Step 1. Upon arrival home, I immediately do a leg drain. This helps with the veinous blood flow to the lower limbs as well as relieving some of the swelling that we get from distance running. When we put serious mileage on our legs, blood pools, and stays somewhat stagnant. This contributes to the swelling and inflammation within the muscles. The leg drain forces good, fresh blood flow back into the legs. I try and stay in this position for 5-10 minutes and it helps pretty much immediately. Inevitably, I always end up with a cutie pie next to me. An added bonus.
Step 2. The ice bath. This is a necessity for me for any run past 14 or 15 miles. This can be painful initially but the payoff in recovery is amazing. The ice bath helps to constrict blood vessels which reduces inflammation, swelling, and tissue breakdown. They also help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of the muscles that we have worked so hard.
Here are my tips for a successful ice bath.
- Make yourself the hottest cup of tea that you can stand and place it next to the bathtub.
- Bundle your core and your head as if you are headed out to climb Mt. Everest. I normally wear 3 layers including a long sleeve t, a fleece sweatshirt, and a hooded zip up sweatshirt. I then wear the hood on the sweatshirt (tied around the chin and all) and place another hat over top. It's quite the scene, I must say. However, keeping your core warm is key in this.
-Get a couple cute assistants to fill your bath with ice. My kids think this is the coolest activity ever and love to watch me submerge in the ice bath with awe. They also continuously bring warm water and basically just like to sit and gawk at the sight in general. A family affair!
-I try my best to stay in for 12-15 minutes but 10 is my minimum.
-Get out, dry off and put on the oldest, biggest, warmest pair of sweat pants that you own. I end up in these babies every time. They kind of complete my ice bath ritual.
Step 3. Foam Roll! It hurts so good but roll, roll, roll. I like to focus on my IT band but definitely don't discriminate. Here is some good info on foam rolling and the benefits if you aren't familiar with it. Here we have my current roller. If you roll regularly, you will find that you need to replace yours every 6-8 months as the foam starts to weaken and break down. I'm due.
Step 4. Advocare Post Workout Recovery Shake. I can't say enough about this product. It was developed for athletes to minimize muscle soreness and speed recovery time. It is in Ohio State's football loccer room as well as many NFL loccer rooms. It's the bomb. I also take two extra Omegaplex to help further decrease inflammation.
The Post Workout Recovery can be mixed with water, milk, almond milk, or whatever tickles your fancy. I personally mix 2 scoops of PWR, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, and 1 cup of spinach in the blender. It's truly delish and never fails me.
Step 5. Pray that everyone is worn out from the morning activities and that they want to veg on the couch with you. My body can't ever really nap but just 30- 45 minutes of sitting down with my legs propped up works wonders.
So there you have it folks! Hope everyone is having a great Saturday. See ya back here tomorrow for some Sunday Sentiments!