Recovery Doesn’t Have to Keep You Down

Posted on November 22, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Courtesy 2milliondogsblog.wordpress.com

Courtesy 2milliondogsblog.wordpress.com

It’s been 3 years since I’ve run San Antonio Rock n Roll half marathon, and now I remember why.  The weather in San Antonio is fickle.  Last Sunday, race day, saw a record high of 89°F.  This Sunday, we’re expecting a high of 42. Go figure. Nevertheless, it was a fun race with a great route. I’ve spent this week recovering, including not running but doing some stretching, strength training, and core work instead. I’d forgotten how much Pilates hurts.

Because of the heat on race day, it was a hard recovery. But following these tips helped ease the pain.

Ice, ice, baby

I know. I can’t believe I said that either.  But an ice bath is the way to go.  Get in the tub, run a couple of inches of warm water, switch the warm to cold until your legs are covered, then pour in the ice. Bags of it, to the tune of 30 lbs.  You may need to wear your cold-weather running shirt in the tub with you. And you probably need to be clutching a very large cup of very hot liquid, but ice will ultimately make your legs happy. By the next day, they’ll be thanking you.

Hydrate

This was the first race where I hit every single water stop.  With all that heat, I needed it. Drinking the day before and during the race, however, is not enough.  I drink all day long after a race ends.  I don’t mean beer, although there’s nothing like an ice-cold beer after a hard, sweaty run; I mean water and electrolyte-replacing liquids. You won’t wake up Monday morning feeling hung over if you keep the liquids coming.

Feed your body well

My body always feels weird the entire day after a hard race.  I feel depleted and want to eat, but nothing sounds good.  I’m often tempted to eat pizza or Cheetos.  Racing is a nice excuse to offer myself that kind of reward, but there’s something about a greasy, cheesy slab of dough that just doesn’t sit right with me. Then again, neither does a steak. I can never decide. I find that I have to practically force myself to eat something, and I have to rationally choose the foods best suited to recovery, the right combination of healthy carbs and protein.

Fortunately, I survived the race—and the ice bath.   When’s the next race?

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