Having recently completed the runDisney Goofy Race and a Half Challenge I figured it would be a good time to share my long run/ race recovery.
With running half and full marathons on back to back days my biggest concern was a quick recovery after the half to be ready for the full. I went to Florida with a plan (that I had practiced during my back to back long run training), I stuck to it and it worked perfectly – I was ready to go for the full marathon without feeling like I had even run the day before!
Before I get started (and before he says something to me about not mentioning him!), I have to 100% credit my husband for all of my running recovery. I have to admit if it were up to me I’d probably go for a long run, take a warm shower and then plop down on the couch. He’s usually the one
nagging encouraging me to take the time to do some recovery…and honestly, once I do it I never regret it! (And he knows what he’s talking about, working in the professional sports world he’s picked up a thing or two…husband and personal trainer in one – what more could a running girl ask for!)
Disclaimer: I am not a health/ fitness professional (yet!) and am only sharing what works for ME. Below I have provided links to additional information that supports why each of these things may or may not promote muscle recovery.
Here’s what I did between the WDW Half and Full Marathon’s:
I don’t know all the science behind these recovery drinks other than ingesting something with the optimal amounts carbohydrate and protein aids in muscle recovery – the one I use, Endurox R4, has a 4:1 carb:protein ration.
I’ll typically make and drink one of these after any run over 10 miles. There are many brands out there so do some research and find what works for you! (I’m interested in trying the Vega Sport brand…has anyone tried it??)
Jury’s still out amongst a lot of people as to whether ice baths really work, but I believe they work for me and that’s really all that matters!
For more information on ice baths and if they do or don’t work you can check out the articles below before you take the plunge (pun totally intended!):
I LOVE my compression pants for after run recovery! The minute I pull them on it just feels like my muscles are being squeezed and supported. Unfortunately I don’t love the way they feel when I’m actually running (something about the way they rub behind my knee), but I do wear compression socks on my long runs. The graphic below is from the CW-X website, which is the brand of compression socks and pants that I use.
Foam rolling is a sort of self-massage. Using your own body weight on the foam roller you can target specific muscle areas and use the pressure to help to release any knots and roll out sore muscles.
You can learn everything you need to know about how to foam roll and target certain muscles on a great infographic from Greatist HERE.
Jason just got me this new Grid foam roller and I’m loving it! (It’s the perfect size to travel with too!)
Yoga / Stretch
We all know I love yoga! One of my favorite things to do after a long run (or anytime your legs are feeling tired!) is to lie on your back on the ground with your legs at a 90 degrees up against a wall…it feels SO good! I always make sure to stretch after a long run, targeting my piriformis, calves, hamstrings and quads.
For some of my favorite poses check out my Yoga for Runner’s posts!
Is there anything else you do for post run/ race muscle recovery?
I’d love to hear!
Great post! I didn’t do anyone baths during training mostly because it was so cold when I ran. I did do an ice bath after the half and full marathons and I think it helped a ton!
Thanks Leana! I did one long run in 25 degrees (I know, nothing compared to what you run in!) and I did the same thing – no need for an ice bath, I’ve basically been icing my legs this entire run!
Awesome post Danielle! During my back to back training, I followed a similar recovery program. I also added alot of fueling (carbs and protein) in between runs due to my puny size!(It was hard for me to keep my weight constant) My run recovery drink is a whey protein isolate called, About Time, that I buy at GNC. It makes a great shake and of course I brought that to FL for Goofy Challenge recovery. The ice baths are tough, but after getting used to them, they seem to work for me as well. I love my grid foam roller too, and so does my dog!
Thanks Pam! My dog loves when I foam roll too! It’s so funny, she actually usually runs and grabs one of her bones and starts rolling around on it next to me! We’ve tried to get a picture but it never seems to work…whenever she sees the camera she just runs towards it! Maybe one day we’ll get one that I can share : )
I actually have a foam roller AND a sprinter stick. Sometimes I just cant get deep into my lower hamstrings or calves with body weight alone (even stacking legs), so I LOVE ROLLING with the sprinter stick. But since the stick I have is more rigid and smaller, I can’t get my back very well, but I can with the foam roller! LOVE both! Other than the recovery powder, I do/have the same things!
P.S. for getting a good hamstring stretch I use the Stretch-Out-Strap, which is basically a yoga strap with rungs so its easier to hold. I used a yoga strap for years, went to physical therapy, used the stretch-out-strap for the first time and it changed my life! Ok not really life changing, but saved my hands from fabric burn trying to hold it in place….
I do also take glucosamine/chondroitin and fish oil supplements for my joints/body…mostly because I was very hard on it during my 10 years of soccer days and I don’t want future issues!
Hmmm…I don’t currently take and vitamins or supplements, but I really should look in to it! Definitely going to look in to the stretch it out strap too : )
I tried an ice bath between the half and full but the water in our hotel wasn’t terribly cold and my ice melted pretty fast. I’m a big believer in them though and they definitely helped me during all of that back to back training all fall!
I sort of had the same problem…the ice kept melting so quickly, but I figured it was cold enough to do the job!
I’ve actually never tried any of these things, but I definitely should. I think I will just print this off and try it all in prepping for the Goofy. I usually do a whey protein shake before my training sessions and just time my runs so I eat a meal when I’m done, but I should probably have more effective options since I’m usually literally hobbling around after a half.
I definitely need to invest in your foam roller. The one I have is WAY to big to bring with me anywhere lol
Ice baths are a little scary, but compression pants and lying with your legs up a wall are a good place to start…let me know if you have any questions, happy to help!