Chapter Five: The aches and pains of running

When I started training for the marathon earlier this Summer, I knew it would be….uncomfortable. Last year, I ran a ten mile race in the Fall and at mile nine, I had intense knee pain in my right knee. It was like someone stabbed me in my leg it hurt that bad. I struggled with a run walk combination over the last mile to hobble to the finish line. That was more than uncomfortable. That was painful. Here I am, about 9 months later, a little wiser, a little smarter and still in some discomfort…however, it is better now than it was last year. The big difference is a few factors that have helped relive that post workout discomfort (or pain if you want to call it that).

1. Foam Roll. I hate foam rolling. It hurts. It causes me to moan, yell, say inappropriate words that I would blush if I said them in front of my grandmother. But it works. There is emerging research that shows that 10 minutes of foam rolling (aka deep tissue massage) reduces inflammation and can alleviate some of the pain and discomfort you are feeling. I really focus on my IT bands as I discovered this was the source of that stabbing knee pain last year when I ran the ten mile race. Here are pics of our two foam rollers. The blue one is the kind one. The black “Y” roller is the evil one that I want to hurt!

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2. Recovery Drink. When I am completed running, I ensure that I drink a recovering drink or fluid. This can range from chocolate milk, to “Muscle Milk (very high in protein)”, Ultima or G2. I find that it not only quenches my thirst, but helps in my muscle recovery the next day.

3. Drink Fluids during the day – I know when I haven’t had enough fluids in my day when I do a workout, because I am sluggish, slow and laboured. 13 cups a day of water is recommended for men (9 cups for women) and some days that can be challenge! But if I know I am doing a workout, I really work hard to ensure I have 13 cups of water in me well in advance of a workout. It makes that much of a difference!

4. Ice – this has been vital in ensuring that my knees and legs work after a workout. Throw on an ice pack on my aching knees or calf for 10 minutes, it helps dramatically versus the times I don’t use ice after a workout.

5. Protein shakes – Protein powder, almond milk, the blender, leafy greens and frozen fruit have become staples in our house. I swear by the protein shake and having one after a run or before a workout makes me feel better knowing I packed in a ton of food into a blender that I would have difficulty eating but no problem drinking! And it makes me feel good!

6. Sleep – it helps to rest those weary bones, aching muscles and hurting joints. 8 hours a night is recommended (Does anyone besides kids sleep through the night anymore? I know I don’t)!

These six factors have helped me focus less on my aches and pains and more on my times and feeling when training for the marathon, which takes place at the end of October 2013. Distance is getting up there and in the back of my mind I wonder if my legs will be able to take the pounding…but that is a story for another time!

For more information on Andy running the Niagara Falls Marathon in October 2013 in memory of his uncle, Brian the Great, or to make a donation, please see the link on the homepage of the museum website at http://www.niagarachildrensmuseum.ca/

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