Post Half Marathon Race Recovery Tips

Official time from the St. Augustine Orthopedic Associate’s Half Marathon:I have to tell you that this was the best half I have ever run in, both for my final time and how I felt before, during, and after.  My first half in Ann Arbor was great, but I made the rookie mistake of starting out way too quickly and had to walk the last mile or so.  The Marine Corp Half that I ran last month was sabotaged by illness and my training was pooh.  I was finally able to train properly, get my mind in the right frame, and paced myself with just enough Gu Chomps to keep me going.  I also brought my water bottle with me so I made up the extra time by not having to stop or slow down at the fueling stations.  I’m super proud of myself, but glad that I have the next three months off before my next half, the Disney Princess Half in Orlando.

I want to maintain the positivity of my half by properly recovering.  I Googled it, like any good and resourceful teacher would do, and found a great set of tips from About.com:

1.  Ice your sore muscles.

Taking an ice bath within a few hours, or even a few days, after your half marathon can help speed up your recovery. If you can’t tolerate an ice bath or don’t have access to a bathtub, fill a pail or garbage can with ice and water and at least ice down your feet and lower legs. And use ice packs on sore areas, such as your quads and knees.

This I did not do, but I ate ice cream for dessert, and the bowl was on my lap, so that counts.

2.  Make sure you rehydrate.

Restoring your fluid balance is a critical part of the recovery process. Drink a combination of water and sports drinks to replenish lost fluids, sodium and electrolytes.

This I did do.  I guzzled two bottles of water after crossing the finish line, and continued to sip on H2O throughout the day.  Check. Check.

3.  Eat a healthy diet.

Stick to a balanced diet with plenty of good carbohydrates and protein to help repair and rebuild those damaged muscles.

 

Courtesy of the Wyndham Hotel of St. Augustine’s free breakfast from 6-10am.  And thank you to my husband for his expertise in waffle cooking!

4.  Resist the urge to race or run hard.

Give your muscles a break, an opportunity to repair themselves. It takes about two weeks to fully recover from a half marathon, so try not to run really long or do an intense workout during that time. Stick to shorter, easy runs or cross training.

My schedule for the next week:

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – 2 miles EASY & 30 Day Shred
  • Wednesday – 3 miles EASY & Jackie Warner & NFU Hike
  • Thursday – 3 miles EASY & 30 Day Shred & NFU Hike
  • Friday – 3 miles EASY & Jackie Warner & NFU Hike
  • Saturday – 3 miles EASY & 30 Day Shred & NFU Hike
  • Sunday – 3 miles EASY & Jackie Warner & NFU Hike

5.  Get plenty of sleep.

Sleep is crucial for the recovery process. Listen to your body and don’t feel guilty about sleeping a lot — it’s normal.

I went to bed early both Sunday and Monday nights.  Sleep has never been a problem for me, thankfully.

6.  Go for a massage.

Massage is a great relief for your muscle pain and stiffness — just make sure the masseuse keeps it gentle. You can also do self-massage using a massage tool such as a foam roller or Stick.

DO YOU HEAR THAT, HUSBAND?!?!?  With a birthday and Christmas right around the corner….

7.  Beat the blues

You’ve trained so hard, scheduled your life around your running, and now you’ve accomplished your goal. It’s normal — and actually quite common — to feel down and disconnected after the excitement of the race has ended. The best way to get over the post-race blues is to set a new goal. Give yourself a few weeks to recover and pick out another race. It doesn’t have to be another half marathon. Maybe you want to stick to shorter distances, like 5Ks or 10Ks, or maybe try a full marathon.

On December 1st, Dan and I are going to run in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk.  Also, I rewarded myself with this little beauty:

 

13.Fun Miles

Something pretty amazing happened at the Fancy Oatmeal house today: after being a couch bum for three days, I decided to set a new running goal for myself.  No matter what, I would complete my set goal, even if I had to walk the majority of it.  Today, I would run a half marathon.  No reason to put it off until the summer.  I can do it now!

And so I did it.

Let me repeat that: I ran my first 13.1 miles (in a row) EVER this morning.  My time was 2:07:29.

This wasn’t my only “first” today.  I read once that I would not need to start taking ice baths until I started running over 10 miles at a time.  Well since that happened today, I decided that it would be a good decision to try an ice bath as well.  I’ve read plenty of blogs about other brave Polar-Bears in training, but I was still one Nervous Nelly.  Mostly about the cold.  And ever since watching Titanic, I am apprehensive about floating blocks of ice.

I had planned, while en route to 13.1 miles, to snag a heap of snow from our front yard, but since the temperature gauge read 37 degrees and rain was pelting our house, I would have to settle with one bucket’s-worth of ice from the freezer.  I set the timer on my iPhone for five minutes and sank in.

It wasn’t that bad when I first sat down…and then I realized I probably didn’t have enough water in the tub with me.

As the height of the frosty water rose up over the tops of my calves, then knees, then thighs, I began to think that this wasn’t such a great idea.  This type of hazing as part of the initiation into half-marathon-dom is just cruel.

But seriously, it would have been increasingly easier and smarter to take a dip in the Bering Sea outside my backdoor.  Noted for next time.

Running for over two hours straight, dunking my lower-half in nippy water, and burning 1,500 calories does have it’s advantages: