Tag Archives: foam rolling

Marathon Recovery + What’s Next

This week has been all about marathon recovery.  The 2016 One City Marathon is a thing of the past and I’ve spent the last few days focusing on healing my body.  Especially those blisters.  Even though I know what to do when my muscles need some help I wasn’t sure what to expect during my marathon recovery period.  Would I be beat up for days?  Would I feel like getting back into the groove quickly?  Well, here’s what this week looked like:marathon recovery

Marathon Recovery Day 1 (Monday):  Gross blisters still hurt.  Legs felt OK except for calves and behind knee.  Walked on my heels most of the day, lots of foam rolling, bike to and from work, air squats and push-ups.
Day 2:  Blisters somewhat better.  Half mile very easy jog, lots of foam rolling, 5 mile bike.  Calves and knee still tight but able to walk normally with left foot.
Day 3:  Blisters dried out and itchy.  Bike to and from work, easy jog three miles with a few twinges of knee pain from unhappy right foot.
Day 4:  Bike 5 miles, mobility and foam rolling.  Blisters continue to dry out and I’m able to walk normally!
Day 5:  Run 3 easy miles.  Mobility and foam rolling.

Now that I’m moving onto the second stage of marathon recovery, easing back into some light training, I’m all eyes forward.  I’ll be pacing the 10 minute group at Hot Chocolate 15k Philadelphia on 2 April, taking an easy 13+ mile jog at Rock the Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri (State 19), hitting the ODU Big Blue 5k hard and wrapping up a month of ‘racing’ pacing the Coastal Delaware Half Marathon 1:55 group.

A quiet May follows that super busy April before starting to base build through the summer for  a busy fall on the schedule with PR attempts at both the 10k and half marathon distances.  I’m excited to get back to the 13.1, 10k and 5k distances.  Marathon training definitely helped me become a stronger runner and I learned a lot about how and when to push myself in a training cycle.


What does your marathon recovery look like?  Are you racing in April?

Fit Friday: Between Race Recovery

Starting next weekend I have three races in three weekends at two distances (trail 5k, road 13.1) and I’d like to PR both types of events.  Recovery is going to play a big role in how successful I am at these events, especially since I’ll be flying to and from the first one.  Whats works best for everyone’s recovery is different but this is my plan to keep my body ready for hard work.  With the ultimate goal of replenishing what I used during each race and repairing any damaged muscles, here are the four pieces that make up my recovery routine over the next few weeks.

Food.  Burning through 1,500 calories or more over a half marathon race morning can definitely deplete glycogen stores and refilling them properly is very important.  After crossing the finish line, I’ll immediately grab some easy to digest carbs for my, probably, growling stomach (I don’t eat anything during a half marathon race).  Next up will be 10-15 grams of protein and healthy fats through peanut butter, chocolate milk or whatever protein bar the race is handing out (as long as it meets my other nutrition standards: I know what everything in it is, mostly).  These quick post-race eats will hold me over until I can get to a bigger, healthy, filling and replenishing meal within two hours.

Fluids.  Hydration is something I work on daily by taking in at least 60 ounces of water and often working towards more.  Immediately post race, I’ll down at least one 16oz bottle of water and maybe a chocolate milk.  I don’t like the sugary sports drinks that are typically provided in the recoveryfinisher area at races and choose to refill on electrolytes through my quick salty carb snack (pretzels, if available) or the GPS Hydration I always carry in my race bag.  I’ll continue to consume at least 16oz of water each hour for three more hours post-race.

Foam rolling.  Before, after, and if I could, during.  My favorite recovery and stay ready tool, I love my foam roller and its friend, the lacrosse ball.  There are lots of benefits to foam rolling aside from the fact that it feels good.  It’ll get blood and oxygen flowing back to my needy muscles by breaking up any adhesions created by my race effort, help me relax and prevent soreness.

