How to Recover Properly After a Race (published in Women’s Running Magazine)

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I hate to say it but it’s been awhile since my last post as Physiotherapy School has taken up most of my time but it’s time to get back to writing! So here we go…

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to get an article I wrote picked up by Women’s Running Magazine, here it is incase you missed it!

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/05/health-wellness/how-to-recover-properly-after-a-race_40682

“There’s a secret race that most athletes neglect—the one that happens after you cross the finish line. That forgotten but tremendously important event is the “race to recovery.

Any athlete, recreational or elite, understands the importance of preparing for a race or run. In training you prepare for distance, hills and speed. You cross-train, stretch, taper and follow proper nutritional guidelines. You drink the right stuff, wear the right wicking, reflective and compression apparel and even swap in the right running shoe laces. But have you ever thought about what your body needs in order for you to fully recover and get you ready for the next event?

Regardless if that next event is a marathon, 5K or just getting back to walking around the office without two peg legs, the quicker and more you can recover, the better.

Here are some tips to help you win your next “race to recovery”:

1. Dine and Dash. Within 20 minutes of crossing that finish line, grab your medal and head over to bag check or the food tent and grab some grub. Your body has a window of opportunity to soak up the largest majority of the incoming nutrients. That food replenishes the stores that your body drained in order to fuel you through the race.

  • Dine: Aim for 10-20 grams of protein and a 3.5:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio.
  • Dash: Rehydrate and add a dash of salt for replenishment and water re-absorption.
  • Try: A small chocolate milk or crackers with avocado and a water bottle with a dash of salt.

2. Rock and Roll. Pull out your lacrosse balls and dollar-store bouncy balls–it’s time to rock and roll. Lets face it: No one likes stretching, but you need to do it. Even if you only take 3 to 5 minutes to stretch out the major muscle groups (quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, calves and pecs) it is better than nothing. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow.

  • Rock: Sit in a chair and place bouncy balls under the arches of your feet. Apply as much of your body weight as you can handle and start to roll the balls around under your feet. Think of it as a mini massage.
  • Roll: Place the lacrosse balls under the trouble spots that seize up and give us a post-race hobble. I recommend rolling out your pecs, piriformis, IT band and calves.
  • Try: Just make sure you don’t overdue it. Running places trauma on your muscles, and although they may feel tight, remember there are multiple micro tears throughout the fibers. Do a little bit on the first day and a bit more the next day, but listen to your body. Make sure you’re not doing more harm by aggressively rolling still-inflamed and aggravated tissues.

3. Float On. Throw a cup or two of Epson salt (aka magnesium sulfate) into your warm bath, or if you have the time and funds, take a trip to your local float house and let them do the thinking. All you have to do is relax.

  • Try: The DIY version is cheaper. There’s minimal science behind why it exactly helps alleviate sore muscles, but if all it does is give you an excuse for a warm bath, go for it!

4. Shelf the Shoes. Trade in those shoes for some barefoot yoga classes for a couple of days. Stretch out those muscles and focus on your core while you let those major running muscles repair.

  • Try: Classes are great, but they can be expensive. Search for a Groupon, Living Social or local ClassPass deal—or an even more affordable option is to download a recovery yoga session or podcast and do it at home. A recommendation for you: Blissology Project.

Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/05/health-wellness/how-to-recover-properly-after-a-race_40682#cgtyT4U4r3siAoVL.99″

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Run your race Run your pace

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A friend of mine recently joined a running group to train for an upcoming 10K.   She’s an active girl but up until now would not have included “runner” on her athletic resume.  When I asked her how the training was going I had to laugh when she said “well I thought I hated running but I’m actually having fun! I think I’m having more fun each weekly actually.”  I had to laugh when my response to her was “ya I hated running too a few years ago.”

Most people wouldn’t expect me to say that I hated running, but it’s the truth I absolutely hated it.  I would run as a means to an end.  I would run to stay fit for soccer, basketball or my other athletic pursuits but never because I enjoyed it.  I actually have vivid memories of dragging myself on a 20 minute run in the summer before training camp for soccer and literally thinking I was going to die the entire time, counting the seconds until the run would be over.  Teammates would drag me out and there would be a grimace on my face the entire time, it was never a pleasant experience. It felt awkward to me, running without a ball in front me or towards an opponent of any kind.    My pace was always rushed; my breathing heavy and the whole experience was uncomfortable.  Alternatively I could run 90 minutes during a soccer game without even batting an eye.   I would lose myself so much in the game that I wouldn’t notice how tired I was and heavy my legs felt, the game was the ultimate distraction.

When I look back now I can’t pinpoint an exact time or day when running became something I actually enjoyed doing but all I know is that suddenly I found myself excited to throw on some headphones, runners and just go out for an hour- me, my feet and the pavement.  There were incentives that drove me to that place of running enjoyment,  I would run with a friend and share the latest gossip or major life talks, run to a special bakery or coffee shop, or to catch the perfect sunset from a bridge, or just to catch up on my newly downloaded music without distractions.  The big difference was that I would run at whatever pace I wanted without feeling pressure to push myself to get “fit” for training camp. Overtime I found I didn’t rely on the distractions or incentives to get me through my run, and the pain of running had subsided.  As my personal pace became engrained into my muscles everything became more comfortable and all around fun.

This brings me back to my friends comment about how she hated running but now enjoys it. There comes a time when the body stops fighting and begins to ease into a natural running pace.  I think we all have a natural pace inside of us and over time if we can find, harness and accept that pace running becomes an enjoyable activity instead of a stressful and forced event.  There are so many stresses in life, really why should running be one of them? Run your own race run your own pace