Friday, February 15, 2013

Recovering Right

When I was first starting half marathon training I layed out how I was going to achieve my sub 2:00 goal based on the things that I have neglected in the past. There were quite a few things that could use improvement and most of them had something to do with recovery. Even though I know I should, I have been really struggling get in much stretching, foam rolling, Nuun-ing, etc. I have been experiencing this nagging ache in my left thigh ever since I went skiing a few weeks ago. It isn't anything to be worried about but it is a bit annoying. I had a minor panic attack about it but have since realized that my leg is actually not going to fall off. Shocking, I know. But this little freak out reminded me that I need to pay more attention to how I am recovering after my runs. So I decided that instead of giving up something for Lent I would commit to recovering right. How you might ask, well let me tell you!

Stretching & Foam Rolling

I always forget to stretch, and foam roll, until something starts bothering me and this training cycle is no exception. Luckily nothing hurts enough that it is a problem but it's a good reminder that it is never too late to add in some stretching and foam rolling to your weekly training. Since I finish a lot of my runs at school and then have class for a few hours afterwards I often don't get much, or any, stretching in afterwards. Just because I don't have room to sprawl out and do a bunch of elaborate yoga stretches doesn't mean I can't squeeze in a few simple stretches after each workout. Even a little bit of stretching will go a long way. Then on the weekends when I have more time I am planning on doing a 15-30 minute stretching and foam rolling session after my long runs to really get to my muscles properly.

Compression Socks

I have two pairs of Pro Compression socks but I don't wear them nearly enough. Like with stretching and foam rolling I normally only wear them when I actually need them rather than for their everyday recovery properties. When I run on harder surfaces such as concrete and pavement more frequently my calves and shins get very cranky and with the weather lately I haven't been able to really hit the trails which means I've only been running on the road. I think my legs are actually getting used to the additional pounding but there are still some days where my shins hurt to touch. Just wearing my compression socks for a few hours makes a huge difference. Since the weather is colder and it is still boot season I will wear my socks under my boots as a way to wear my socks but not look like a total loser. Just a partial one.

Hydrating Properly

For as long as I can remember people have been telling me I need to drink more. I'm not sure why but I don't get thirsty very often. There have been days (more than I'd like to admit) where I had nothing to drink the entire day. The ironic part is that I get extremely thirsty when running and drink way more than normal. And to add to it I lose a lot of salt when I sweat and often end up dizzy after long workouts in the heat. I have been working on drinking enough in general for years now and will probably always have to work on this but I have been slacking off now that the temps are colder and I feel even less thirsty. To get back on track I plan on carrying a water bottle with me everywhere. Just by having it with me I will end up drinking more water. I'm going to start using my Nuun tablets more often so that even if I am drinking less what I am drinking is better quality.

Any tips? I could use all the advice I can get!

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