As most of you know, my racing season has come to a close. I'm still running (duh, that's what runners do LOL), I'm just not cranking out high mileage for awhile.
With no warning, Winter staged a nasty early arrival in Iowa. We're talking single-digit temps and sub-ZERO windchill...in mid-November. I'm an outdoor runner, year-round, but even I was caught off guard with this sudden downward swing in temps.
I have to admit, though, this frigid Arctic Blast wasn't all bad because it kept me INSIDE at a time when being OUTSIDE could have botched my marathon recovery.
Had we had our typical November weather, which would have been a good 30 degrees warmer, the temptation to be running outside would have been overwhelming. As much as I respect the necessary recovery from a busy running season, the allure of the great outdoors would have been tough to ignore.
Alas, I was forced to keep a lot of my recovery time inside, and things have gone well. I think this was probably my strongest training cycle ever, which I think also was a factor in my recovery going pretty smooth.
So, how did I do it? I give you Five Strategies That Rocked My Recovery:
Get outside anyways, but with caution
Although I have not yet ventured out for an actual run in these crazy temps, I have been walking outside, on occasion. There's plenty of ice out there, which is not easy to spot in the dark (when the bulk of my runs happen). Also, the sub-ZERO windchill is NOT very friendly to those of us with sensitive skin. A quick 1-2 mile walk through the 'hood, though, gave me a sufficient fresh air fix and some low-impact cardio, as well as keeping me somewhat sheltered from any wind.
It's no secret I'd rather be outside, but I'm fortunate to have some indoor options...like the elliptical. My hips tend to be cranky after an especially long race or run, and stretching and/or foam rolling doesn't always do the trick. The elliptical gave me the chance to work up a good sweat, while keeping things easy on my hips and calves.
I'll admit that I have yet to notice a major difference in my actual race performance when I'm wearing compression socks or sleeves. I know they feel good, though! Where I really notice a huge difference is when I wear them after a race (or even a long run). I used to have swelling for several days (from water retention/dehydration), but that is no longer an issue. Granted, I am probably doing a better job with fueling and hydrating these days, so that may be part of the equation. Following MCM, I had some DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) to deal with, but they were very mild and didn't last more than a day. While everyone's body is unique, and compression is definitely a personal choice, I know it works for me.
No doubt, being inside is a major buzzkill for outdoor enthusiasts. Last winter, as I was soldiering through the Polar Vortex, I got the idea to step outside (ever so briefly!) after my indoor runs or workouts. Not only was it empowering to stand up to the crazy weather, but those brief moments of cryotherapy (a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temps) actually felt good! This past week, I have stepped outside a few times following my indoor workouts....I may continue that through the winter if we have more record-breaking cold spells again. Stay tuned!
I have been foam rolling (and stick-massaging) more than ever this year. I made it through 14 weeks of marathon training without any residual aches or pains (a first!). I have to believe the (almost) daily muscle self-massage was a factor. That practice continued through the weeks following the marathon as well, and I think this recovery period went really fast as a result.
Finally, there are a few races already on the calendar for the spring. Having some races to look forward to is a great incentive to take things easy right now to ensure my body doesn't suffer burnout. One such race, the Chocoholic Frolic 10K, is a race I also did this past March. The temps were unseasonably cold and crazy windy...but, hey, there was chocolate!
What are some things that have worked for your recovery routine? Have you had to modify your recovery tactics from time-to-time?
As an ambassador, I have a few discount codes to share. None of these are affiliate links, nor do I receive any compensation should anyone choose to take advantage in using them:
Crucial Compression (website HERE) code runningonthefly15 will save you 15% off any purchase from the website
Knuckle Lights (website HERE) code BRIGHTLIGHTBRIGADE will save you 10% on any order
Chocoholic Frolic (website HERE) code CHOCKIM will save you $5 off your registration at any of the events
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up.
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