Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Post-Marathon Recovery

I was going to do my race recap for the Woodlands Marathon today, but I am just waiting on the professional photos. I should be getting the photo of me crossing the finish line for free, but there is one that Long and I took on the course that I really want to see because I will probably buy it. I don’t usually purchase the professional photos, but this one should be pretty awesome!

So, instead of a recap, I am going to write about how recovery is going after my very first marathon. After the race on Saturday, I was walking like a penguin all day long – I had very sore legs, but it was undoubtedly entertaining to watch! I also learned the hard way that if you sit down, standing up and walking becomes even harder – like adding 10 pound bricks to each of your legs!

That being said, after a shower (my parents’ hotel was right at the finish line – score!) and post-race lunch, Robert and I headed home and I proceeded to lay on the couch in my compression sleeves while watching Hulu/Netflix. That is all I wanted to do for the rest of the day, but I managed to convince myself to take an Epsom salt bath in the afternoon. I thought about doing an ice bath, but was not particularly in the mood – my legs had been through enough that day! The Epsom salts in warm water felt amazing, and even though my legs were still hurting after the bath on day-1, day-2 was much better than it could have been. I had been informed by multiple people that day-2 leg pain was the absolute worst, but I think the Epsom salts helped a lot with that because day-1 was the worst for me.

Leilani was happy to cuddle with me all afternoon long!image

Eucalyptus Spearmint Epsom salts – for muscle relief and smells amazing! image 

On Sunday, I felt well enough to really get into stretching and foam rolling, and have been doing that consistently over the past few days – I have also been wearing my compression sleeves in the evenings and while I sleep. Surprisingly, my legs are feeling back to nearly 100% already – I must be doing something right! This week has been very easy in terms on workouts – I will run what feels comfortable by pace and distance to allow my body to re-adjust to everything in its own time, and to help some more, I plan on getting a deep tissue massage sometime this weekend. Tuesday I ran 3 miles at an easy pace and felt great, so Thursday I plan on running again. I also am going to incorporate yoga this week for some deep stretching. Finally, since my strict training regimen is over, I am going to get back to doing my core and glutes strength training DVD’s.

Love my Zensah’s!image

Foam Roller & The Stick – pure awesomeness for muscle recovery!image 

My next race is the Alamo 13.1 in San Antonio on March 23rd – not too far away! I’ll probably be conservative in distance for my long-runs the next couple of Saturday’s, and then run the race as I feel comfortable. I am definitely not going for a PR; I just plan on taking in the scenery and enjoying the time I get to spend with my brother (I haven’t seen him since Christmas, but he is continuing to do GREAT in his Army individual training – he is already an EMT and consistently scoring the highest in his class on tests)! #ProudArmySister

Moving forward, I will continue to do my best with recovery and not push myself too hard. I refuse to allow myself to burn out – I love running far too much! I would rather take it easy for a short time as opposed to getting right back to it, end up overdoing it, then thinking it is not fun or even injuring myself, and have to take an even longer break.

QOTD: How do you recover after a long-distance race?

20 comments

  1. You're so smart to have a good recovery plan.
    I can't wait to see your professional race photos... I always love those. You're going to be GLOWING in them :)

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    1. Oh man, they are all uploaded now and they turned out so awesome! I need to figure out which one I get that is included as part of my registration fee, then pick a couple to buy!

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  2. Congrats on your marathon and the great recovery you have been doing post race. I can't wait to read your recap. My husband worked in the Woodlands for a year while commuting from NH and I know the area pretty well!

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    1. Thanks! That is so cool that your husband worked in the Woodlands - it's a beautiful area. That's quite a commute, though, from NH! Bet he racked up lots of airline points!

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  3. It sounds like the recovery is going well. I did an epsom salt bath the day after Princess 2012 because I flew home that Sunday and my muslces were very tight Monday. Like you, I was walking around like a penguin.

