Sweet Recovery

In January when I ran a half marathon, I didn’t really pay much attention to how much recovery should go.  I thought I’d be sore for a few days and then go on just like I do after a strenuous workout or whatever.   What I didn’t count on was not really being able to move without excruciating pain tearing through every part of my body every time I moved.  I actually didn’t run for almost a month because of the memory of all that pain.

So this time I paid a little more attention to what I was doing after the race.

I guess the main thing that helped was that I was more in shape.  I had rested up, and I had several more miles under my belt before this race.  I took the whole week before the race off so I wouldn’t feel like my body was worn out heading into it.  I bought some compression socks and had used them a couple times after my long runs, and they seemed to help.  And I had a fresh bottle of Aleve on the trip with me.

Directly after the race I was supposed to meet my friends under the letter J.  I made it to S.  I called them and had them come find me.  They found me laying down in a grassy area stretching out my back and my legs.  I was done.  I’d already finished a fresh bottle of water and was halfway done with a bottle Gatorade by the time they got there.  I was also probably on the phone bawling my eyes out telling my mom I’d finished, but that’s for another blog post. :)

The week before I’d started taking two Aleve twice a day to kind of get a head start on the inflammation that I was going to incur.  That didn’t stop after the race until about Tuesday.  I had packed a bag with super cushioned shoes and my compression socks.  Once I got my running shoes off, I got the compression socks on.

I don’t know what it is about the compression that helps with the recovery process, but I’m thankful for them.  I may have spent $40 on a pair of socks, but to be able to get up and walk another mile to our car without pain was well worth it.  The shoes I had packed were my old running shoes that were super cushioned, so that was a big help, too.

Immediately after getting back to the hotel and after taking some more Aleve, I poured some Espom salt in a bath and soaked for quite a while in HOT water.  After the bath I laid down for about 30 minutes and got dressed and we went and walked around the Opryland Hotel for a couple hours.

I know that that sounds kind of crazy, but I think a big part of my problem last time was that I didn’t keep moving.  The less you move the more time you give your muscles to start cramping and start getting sore.  Honestly my only problems after the race were shin splints and my calves were the tightest I’ve ever felt them.  I’m assuming from all the hills.  I also had a little catch in my back, but got that taken care of at my chiropractic appointment on Monday.  That’s it.

I could walk without a huge amount of pain.

I even went and worked out Monday to see if I could get some of the soreness out of my legs, but it didn’t help much.  I’ll be taking the rest of the week off because I don’t have much leg strength yet.

I’m subscribing to the theory of “Work Hard, Rest Hard.”

Don’t underestimate the value of rest for your body.  We’re made to need sleep and rest for a reason.  Just make sure you get enough of each!

What are some ways that you enjoy your rest days?

  • Chris

    Good Job Julie, listening to your body!  I have a printout of some yoga for runners, I will drop by to you soon. :)  Might also help some. 

    • http://www.runwiththebiggirls.com/ Julie Shreve

      That sounds fun!  You know where to find me :)

  • http://jesusyoume.blogspot.com/ Andrea Ward

    I don’t work out much, so I don’t have rest days.  However, I did decide not to go to the Mother/Daughter banquet at our church on Saturday.  I didn’t want to spend more time away from my husband and son.  So on my “I don’t have to work” rest day, I will be hanging out with my boys.  We might even go to the zoo.

    • http://www.runwiththebiggirls.com/ Julie Shreve

      Work hard, rest hard appeals to every avenue of life.  Especially in the day-to-day activities!  Go to the zoo.  That’s my recommendation!

  • http://twitter.com/hopeinthemiddle Judy Mosley

    If I can get quiet time (with hardly any kids), it’s pretty amazing. Most of the time, I just lay down, in my bed. I don’t try to sleep but I don’t stop myself either. I lay there and absorb the silence and the fact that no one needs me at the moment.

    • http://www.runwiththebiggirls.com/ Julie Shreve

      That sounds pretty good to me!

  • Book Kathy

    I’m curious about what you ate/drank besides the water right after your race.  I think that immediate refueling makes a difference, too.

    • http://www.runwiththebiggirls.com/ Julie Shreve

      They handed out bottles of water almost immediately after we crossed the finish line.  They handed out ice cold towels to cool us down, and then they had a Gatorade station so I had some of that, too.  Publix had several different tents put up with all kinds of different fruits and bagels and stuff.  I had a banana.  There was also a free beer tag to get a free Michelobe Ultra, but I gave mine away :)

      After we got back to the hotel, just lots and lots of water!