout are peppermint and or eucalyptus or lavender. To enhance the vibe, I’ll even light a candle and maybe play so light music.
This is not an exhaustive list at all. I know some people advocate taking an ice bath but ice baths aren’t my thing. Now, I would love to hear what your post run recovery regime consists of. Please do share in the comments below.