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    1. Definitely going well, better than I even expected honestly! Epsom salts work a lot better than I thought - it's not immediate muscle relief like the ice baths, but it definitely works well!

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  4. Wow recovery is going awesome for you! After a race I like to get a pedicure because they always massage your legs and I like to take a warm bubble bath. I also wear my compression sleeves everywhere and foam roll as much as I can. I can't wait to read your recap!!

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    1. Warm bubble baths are the best! I need to schedule a massage so they aren't all booked up - definitely looking forward to that extra bit of relaxation :0)

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  5. Congrats again on the race and congrats to your brother too. You have lots to be proud of! What exactly is Epsom salt in a bath suppose to do? I've been doing it cus people suggested it but I don't feel any different. Does it relieve swelling or something?

    Wow, you have another long race coming up soon! You are awesome Lauren!

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    1. Thanks ladies! And I'll let my brother know you sent him congrats as well :0)

      You know, I wasn't sure about the science behind Epsom salts so I looked it up, and found this on the livestrong website - makes a lot of sense:

      "Magnesium is a primary component of Epsom salt. It is a mineral that the body needs and, unlike other minerals, is absorbed through the skin as you soak in the bath. The mineral helps relax skeletal muscles by flushing lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which may occur during physical exertion, such as a vigorous workout. Magnesium also plays an important role in the absorption of vitamins in the body. It also helps regulate muscle and nerve function. All of these effects significantly influence muscle soreness, which also affects muscle stiffness."
      SOURCE: http://www.livestrong.com/article/374005-what-does-epsom-salt-do-for-soreness/

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    2. Thanks for posting this! I guess I'll continue to use it when I can! -M

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  6. Congrats on the marathon!! That Epsom salt soak sounds pretty amazing! I'll have to see if I can find it! I don't do ice baths, I just can't bring myself to do it.

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    1. Thanks, Summer! You should definitely try an Epsom salt bath a try - you can find it at places like Walgreens/Kroger/Walmart/Etc.

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  7. Quick recovery! Cute compression sleeves, too! As for recovery, I sort of do an ice bath? All my races have been vacations, too, so I actually just go and stand in the pool where the water is cold, but not ice cold. I've gone in with my race clothes on (minus the shoes and socks) and stand to the point where the water covers my knees for as long as I can handle the cold. I know I must look like a total weirdo, but it works! Haha. :)

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    1. Thanks, I love the Zensah brand - they are great!

      That is too funny that you get in the pool with all your race gear on, but also very creative! Whatever works, right?! :0)

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  8. It sounds like your recovery is going great after the race! I can't wait to see the full recap (and I'm sure the puppy cuddles helped just as much as the Epsom salts!). :) Jess

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    1. It's going very smoothly! I figured I wouldn't be ready to run again for at least a week, but guess I was wrong lol! The puppy cuddles definitely helped just as much as the Epsom salts :0)

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  9. Aww, man...anxious to read your recap! Haha. But this is a fantastic replacement post...I'm going to have to second you on the fact that "The Stick" is a LIFESAVER, and I'd die without my compression socks. They really do make SUCH a difference! I'm going to have to try Epsom salts...people talk about it all the time, but I've never actually tried it.

    I can't even explain to you how idiotic I looked trying to walk around after Dopey, haha, so I'm totally with you on looking like a penguin. LOL. Honestly, not gonna lie -- in some ways, I feel like I'm still recovering in some ways. My runs aren't what they used to be...then again, most people are smart enough not to train for two marathons back-to-back, LOL.

    Sounds like you're doing great, though! I think we long as we take it easy and listen to our bodies and let them recover, then it's all good, right? :)

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    1. I know right - The Stick is a lifesaver!! It really helps get my upper leg muscles and calves a lot better than a regular foam roller.

      I bet anyone would be walking like a penguin after running 48.6 miles!! You are awesome for even thinking about a another marathon at this point! I really can't wait to do Dopey next year!

      You are so right. I am definitely surprised how quickly I am recovering but not complaining in the slightest lol! :0)

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