Hi everyone. First off, I don’t want you all to get the wrong idea that my training for the Niagara Falls International marathon is all gruelling and long and disheartening, because it isn’t. I re-read my last couple of blog posts and I firmly believe they come across as negative and ‘poor me’ when I really didn’t intend for them to come across that way. However, when I decided to do the blog, I wanted to be honest and true to my feelings, emotions and, as you can read from previous blog posts, the ‘ups and the downs’ of training to prepare to run a marathon. So, I am going to make a more concerted effort to make my posts less depressing and woeful and more positive!
This week is the last week for my last big training run before I start to taper and wind down my distance, and I started to think of the various strategies I utilize to recover from my long runs on Sunday that allow me to walk on Monday and resume my training on Tuesday (Tuesdays my legs still ache a bit but that is the best run date I usually have all week!)
1. Foam roll. I can’t speak highly enough of the use of the foam roll. It has helped me immensely through my training and recovery for bike riding this summer and for my marathon training. There is a lot of emerging research on the effects of deep tissue massage post exercise as a way to help your sore leg muscles rebound, and the use of a foam roller is the easiest and most convenient way to get a deep tissue massage. By the way, I hate foam rolling! It hurts! I mutter cuss words to myself while rolling, but I can tell the difference when I foam roll and when I don’t! I use it on my lover body, especially my calves, hamstrings, quads and IT bands. Even though it hurts, I still go back to it!
2. Milk. I am not a big milk drinker. However, I have found that drinking chocolate milk after a hard long workout has also made me less thirsty and makes me feel better after long tough workout (versus not having any milk post workout). Once again, I drink milk post workout only.
3. Muscle Milk. I love this stuff. Muscle Milk is the name of a high protein drink that we discovered last year at a ten mile race my wife and I competed with our good friends in Newmarket (the Olsons. Great people!) and have fallen in love with this product. I drink it only after my long runs as having high protein after a run will help the muscles recover without depleting the protein already stored in your muscles, which means you have longer to recover from abusing your body. As my wife tries to explain, your muscles deplete the protein stores in your muscle as you exercise. When your exercise is completed, you need to give your muscles more protein to repair themselves, hence why this product (which isn’t cheap) is so valuable and useful as a recovery drink post workout. I love the banana flavoured product. The chocolate version wasn’t bad. The vanilla flavour was sub par.
4. Greek yoghurt. High in protein and delicious tasting. See above for reasons why I eat it (high in protein).
5. Ice baths. I just started these and I strongly dislike them. But, I have been having some calf soreness, some Achilles soreness and some ankle pain, and when I put them in cold water, they tend to recover faster than when I don’t! I tried the immersion method, but am too much of a wuss for that. I prefer the bucket of cold water and ice method for my lower legs!
6. Hot bath. The hotter that my body can take, the better. These don’t necessarily make my body feel better the next day, but it helps get my muscles warm before a good intensive foam rolling session.
7. Ice. I ice my knees, below my calf and my right Achilles after long runs. It helps immensely with recuperation. Plus, I get time to sit, relax and decompress from the long run when icing my legs. Not a bad deal at all!!!
Well. There you have it. Looking over the the seven points, I still sense some negativity. But no one said you are going to love every minute of training and recuperation did they? I didn’t think so.
Thanks for reading and your support and the official countdown to the Niagara Falls International Marathon is on!
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/