By Beth Baker
Chief Running Officer at Running Evolution
Well, I will tell you! My favorite part of a hard run or a training run with longer miles is the unwind. To Relish in what you just did, reflect on the good parts, and note what needs to be done better is good. But, then comes the best part: Active Rest. Ohhh, I know, I know, "active rest" sounds like a big 'ol oxymoron, but it is essential in training and racing. It's a good way to assure you can, oh, I don't know… walk the next day. Walking is kinda cool. So, here are my go-to active rest options to feel good an hour, a day, and week after a long hard run.
- Eat! This is a no-brainer, but a lot of people skip it because they are either worried about the calorie intake or just aren't hungry. But, it's oh-so-needed for feeling like a human later in the day. And when to eat? The golden moments are less than a half hour after your run. Eating something sensible right after, or even drinking a chocolate milk works. Then, more of a protein-based meal a few hours after will help those muscles perk back up. Water falls in this category, too, and is so very important! By the way, beer is not water… even the crappy beer.
- Ice Bath. Or, as I like to call them, the profanity makers. I always prefer a natural body of water to plunge into post-run, like Lake Washington. It is so much harder to go home, fill up your bathtub, find ice... It's like waxing your own legs. But, it helps with muscle inflammation and keeps your joints more loosey goosy. You can also add epsom salts to a bath to help your body recover.
- Sleep. Well, this one is a little easier to accomplish, since your body will want to do it so very badly. But, the key is to put aside time to get the rest. I did a marathon last year and then had a very hectic week planned. What a huge mistake. I had to cancel meetings and trade them in for naps.
- Walk. Get back out there and get your body moving. The reason your body is sore is lactic acid, which just sits in your muscles until you move. So move it, baby.
- Yoga. Oh yes, those muscles, joints, and bones have been pounding, and they need to be pulled back out like taffy. A good restorative yoga class in always in my recovery schedule a day or two after a big event.
Gloating, bragging, and relishing in your awesomeness is up there, too. But, the better you feel after, the more likely it is that you'll get back in the game.
Running Evolution has some rad things coming up, including a run + yoga + goal setting + beer sesh with us on January 11! Learn more at runningevolution.com.