Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How NOT to Recover from a Half Marathon

I am surprised at how sore I am after last weekend’s half marathon. It’s the kind of sore that makes it hard to sit down in chairs. I can make it about half way before my quads give out and I end up flopping down in the chair. I know that racing is harder on your body than training but this is still a bit of a shock after so many double digit runs this year.
I also blame my lack of preparation and recovery to my extreme soreness. So I present to you how not to prepare and recover from a race.

How not to prepare:

1. Plan your race for the day after a family funeral so you can have an emotionally taxing day, have a weird eating schedule and stand around in heels all day.

Source  *these are not my feet!

2. Don’t drink much water and have a whiskey toast the night before.

3. Stay the night far away from the race start so your alarm has to be set for 3:15 am the day of the race

4. Drive for 2 and a half hours before the race

5. Don’t research the race AT ALL before running so you have no pacing strategy

Then once you have so wisely prepared for the race go and push for that PR anyway, why not?!?!

How not to recover:

1. Have no plan for after the race, drink only a little water but hurry to your car so you can call your family and let them know you are still alive.

2. Think about buying a bag of ice to take an ice bath at the hotel but think it’s much wiser not to.

3. Don’t bring compression gear so obviously you can’t wear any.

4. Wait about five hours before refueling and include beer in that.

5. Wear heels around for most of the day to give your legs even more work to do

So now I have extra work to do to bring my legs back to life and avoid injury. I will use some of my favorite recovery tools:

1. Foam rolling twice a day

2. Yoga

3. Clean eating

4. Hopefully getting lots of sleep, I am not always a great sleeper

5. Active recovery (yesterday was a forced rest day because of travel but today will include yoga and tomorrow will include spinning and swimming)

What are some of your favorite ways to recover?


  1. I am all about the foam roller these days! It's the only thing keeping my legs alive, i feel like :)

    1. I totally agree Heather, When I don't have my roller or don't have tome to use it I can certainly tell a difference.

  2. Joint Formula 14, Arnica Gel on sore spots and stretching any free minute I have. All and all despite being unprepared and slower to recover, it sounds like your race was some spontaneous fun.

  3. I foam roll after all my long runs, seems to help. I am sorry about your loss.

    1. Thanks Dusty, I was just happy to get to travel out to Oregon for the funeral and be with my family.

  4. I'm all about the ice bath right now! It does SUCK while you're in it, but the decrease in recovery time is worth every second. Believe me, if it didn't work I would never get in one ever again.

    I ran a 16 miler on Saturday (in some unseasonal heat) that ended at my daughter's soccer game, stood around for an hour watching her play, went shopping for a new bike helmet for her, came home to clean my house and make dinner for friends and then sat around drinking beer and talking all night. Yeah, I paid dearly for those decisions the next day.

    1. Ice baths DO suck and I hate every minute of them but they really do help so much!

  5. Wow, that is an event! I hope you are feeling better real soon. My foam roller and I are great friends!

  6. I hate that kind of sore.......really hate it. I hope it passes soon. My foam roller is never far away, what did people do before them?!

  7. Your list made me smile because I've done a few of those and then wondered why the race was so hard! :) But, you got through it. And are smart enough to know how to take care of your body after the punishment! :)

  8. The use of magnesium supplementation can help alleviate muscles spasms/cramps and soreness from excessive use as in running. I found a great link that goes in more detail about the importance of magnesium in many physiological functions.

    Wanda J. Bedinghaus, MD
    Lakewood, CO