As marathon season is approaching quickly and many runners weekends are taken up with longer runs, I’m just happy to be able to train in a normal manner – I ran for the furthest I’ve run in four months on Sunday. Whilst nothing massive, (16km) as it was coupled within a 4 day running streak that included some speedwork on hills this is a major milestone for me in my gradual recovery.
What it has got me back to thinking about is how I recover and how I like to recover. I’ve been asked the question a couple of times recently by some of the guys I coach so I thought it would be good to get down in one place and see how it stands the test of time.
I’ve cobbled my recovery methods together over the last 5 years and this is what I’ve settled on, what works for me and what I like. All of below are for any run that is either:
- Track / speed / hills
- Tempo / intervals
- Marathon specific
In the order I like it goes like this:
Number 1: It’s summer at the moment, and pretty hot in London. The first thing I love to do post any hard run is have a piece of fresh fruit – preferably a nectarine, then possibly a peach, sweet grapes, cherries, berries of any kind. The harder the work out the more wonderful the fruit. I suspect it’s a combination of the sugars (fructose no doubt) and re-hydrating impact the fruit has. Either way this is the first thing I reach for on getting back home
Number 2: Atlantic Kelp And Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub on my legs pre a shower and 3 minutes of coherent breathing.
This feels lovely on tired post running legs. I get it on my legs and then sit in the bathroom for 3 minutes, enjoying the tingling sensation as it works it’s massage calming my tired legs. I also use this time to breathe coherently for 3 minutes, so inhale for a count of 6 and exhale for a count of 6. This helps calm my nervous system and switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic. I’ll mentally use a mantra on the exhale (that feels good / all done now / or something to that effect). This helps me sit for the time I like to allow the magnesium salts to work their magic. Tingling and relaxing.
Number 3: A warm shower – to both wash off the run, the Ren body scrub and tell my body everything is done. This really helps in drawing a line under the session. I always prefer a warm / hot shower to something cold post exercise, regardless of how hot things are outside as post shower this will have the physiological impact of a temperature rebound (so my core will cool slightly in response to a hot shower). This really helpful in helping my body calm down.
Number 4: Up until last October my go to would have been sitting with my legs up the wall for 10 minutes (as per the photo above). In Sanskrit the recovery pose is called viparita karani or “inverted in action”. It’s great for so many reasons – all you need is a wall and a floor, it’s free and easy. It works really effectively to drain any fluids that have built up in your legs, and supports circulation of blood back to your heart / core. I also found it incredibly relaxing and settled into the pose for some time.
However since last October Jenny bought me some Therabody recovery legs, which I love and have all the benefits of the wall recovery sit (which is my go to if I travel without my inflatable legs)
Since I had mine Therabody have bought out newer versions without the wires. They are expensive, but as a luxury that works they are well worth splashing out for.
Number 5: I’ll eat – dependant on the day or time will make a difference to what I prepare. Usually something easy, filling and tasty, sandwichs or wraps a particular favourite. Followed by chocolate.
And that’s currently my recovery routine – works well for me and feels fairly settled now as it covers what I think I need:
- Some kind of sweet fruit for that sensation you can only get from a hard workout and the need for natural sugar
- Scrub / breathe / clean
- Let the body realign it’s circulation and flow