Compression.  I’ll be flying to first of these races and wearing my BioSkin compression gear on the flight will help keep the blood, oxygen and nutrition flowing through my muscles while in the air so I can arrive with fresh legs.  I slide, or tug, compression gear on for recovery after each race’s foam rolling session and again before boarding my return flight to keep my legs feeling good even when I’m stuck in a crunched seat.

That’s the recovery I’ll be doing after each race and on the days between as I run in three different states (two new!) in May’s first three weekends.


What’s your favorite way to recover?  What do you like to eat just after a race?

Play Week Two: IT Bands

Play Week Two was not one of my best training weeks as a result of being very neglectful of my recovery lately.  I’ve been stretching regularly after workouts, drinking at least 65 ounces of water each day, getting as much sleep as possible and eating plenty of the right things.  I have not, however, been including the most important part of my race season post-run routine in the last two week’s worth of sessions.  Foam rolling.  I thought about it lots.  I had a foam roller in my hand numerous times and failed to use it.  Much deserved, I spent the end of the week nursing a very mild case of ITBS.  Here’s how I handled it:

Monday was hot, hot, hot.  I had speed work on the schedule and hit the gym to get it in.  I did an easy mile warm-up then jumped into a hard and fast Michigan Interval workout.  The workout itself felt really, really good.  My turnover was solid, I definitely enjoyed the easy breathing indoors and I felt like the 800M recovery intervals were maybe a bit longer than I needed for the first time in eight weeks.  After a good start to Play Week Two, I stretched but didn’t foam roll, even though I thought about it multiple times.

Tuesday I had heavy front squats and knew they would leave me sore.  I rocked my squats, then did some core work and push-ups.  My legs felt like jelly for a few hours and I stretched but failed to foam roll in spite of having one in my hand a few times.

I woke up Wednesday morning with the legs I expected to have.  Sore and tight, they definitely needed the easy four mile recovery run I had scheduled.  I felt loose by the end of my jog in the rain and did play week twomanage to foam roll afterwards.  I then sat down to do some work and when I stood up, my legs were rather unhappy.  Rolled again.  Two hours of standing, dodging and throwing with several bouts of stretching and a few adult sodas at my Wednesday night dodgeball league didn’t help me feel much better.

My quads and IT Bands were still grumpy Thursday when I worked on my power cleans and strict pull-ups.  They felt OK while I was lifting but definitely not 100% and again, I slacked off on recovery and didn’t foam roll.  I didn’t even stretch.

I paid for all of my non-foam rolling post-run stretching sessions on Friday.  I set out for my 14 miler and bailed at mile six.  It was hotter than I expected which had me running a bit slower than I wanted.  Running faster is better for sore IT Bands and I knew pushing through another eight miles would just make things worse.  Not worth it.  I spent the remainder of my running time (55 minutes) foam rolling and using The Stick.  I foam rolled every hour until I hit the hay and by that time I started to feel better.

I foam rolled before Boot Camp Saturday morning and my IT Bands felt normal, but I was unsure about how they’d hold up over a run and worked out with my class instead.  After Boot Camp’s burpees and sit-ups, my legs felt pretty darn good.  They felt even better after a post breakfast rolling session.  Because I was feeling so much better, I thought about going for a run in the afternoon to get some miles in, but played it safe and stayed in.

I did a five mile pick-up run, plus warm-up and cool down, this morning to bring Play Week Two’s total mileage to 25 and without a long run, I’m happy with that.  My legs are feeling much better and starting with Play Week Three’s 15 miler, I have seven runs of more than 13 miles in the 13 weeks leading up to Myrtle Beach.  For each of those 13 weeks, I have to do a better job of recovering.  Good recovery was (is) one of my goals this year and I am failing.  Feeling the burn during a medium mileage week immediately after one week off and a second low mileage week is the reality check I needed.  I’m not injured and don’t want to be.  That means taking my recovery routine seriously and putting rolling before stretching.


How do you make sure you recover properly?  Have you ever had ITBS?

