I am still on a runner's high from Saturday's half marathon and I have been itching to get outside for a run all week. But I know that is not a smart idea just yet. I pushed myself hard on Saturday and my body could definitely feel it on Sunday. The last thing I want is to get injured because I jumped back into running too quickly. Even though I am no longer sore I know that my body needs more time to recover. Because I do not do well unless I outline my plan for things, I put together a recovery plan to get me ready for my next training cycle healthy and happy.
1. At least five days of no running. Even though I want to run, there is really no need for me to run just yet. After my first half marathon I only took three days off and as a result dealt with IT Band pain for almost two months. Originally I was planning to take an entire week off from running but since I am home for spring break I can run on the trail here which is both flat and soft.
2. Indulge a little, but eat a healthy diet. I definitely ate whatever I wanted Saturday through Monday. I was constantly hungry and just wanted junk food. Since this week requires no training I think it okay to indulge a little more than normal. But at the same time, eating healthy foods will help my body recover better because it is being fueled properly. This week is all about balance and moderation.
3. Active recovery. Since my legs weren't too sore I started taking 2-3 mile walks on Monday. It feels really nice to loosen up the legs without any impact or requiring any effort from them. I am also planning on hitting the recumbent bike that is at my house for some easy biking. I really love using the recumbent bike and I know my legs will appreciate being able to do something this week.
4. Stretch and foam roll often. I have kind of become obsessed with my foam roller lately. I love the hurts so good feeling and my body feels amazing afterwards. The only thing that is still tight is my hips and I know that some quality TLC with the foam roller will take care of that. I have also been looking up some different stretches online to make sure that my body is being fully stretched. The biggest thing for me is to make sure that I don't get injured.
5. Ice. It may not be as helpful now but icing really helps my legs recover from tough runs, especially my knees. My muscles aren't really sore anymore but my knees always appreciate a nice ice session. My hips and IT Bands could always benefit from some ice too.
6. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Since this is my spring break I don't have to get up early and can sleep in as late as I want. I am taking full advantage of this and catching up on all of the sleep that I lost due to studying. I don't know the science behind it but sleeping really helps the body recover also, so win win situation.
7. Hydrate. This goes along with eating well. Staying hydrated helps the body do its job by fueling it. A dehydrated body is more tired and unable to do all of the things that it needs to to recover from a tough race. Additionally, it is important to rehydrate after sweating out so much fluid during the race.