Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What The...?

"Yoga Toes" and compression tights, a great combo for recovery and healthy feet.
Coach Chris' funky feet after Sunday's trail run. Read more to get the scoop on what's up with that!

Recovery is crucial to progress: Quality nutrition, rest, hydration, mobility/flexibility work, massage/self-care, and meditation/time in silence all play key rolls in getting the most bang from your training buck. As you probably know, it isn't just the workout that makes you more fit, it's also determined by how well you recover. The same truth applies after a race (such as last weekends 1/2 and full trail marathon), how well you recover is key to how quickly you can resume training at 100%.

Training at PR Fitness delivers the goods which allows you to train hard on a regular basis and you are more durable for endurance efforts and you remain injury free. Yet it all hinges on proper rest and recovery; without it, sooner or later you will have to pay the piper (advice I continue to learn and follow!)

Much like tapering before a race, or preparing for a workout, how you recover is a very personal and individualized thing, however there are certain things that work well for everyone and you can research that on various web sites and training guides. What I have to offer here are a few of my "secret weapons":
  • Chris' Home Brew (No not that kind!) - It's a well known fact there is a window of opportunity, post-exercise, when the body is primed for amino acid and glycogen uptake, both of which are key to rebuilding, replenishing, and optimizing recovery. While this window extends to about 1 hour post-exercise, it is ideal to begin replenishment within 30 minutes, or less. I use a post-workout "home brew" which is a concoction of quality whey protein powder, mixed with cranberry juice (8-12 ounces), and olive oil (about 3 teaspoons). A tolled it delivers around 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of simple carbs and around 15 grams of quality fat. Occasionally I will use other juice or adjust the volume of ingredients, but this mixture has worked well for me and it tastes relatively good as well.
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements - while holding several health benefits, taking additional Omega 3's aids recovery.
  • Ice Bath - I don't do this as often as I should, however, it really works (as much as it REALLY SUCKS!). Just fill your tub with cold water and if you can stand it, throw in some ice. Say a prayer, hop in, and stay in for as long as you can stand it (no more than 15 minutes). Parka and wool hat are optional. If you don't have time for an ice bath, showering with cold water for a few minutes offers some recovery value as well.
  • Okay, now that you are all smirking and thinking what I'm thinking about cold showers, let's move on...
  • Foam Rolling/Massage/Tennis Balls - if you can afford the massage by a pro, do it. Otherwise, spend time on the foam roller and tennis balls. Priceless and super effective for getting rid of residue, shuttling in fresh blood and facilitating lymphatic function.
  • Get Inverted - if you can do headstands, do it - otherwise simply prop your legs up the wall and rest here for 10-15 minutes. If doing headstand, shoot for up to 5 minutes, followed by another 5 with your legs proped up on the wall.
  • Compression tights - While I use these during long runs, I also find them exceptionally helpful for recovery. Get some! Wear them around the house or while you are inverted. After a bigger event or when my legs are more fatigued, I occasionally will sleep in my Skins-brand "Sox" (yeah, I'm weird).
  • Yoga Toes - Perhaps my biggest "secret weapon" - and the most unusual. One of my former coaches turned me on to Yoga Toes about 6 years ago and they have been a mainstay for me since. At $40, they are not exactly cheap, however, I've had the same pair for over 6 years and, they have a lifetime guarantee. Toe spreaders help to properly align the bones of your feet which are abused when crammed into footwear for hours on end. Yoga Toes also help to enhance circulation, neural function, and they facilitate recovery. I can tell you that after Sunday's 5.5 hour trail run, putting on my Yoga Toes felt like getting a full body adjustment from a chiropractor. Click HERE to visit their web site.
So, that's how I roll (no pun intended): Post workout recovery drink, ice bath, throw on the compression gear and Yoga Toes, spend some time on the foam rollers/tennis balls, and finish it up with some inversion work.

Let me know what works for you, or if you have questions.

Be Well,

1 comment:

  1. Great recovery ideas. My only additional recommendation is to replace the foam roller and tennis balls with a RumbleRoller (rumbleroller.com) -- it's even more effective for improving muscle quality.