Fit After Little Bits

eat harder

My Top Recovery Tools

on January 18, 2023

Well, I was doing pretty good at the whole weekly posting, but its been a few weeks now. I blame life. Haha. Ken actually went back to work for a local company so we are adapting to a little more structure and figuring out a new balance! My new semester started 2 weeks ago as well, so that has meant I have been tied to more work as well.

The past few weeks have been filled with work, play and workouts. Brooke started her downhill ski group, so she has some sort of ski activity Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Loving it, but still learning how to be places all week šŸ˜‰

My workouts have been a mix of the treadmill and running outside. We have a good amount of snow and ice, so that is always exciting. I have been skate skiing at least twice a week. Finally starting to feel less terrible at that!

It is really easy to choose the inside option for running, but I have been making an effort to do at least my easier or part of my long runs outside. It is much nicer when the sun is out-that is an easy sell!

So, a topic for today that I am spending far more time on and really haven’t in the past is RECOVERY. For the majority of my previous endeavors, I was less structured in my training. I always got in some important workouts and was consistent in doing some type of exercise most days, but I never really felt the overall build up and fatigue of training. There was the tendency to just get the workout done and then move on with the day. While I still am pretty bad at doing “all of the things”, I have taken a more proactive role in making it happen (something about running more and more miles per week). Everyday in my planner there is a little box that says “recovery” and I do my best to at least do something that would qualify.

As a runner, I think it is normal to think about stretching after every run-but it is really just as normal to let it slip. There are only so many hours in a day, right?! Many days stretching still takes a backseat (I promise myself to do better), there are still other things that I do (sporadic is better than nothing-or that is what I tell myself).

So, here are my top favorite forms of recovery, in no particular order….

Number 1
Compression Socks

I am probably a big weirdo but I LOVE the feel of compression socks. They come in handy after a big workout or when traveling. They just feel like something is giving your calves a big hug. For me, I definitely notice less swelling of my ankle and feet-especially after a big workout. For my long runs, I will often wear a pair. It just feels more supportive during a lot of hours on the feet.

Number 2

I had to bring my best boy in for this (I miss him so much) because he was such a pro. Sleep is such an incredible way to recover. It is FREE and so important for the body. Napping is something that I am incapable of (unfortunately!) but Ken and I make sure to get in bed at a reasonable time at night. We typically shut off the TV at 9:30 and head to bed.

Number 3
Recovery Boots

These things are incredible. As I turned 40 at the end of last year, my mom asked me to come up with something special for my birthday. Over the hill, anyone? These quickly came to mind and I am SO grateful. They are at the high cost end of my recovery tools, but I use them basically every day. While we watch TV at night, you can find me with them on. It is always a little sad when the session ends and they get turned off-they really feel that good! With double digit runs 2-3 days in a row/week, these things are game changers.

Number 4
Protein Shake (Food)

Eating when finishing a workout is so important. Our muscles need nutrients to repair and build tissue. Now, while this looks so official with a protein shake-it really just means food! Somedays it is string cheese or actual lunch or whatever I find in the fridge. Your body just needs you to eat something! There is a lot of research out there on the best options (carbs: protein ratios and such), but in reality-just eat something. You will feel so much better and limit the crash later. Or deep dive into the science and get really specific. Totally up to you.

Number 5
Percussion Tool

There are many different brands of percussion tools out there ranging in prices. My feeling on these is that they all do the same thing. Most of them come with different “heads” that allow for broad vs precise locations of torment-I kid, kinda. I have a love/hate relationship with this guy. It feels SO good on my quads, hamstrings, etc BUT oh my gosh my calves. I have to try hard not to get tears in my eyes. Guess I know where I need to focus šŸ˜‰ I think we have the Homedics brand. It works great for us-I actually tend to use this before a workout to loosen things up, but it is also a helpful little massage after or even on rest days.

