Recovering from the Long Run

I successfully made it to the taper!  This marathon training has been different than most, I have done more speed work and more long runs than any other race (RLRF program vs. TNT).  I have learned in my 2 short years of running how to recover from the long run.

My personal definition is 13 miles or longer at this point-but if you are just getting into running-8 miles or longer may be “long” for you.  Regardless, I believe these things are important in recovering from a long distance run.

Recovery Drinks and Meals
I personally have found Endurox to be my go-to recovery drink.  I love the fruit punch flavor.  I even bring it with me to races.  I have also used chocolate milk and love it too!  My meals vary but usually involve a balance of protein and carbs to replace what I have burned off-usually an egg sandwich or wrap and sometimes a bagel.  I usually treat myself that day or night with a burger too.

Stretching

I will admit, I can always do more of this and should.  I learned from my IT Band injury in the winter that this is key is staying healthy.

I do a variety of different things:
  • I make sure to do dynamic stretching about a 1/4 mile into my run.  
  • When I finish I do still do some static stretching (even though some people will disagree on if it is good or not).  
  • I try to squeeze in a yoga class too–I haven’t been great about it lately because I have been trying to keep up with 2 different marathon training schedules but I find it to be extremely beneficial.  (Tip-if you have a Lululemon store-GO! They offer a free class on Sunday mornings).  
  • Runners World also has a great list of info here.
Ice
I am a big believer, and maybe lover of ice baths.  You can read all about them in my previous post Ice Bath 101.  Coffee, music and maybe your phone if you are careful are key!!  If you are still terrified of an ice bath, then please ice your body with ice packs or frozen veggies from your freezer. 🙂  Of course, Runners World has suggestions on how to ice and rather than retype them, I’ll share the link.
Rest
There are rest and recovery days put into a training schedule for a reason.  USE them.  I definitely rest the day before a long run.  I do nothing.  I will do light exercise the day after—a short run (since I am training for Goofy that is my current plan), yoga, pilates, etc.
Massage
Massage is actually what prompted this post.  This might be one of the most important pieces of recovery.  I think it is key to get a sports massage while training.  I ALWAYS get one the week of the race to work out any final aches and pains and I try to get one near my longest runs (20 milers) and usually a week or so after a race.

I have found my “go to” guy and see him on regular basis.  Will (at GA Sports Chiropractic) is a runner as well and knows exactly where the aches and pains are.  I made the mistake of going to a “spa” place yesterday because I had a gift certificate and it was a joke.  It was more of a hand and foot massage even though I explained my problem areas were hips, butt and legs.  So don’t skimp here-go to a sports massage place (a lot chiropractors have them in-office) and get someone who knows what they are doing and understands what runners need.  Side note–I also see a chiropractor regularly but I understand not everyone agrees with chiropractic care.

Those are my tips.  I hope they have helped!  Please let me know if you have questions or if you think I missed one.  Do you have any other things you do to help recover from the long run?  

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Elizabeth

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