Recovering from the Long Run

Now that I’m up in the mid-teens with my long-run mileage, optimal recovery becomes highly important.  So what are the best ways to recover from your long runs?

1.  Refuel.  There is a 15-minute post-exercise window when your muscles will absorb glycogen maximally.  Take advantage of this by having a bottle of a carb loaded drink handy after your run.  My drink of choice is low-fat chocolate milk.  It has the ideal ratio of carbs to protein (4:1)  to refuel your muscles post-workout.  Plus it tastes good, and makes me feel like a kid again!  Other options are sports drink, protein recovery drinks, or if your stomach can tolerate solid food, a bagel or banana and peanut butter.

2. Re-Hydrate Hopefully you stayed adequately hydrated during your run, but even if you did you will need to focus on replenishing lost fluids.  Sports drink are a good option because they hydrate and replenish lost electrolytes.  Rule of thumb: continue to drink fluids until urine is clear.

3. Ice. Jumping in an ice-bath or cold lake post-run can help speed recovery by reducing inflammation in the legs.  You can also just let the cold water run on your legs in the shower.  If you have particularly sore areas or are recovering from an injury, massage with an ice cup is a good idea.

4. Stretch and roll.  One of the keys of my post-run recovery is stretching out muscles that have tightened up and massage with a foam roller.  Legs up the wall is also a favorite post long-run pose to help remove achiness and fatigue from your legs.

5. Compression.  Wearing compression socks is one of my favorite post long-run recovery tricks.  Studies show they can help reduce post-workout muscle soreness by increasing circulation to promote healing.

16 miles on the Bug Line Trail

My husband any I logged 15+  miles on the Bug Line Trail today.  This was our first run on the Bug Line, and we have been missing out!  The trail did live up to its name, we got eaten alive, when we made brief stops.  This however, was a small price to pay for the quiet, shady serenity of this trail.  With a soft and flat pea gravel surface the Bug Line will easily become one of our favored long-run routes.  Word to the wise – bring extra water to plant along the trail.  Although we did manage to find a porta-potty at an adjacent park, we did not locate any water fountains or pumps along our way.  If you live in the Milwaukee area, and have not run, walked or biked the Bug Line, put it on your to-do list!  You won’t be disappointed.  Click here for more info on the Bug Line Trail.bugline trail

Pewaukee Relay Around the Lake

On Sunday I participated in the First Annual Pewaukee Relay Around the Lake.  The 16.5-mile course was divided into 5K segments for relay teams.  I ran the last leg for my team, the Sole Sisters. This was my first relay ever, and I have to say I truly enjoyed the comraderie and team spirit of the event.

There were also several individual runners doing the whole 16.5 miles solo. (It’s possible a few of them  finished before the Sole Sisters.)   The organizers timed this event very well for people training for fall marathons.  I had run 14 miles the previous day, but will definitely keep this in mind for a training run next year.  I love any opportunity to run sans hydration belt!

The event’s purpose was to raise money for the Pewaukee High Scool Cross-Country Program.  I highly recommend putting it on your race calendar for next year!

Way to go Sole Sisters!