Recovery is an interesting thing when it comes to training for any race goal. I have had my share of advice, have done a lot of experimenting and, ultimately have come to a system that makes my mind, body and coach happy. This was no easy task and has changed with my training load an advancing age! I will tell you this — nutrition and hydration have everything to do with it and you know when you’re properly recovering, believe me.
This week’s topic for Just Run with my girls is not an easy one, and in a perfect world where you are paid to run, you could recover like a boss. Let’s have some fun and compare what is ideal vs what is reality when it comes to run recovery.
IDEAL: Have a personal chef prepare all 3,495 recipes in Shalane Flanagan’s overly complicated cookbook. I purchased this book and have yet to cook one single thing from it mostly because when I see an ingredient like tahini butter, I’m out! However, this is a woman who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to fueling your body for optimal running, racing and recovery so if you have the talent and time, I recommend adding some of those recipes to your life.
REALITY: Let’s face it, most runners can barely complete their training for the day let alone worry about how nutritious their meals are while they are trying to please everyone at the table, most of whom are probably not training for a marathon. Ever. I find that breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day and to keep a balance of what you’re eating — carbs, proteins and healthy fats — as well as not overeating (even if you’re running 70 miles a week!) and keep heavily processed foods in check.
— > here’s a great article I just happen to be a part of, discussing what experienced triathletes and runners eat for breakfast!
IDEAL: Have the perfect electrolyte mix laid out for each and every training run as well as a recovery drink that sits well in your stomach, cuts inflammation, hydrates to perfection and is good for the environment.
REALITY: Grab a water bottle that has a top that fits, throw some electrolyte mix in and hope you don’t hate it then randomly try to drink water throughout the day until your pee is an acceptable shade of apple juice. Repeat.
I’m really good at hydrating on my rides and love Skratch Labs hydration mix but, the rest of the day is a crapshoot of hydration for me. I know I need to replenish but sometimes it seems so difficult. However, I always seem to find time to have that second cup of coffee. Weird.
IDEAL: Immediately after a training session have a team of physical therapists stretch and foam roll your body to perfection, get some dry needling if necessary, have a 2 hour massage and then take a 30 minute nap. Also, be in a stress free environment where you have no children, husband, partner or significant other and the weather is always partly sunny and 60 degrees with no wind.
REALITY: You have to run when you can and sometimes that means bad weather, wind and lots of hills, all of which add time to your recovery. Foam rolling is not always a good idea but it definitely helps if you’re not overly sensitive or you can feel a difference after doing it for several days. Stretching is usually always good after a run if you stretch the especially tight areas (read: hamstrings, glutes, calves) and do it on a regular basis. If you have the money, get monthly massages from someone who knows what they are doing and, if you have the time definitely take a nap! Sleep is one of the most important elements of proper recovery!
If all of that is completely useless and makes no sense, never fear! Below are what I’m sure are much more useful tips on how to recover like a pro, from the pros. Take it away ladies…
ANGELA | HAPPY FIT MAMA
NELLIE | BROOKLYN ACTIVE MAMA
LAURA | THIS RUNNER’S RECIPES
I hope you are now feeling empowered to fully recover after every run! Remember, there is a lot of trial and error and it may take some time to get things right. Most importantly, don’t listen to what everyone else is doing and instead focus on what actually is working for you! And always add water.
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How do you recover?
How do you make it worse?