Rolling, Rolling

It’s my fourth day back in action after Philly, and yesterday’s unscheduled Two a Day was fun.  My legs were OK after my 6.5 mile bike ride, but tight after my run and it took a painful foam rolling session to get me fixed up last night.  I knew strength training today would help get my blood going again, relieve whatever soreness was left this morning and I woke up this morning for the most part ready to go.

With a little bit of stiffness still hanging around, I was dreading finding only one thing in today’s WOD.  Burpees.  I really, really didn’t want to see burpees on my to-do list.  My quads were exhausted, I have a long run coming up tomorrow and they’re not particularly enjoyable to begin with.  My hopes of seeing anything but burpees were quickly dashed when I pulled up today’s workout on the way to Beach Boot Camp.  Much like all I saw on Tuesday was Double Unders when I looked at the workout, all I saw today was a 14 minute AMRAP of Burpees and blah blah.  After Boot Camp, I spent ten minutes rolling my way to a big improvement and my quads were feeling much better as I headed into my strength training.

Well, the Burpees and blah blah was actually Burpees, Kettlebell Swings and Sumo Dead Lift High Pulls, and would have normally made me happy.  I like Kettlebell work and 14 minutes?  Come on, that’s nothing.  Damn those burpees for ruining everything.  Doing lots and lots of hip stretching, foam rolling and close to 40 burpees as part of warm up, my legs eventually came around and I had to admit I would survive.  I felt pretty good for the 14 minute duration of the workout, and when my left shoulder starting getting a little ouchy a quick shake solved the problem.  Strength training in the books, I hit the floor once again with a friendly foam roller and my legs are, for now, feeling much better.  I’ll stretch and roll again later to stay loose for tomorrow’s run before I get in front of tonight’s Hokie game.

Playing at Georgia Tech, they’re not favored in Atlanta.  Favored or not, they’ll hopefully look little better than last week and earn another win.  Tomorrow it’s back to long training runs with an early (7ish), but I’ve done earlier (5ish), 90 minute outing.  After that 90 minutes, I’ll train a few clients then head out with my last one of the day for her race pace run, giving this week its second two a day.  Even though it’ll be an easy run for me, it’s still mileage and a second workout.  I’m sure I’ll be just fine and am really happy with the back to training week I’ve had so far.  Finishing up with strong runs tomorrow and Saturday will put another seven days of Savannah prep in the books.


Bad Attitude

It’s Fit Friday and I’m ready for the weekend.  This week was pretty tough with ankle issues Monday, miscalculated speed work Tuesday, two hard workouts at North End Crossfit and a rough tempo run on Wednesday.  I had a long run today and a Saturday 5 mile race pace on the weekend calendar, but that’s not exactly how it went.  Wednesday’s tempo run was rough because my legs felt like lead.  Thursday’s strength training was a challenge with dead legs as well, and I knew I would be tight afterwards, so I stretched a little and foam rolled a little.  I should have done more.

I woke up this morning with aching legs and a bad night’s sleep behind me.  It was one of those moments when you know whatever you’re about to do is just not going to go well.  I debated delaying my 105 minute run until Saturday or Sunday before I even brushed my teeth, but checked the forecast while arguing with myself in bed and saw rain forecasted for the next two mornings.  I muttered something profane and decided to just get it over with.  My legs were tired, tight and achy, my motivation was all but gone and just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I let the dog out.  Going outside with the still cage bound and closely supervised Jordy dog, I immediately lost whatever inkling of desire I had forced up from my ‘it won’t be that bad’ innards in the comfort of my sheets.  It was humid.  It was hot.  It was sunny.  And I just knew my run was going to be ‘that bad’.  All the way through breakfast and tying on my shoes, I repeated this to myself and as I launched into minute one of 105, I knew I had done myself in.