Number 6
Hot Tub

We have a thing for our hot tub. There are a good amount of people out there who may use their hot tub 1-2 times a week. We are in ours probably closer to 5-6 times per week. It is so great for the lower body, but also the low and midback as well-I struggle with those with a lot of running. If you dont have one at home, a lot of gyms seem to have them as well. (Maybe the mimosa was not the best recovery drink after 20 miles of running while in the hot tub-but YOLO, right?)

Number 7

Stretching is the worst. Okay, not really. Once I get started, it does feel great. But what is it about it that makes it so hard to start? If you have an idea, let me know! I find that it works better if I pop on a YouTube yoga session. That typically makes it last longer than my normal 45 seconds. And I really do feel so much better after. I love Yoga with Adriene. She is on YouTube and it is free. She has classes that range from 7 minutes to an hour so there is typically a way to fit something into a day!

Number 8
Scraping Tool

This little guy came from Amazon. I have some serious issues with the tendons in my ankles and I spend a good amount of time using this with a little lotion to scrape them. If it sounds less than pleasant, you are not wrong. It really does seem to help though. I even work up into my calves. Such a good time.

Number 9

Anyone else terrible at drinking water? I am the worst. In my brain I KNOW how important it is to stay hydrated-especially after a workout, but dang. There is something about a giant cup and straw that help me do a better job. If my workout has been sweaty, I will often add some type of electrolyte mix in there as well to help rehydrate my body. At something like 26 ounces, I feel accomplished each time I finish a full cup!

Number 10
Foam Roller/Stick

Another tool that I love to hate! We have multiple foam rollers, but I have to admit, I don’t really LOVE them. I use them mostly to roll out my midback-it gets especially tight with a lot of treadmill workouts and skate skiing. But, these guys are more of my go-to. I find that they can be more specific in the areas that need work and I don’t have to figure out a strange way to hold my body to work on leg muscles. It can be really hard on the foam roller!

Number 11
Cross Training

It is funny to think about another form of exercise as “recovery” but it totally can be! With the soreness that comes with running, it is often nice to “spin” the legs out on the bike or trainer. It can also be nice to go out for an easy ski (or walk….). Mixing it up brings in new muscles and gives the running specific ones a break. I also will sometimes substitute an easy run in my schedule for another type of workout-it just makes the brain happier sometimes, too!

Number 12
Lacrosse Ball

On the lower cost side of the spectrum, we have the lacrosse ball. This thing comes in so handy for so many areas of the body. You can use them against a wall on your back, on the floor with your glutes and my personal fave-on the bottoms of your feet. This one hurts so good on the ever abused plantar fascia. It forever lives under my computer desk and I use it all day long!

Number 13

No picture for this one-but we all know what I am talking about! This would be at the upper end of the scale if you are getting consistent massages. While it sounds amazing (and also my legs hurt just thinking about it) this is not one that I do often. Maybe once a year? Sometimes Ken and I will trade off on each other’s legs! But if you have the means to, there are some serious benefits.

Okay, there you have it! Yes, there are still a ton of other things out there for recovery. From post-workout supplements to ice baths/saunas to who knows what! But these are the things I find myself able to do at least sometime during the week. Every little bit helps! Do you have any tried and true recovery techniques? I am always eager to throw new things into the mix!

Until next time! Enjoy that recovery (any maybe the workouts that lead to it as well!)

Last week’s workouts:
M: 4 miles easy, treadmill
T: 7 miles, treadmill (7×5 min efforts). 6.2 miles skate ski
W: 60 minutes bike trainer easy
H: 8 miles, treadmill. 7 miles skate ski
S: 6 miles skate ski (deep snow). 6 miles outside! 8 miles treadmill
S: 5.5 miles outside. 4.5 miles treadmill

2 weeks ago workouts:
M: 6 miles outside
T: 6.5 miles treadmill
W: 7.3 miles skate ski
H: 8 miles, treadmill. 6 miles skate ski
S: 15.5 miles run (treadmill and outside), 4.6 miles classic ski
S: 10 miles, treadmill

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