Stacie's Secrets for Long Run Recovery: Disclaimer - these are the thoughts and ideas of one crazy blonde runner. Use what you like, disregard what you think is nonsense, and at the very least have a sense of companionship that you are not alone in your long run recovery.
Training for my first few marathons was a family sacrifice. I have typically run my long runs on Sunday mornings which meant that Saturday night was an early bedtime and Sunday was going to be a day of recovery. Over time I have acclimated to these longer runs and manage to avoid completely insisting that everyone in my household and life operate on my training schedule. Here are my tips:
- Immediate rehydration: I recovery MUCH faster if I instantly begin rehydrating after a long run. If I wait too long (even an hour) then I won’t get as much fluid into my system. But if I have something I like to drink waiting for me at the finish I can get a lot of fluid in my body even before I get home to shower. I like grape flavored things – so Grape Nuun, Grape Gatorade, Grape Propel… I try to get 32 oz down before I even get home and get showered.
- Compression Socks: My Sunday wardrobe revolves around my compression socks. I crave them like a pregnant woman craves pickles. My legs LOVE getting into compression socks. So yes – hiding under my lovely Sunday church attire are my Black CEP Compression socks. I can’t say enough for how they enhance my recovery. All I can say is that they are addictive. They are like crack for runners… you just don’t have to buy them on a street corner.
- Food: This one is tricky. Everyone is different in what they like to eat after a long and what their tummy will tolerate. I am pretty picky after a long run. I really am not hungry for awhile. Unfortunately this means that I am often guilty of waiting TOO long before I begin refueling. Ideally you want to get a great combination of protein and carbs in your system within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. Research shows that a 4 to 1 carbs to protein ratio will get into your system the fastest and begin muscle repair. That is why so many folks drink chocolate milk. My personal recommendation is anything that your stomach will let you get down that includes both carbs and protein. For example: A bagel with cream cheese, an apple and a slice of cheese or peanut butter, trail mix, a protein bar, a bowl of cereal with milk, etc. It doesn’t need to be fancy – just combine both protein and carbs and get something quick – don’t 2 – 3 hours until lunch time to start refueling.
- The Infamous Nap: I have the luxury of being able to squeeze in a post-run nap on most Sundays. I know most of you are ready to block me from your inbox just for suggesting this…but for those of you living the life of luxury like me, I thought I would elaborate. 45 minutes is my magic napping time. Anything longer than that and I wake up groggy. Shorter isn’t worth setting the alarm… but after 45 minutes I wake up ready for whatever my hubby has planned for the rest of the day.
- Finally – The Afternoon Walk: One of the LAST things you’ll feel like doing after a long is tying up your shoes for an afternoon walk. But truly, getting outside to do something makes the next morning MUCH more enjoyable. You might get outside to run errands (yes – Costco counts as a walk!), to garden, or to satisfy your four-legged critter. Do something to get the blood flowing and you’ll feel ten times better – and yes… I keep the compression socks on for all of that!