I’m heading out for my last long training run today before the Marine Corp Marathon in 3 weeks, so I thought I’d share with you how I recover after long runs and races – enjoy!
You’ve probably heard the acronym R.I.C.E. – Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. – for treatment of injuries.
Well, even though I don’t think a 20 mile training run or a marathon is formally classified as an injury you sure are giving your body one heck of a beating, so not surprisingly a lot of the R.I.C.E. steps are great for recovery!
R is for ROLL.
Yes, when it comes to running R is for ROLL, not REST!
While your body does need rest to recover from a long run, I wouldn’t suggest planting yourself on the couch for the rest of the day after your long run, for now keep moving!
And give your muscles a little TLC with a foam roller! Spending some time with your foam roller offers many of the same benefits as a deep tissue massage (and who wouldn’t love a massage after a long run!).
Foam rollers are available online or at your local sports or running store and they aren’t very expensive, so well worth it! I currently use the GRID foam roller from TP Therapy which I really like (I also like that’s it’s fairly small so I can pack it for races!).
If you’re new to foam rolling here are a couple of great resources to get you started:
Runner’s World – Foam Rolling for Runners
Greatist - How to Foam Roll Like a Pro Infographic
I is for ICE.
Ice reduces inflammation, so while you may want to “spot-ice” certain places that are painful or achy after a long run, why not just make sure you’re covered and jump into a whole bathtub of ice!
Ah, the ice bath. Controversial? Yes. Fun? Ummm…not so much.
There is much conflicting evidence on whether they actually do anything or not, but I think they help my recovery (especially between back to back races like the runDisney Goofy or Dopey Challenge), so I’m going to stick with it!
C is for COMPRESSION.
I love the feeling of wiggling into my compression socks and pants after a long run! The best way to describe it is like a hug for your legs! Well, that’s the best way I can describe it.
The best way I’ve found someone else to describe it is from a Men’s Health Article about the benefits of compression. Mike Hamlin, Ph.D., of Lincoln University said, “The garments reduce swelling and therefore pain. They increase blood flow, too, so the harmful products released from the damaged muscle can be flushed out, also reducing the chance for soreness.”
And, compression wear is super stylish!
E is for ELEVATION.
I’m not talking prop your legs up on a pillow here. I’m talking lay down on the floor and get your legs WAY up there!
In yoga this restorative pose is often called “Legs up the Wall” (how creative right??) and there are many benefits to doing it after a long run!
Laying with your legs up the wall helps reduces swelling and gets the blood that has been concentrating in your legs while you’ve been running for hours circulating. This pose also offers a gentle hamstring stretch and let’s face it, it’s just relaxing!
I usually lie in this pose for 10-15 minutes after a long run. (No excuses with this one – you can do it anywhere and all you need is a wall!)
Hoping some of these tips help you out on your next long run recovery!
What’s your favorite recovery tip?
Are any of these tips new to you?
Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a health professional, only a yoga teacher and fellow runner sharing recovery tips that have worked for me! Please consider your own health circumstances before using any of these tips and consult with your doctor if necessary!