I’ve received a bunch of questions from readers asking about various parts of my marathon training and quite a few of them were related to recovery, so I wanted to share some of the things that I am doing “behind the scenes.” I truly believe that the combination of these things has kept my body happy and healthy (*knock on wood*) over the past 14 weeks. Let’s hope they continue to work, so I am ready to run 26.2 miles in just 13 days!
Quick note: I am not a medical professional, so be sure to chat with your doctor before you try any of the supplements mentioned below.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER RUNS
Icing + protein shakes (+ sometimes peanut M&Ms)
As soon as I finish a mid-to-long run (pretty much anything over 8 miles), I ice my knees and drink a protein shake made with SFH Recovery protein powder. My knees always kind of bug me after a long run, and I want to get the recovery process going as soon as possible, so I consume protein as soon as I can. It’s almost to the point where I am semi-superstitious about doing these two things, like: Must ice knees and drink protein shake or something bad will happen.
Wearing compression socks
After icing, drinking a protein shake, and taking a shower, I put on a pair of compression socks and wear them until I go to bed. (They make me super hot at night, especially since I often get the nightsweats, so I take them off before bed.) I think they make a difference with recovery, but, honestly, I just like the way they feel after a long run.
Taking fermented cod fish oil + a multivitamin
I’ve officially listened to too many Balanced Bites podcasts! Haha! Diane and Liz always rave about the Fermented Cod Liver Oil from Green Pasture, so I finally bought some. (Here’s a great blog post from Diane about fermented cod liver oil and why she doesn’t take fish oil supplements.) With marathon training, muscle soreness, and autoimmune/gut issues, I’m trying to keep inflammation at bay the best I can. (Side note: I’ll probably order the Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend next time because I want to add some more vitamin K2 to my diet, which helps with inflammation, bone health, skin health, and lots of other good stuff.) I also take a daily multivitamin. I bought a bunch from Rainbow Light when I was pregnant, so I am still taking the pre-natal ones on the regular.
A FEW TIMES PER WEEK
I usually spend about 20 minutes foam rolling my legs and sometimes my lower back while watching TV in the evening after Quinn has gone to bed. Sometimes, I’ll take a break and then go back to it if it’s too painful (holy IT bands!), but it really does help loosen things up.
Eating cereal in the middle of night
Marathon training makes me an eating machine! And if I’m hungry in the middle of the night, I have no problem getting out of bed to eat. It typically happens a few times a week and my food of choice is almost always cereal and milk or cereal and Stonyfield yogurt. Recently, I’m digging Cheerios + Ancient Grains and Rice Chex mixed with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. ALLTHECARBS!
Consuming Garden of Life Organic Plant Protein
I randomly started taking Garden of Life Organic Plant Protein about halfway through my training. Whole Foods had the single-serving packets on sale, so I was curious about them. I read the ingredients and immediately decided that I wanted to add them to my diet. The list of ingredients is awesome and includes all sorts of super foods, enzymes, and probiotics– many of which have anti-inflammatory properties and are important for muscle recovery, joint health, and autoimmune/gut issues. I also love that it’s a great source of protein and there are over 3 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which are important for athletes and training. I’ve tried the Smooth Coffee, Chocolate, and Vanilla flavors and like them all. I usually mix them with iced coffee + rice milk or into my oatmeal at breakfast.
My electrolytes are all messed up from Remicade, adrenal issues… I dunno, but I get light-headed often and my blood tests are always a little wacky, so my doctor recommended consuming extra electrolytes. She suggested Gatorade, but Nuun is a healthier option, and I like the way it tastes better, so I drink it a few times per week in addition to during most of my runs.
EVERY OTHER WEEK
Getting a 60-minute sports massage
I have a ton of muscle imbalances due to scoliosis, so my massage therapist (Allison) at Muscle Medics does all sorts of deep myofascial work and active release methods to keep my body happy and healthy. I absolutely think seeing her on a regular basis has kept my typical overuse/running injuries at bay (*knock on wood*).
Question of the Day
What are some of the “behind the scenes” things you do to help recovery and/or better your performance during training?