I haven't' always been the post about post-run recovery. I'm pretty sure that until I started training for my first half marathon (9 months into being serious about running) that I started semi-regularly stretching after runs. Luckily, I've become much more aware of needing to take care of myself post-run without running into major injuries. Here's what I follow post-run (and race) to keep me injury free:
For the last year, I've made a hard push to foam roll regularly after every run. This past training cycle, I started off with a goal to do 10 minutes of foam rolling after every run and eventually increased it to 20 minutes by the end. It does take a lot of extra time but I've found it has really helped. My goal during marathon training (which I'll talk about more in-depth on Friday) will be to foam roll for 20 minutes every day.
Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, I start off with the stick roller and move to my full length foam roller. I spend most of the time focusing on the my lower body but I do need to remember roll out my upper back and shoulders too since those get stiff after a day at work. Occasionally, if I have a really bad spot, I'll spend time focusing on it with my smaller roller that has nubbins on it.
I want to say off the bat, I'm talking about warm baths here with either bubbles or epsom salt. I might try an ice bath after some of my marathon training runs but I'm kind of scared of the thought of those.
But I love a good warm bath after I'm done running and foam rolling. It really helps me relax after a run and during the winter it warms me up nicely. Plus I can double up on self-care with a face mask and book or watching some Netflix. One thing I do have to be careful about is closing the bathroom door all the way while the tub is filling up. Vinnie loves the water and has tried to make my bath his own before!
This last one might just be a placebo effect but my calves and feet feel so much better when I wear compression socks on a regular basis (along with keeping up with my foam rolling). I try to put them on after long runs at a minimum and when I'm feeling especially sore I'll wear them all day long.
Because I see a decrease in soreness when I wear them regularly, I will be wearing them more often during marathon training because I'll take any help I can get with sore muscles. I even ordered a grab bag of compression socks from Pro Compression (where I've gotten all of mine) to make sure I had enough socks to wear throughout the week. (It was a great deal too, 3 pairs for $36 instead of the regular $50 price tag for each. Way too good to pass up.)
What do you do after a run to help your body recover?