My legs didn’t want to work.  At all.  Even after a mile, when they’ve usually loosened up quite a bit, they were still heavy, they were still tight and they were angry.  My Garmin 210 told me I was moving at a ‘slightly slower than I’d like to’ pace, but I felt like a glacier.  I was pretty sure I was only moving every other step and it was miserable.  Even though I felt like I was running through wet concrete, my first couple half mile splits reaffirmed that I was doing just fine.  By mile three I didn’t care.  I was done.  My core temperature was skyrocketing, I was having trouble breathing in the air with 90% humidity, not to mention the 82 degree temperature, non-existent breeze and beating sun, and was contemplating stopping to stretch my screaming quads a second time.  It was at this point I realized today is Friday.  I still have Saturday or Sunday to get this run in.  Great.  Running in the rain for three hours would be better than this, let alone only 105 minutes.  While on the move, I decided to change my schedule, switching mid run from this week’s long one to tomorrow’s 5 mile race pace run.  This was probably not the best idea, since I usually come out of the gate a little faster on a race pace run, but with my unhappy legs, I like to think that wouldn’t have been the case today.  With extreme effort I turned up my long run pace to a race pace speed and finished a brutal 5 miler in a time that didn’t make me want to break down and cry.

An amazing twenty minutes spent stretching and foam rolling topped off my abbreviated run and made my hostile quads, hamstrings and calves a little more congenial.  My attitude also significantly improved with the completion of the today’s workout and a muscle recovery session.  During this recovery time, I closely examined the weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday mornings, both with a 30% chance of rain, to choose the hour of my next self torture session.  With Saturday at 5am calling for 78 degrees and 85% humidity and Sunday claiming 76 degrees and 97% humidity at 7am, it looks like I’ll be rising at 4am tomorrow to run 105 minutes before teaching 730am Beach Boot Camp.  Luckily, taking off at 515am means I won’t have to fight the sun’s bright rays and should, unlike today, be able to keep my core temperature under control.  It also means I’ll get a total rest day on Sunday that will make all the self induced suffering worth it.  I hope.


Rain, Already!

They just keep hanging overhead.  The clouds.  With their friend humidity.  Ugh.  Refusing to allow a serious breeze through, the thunderstorms that have been sitting right above Virginia Beach yesterday and today need to get a move on and let it pour.  I’m not one for sinus problems, not even nature allergies keep me from playing outside (my feline allergy, however, can prevent me from wearing my contacts, breathing properly and cause me to need an endless supply of tissues).  This stage five clinger of a low pressure system, however, has closed half of my nose off to the wonders of fresh air and led to a dramatic decrease in my ability to breathe properly while running, making it incredibly irritating in several ways.

I woke up yesterday knowing my long run was going to be tough.  My legs were tired from not having had a day off since last Saturday, but I could deal with that, and set off with a pretty good feeling about how the next 90 minutes were going to go.  I was right, for the first five and a half miles my run was awesome.  Running at a pace exactly where I wanted to be, tired but functional legs, not overheating, things were trucking right along.  By minute 50, however, I was no longer right.  The clouds had rolled in and stopped both my nose and the breeze right up.  I tried everything I could think of to clear it out, but there just wasn’t anything there.  Once my breathing became shallow and I was unable to properly control my heart rate in the lovely 80 degree, 80% humidity weather featured Sunday morning, the remainder of my run was an uphill battle.  I slowed my pace, which helped a little bit, but the slower pace also helped me notice how beat up my legs, which quickly began to feel like lead, were.  At that point, with heavy legs and shallow, fast breathing, my dear friend Frustration reared its ugly head and I just wanted to be done with it.

In the end, a run I should have been unhappy with wasn’t so bad.  I was really proud of myself for pushing through, getting my minutes in, even if it was at a slower pace, and putting my Frustration aside.  After a good stretch and foam roll, I spent the rest of the day plastered to the couch with my feet up and the totally acceptable justification of needing to rest those muscles for today’s 45 minute tempo run.  Another cloudy morning dawned and off I went into the 79 degree, 84% humidity air of Virginia Beach.  Although half as long as yesterday’s outing, I was a little concerned my legs were still exhausted and that the increased pace of a tempo run would cause the same problems.  My concern was justified as the left side of my nose continued to be stopped up and discharge-less, but having expected it, I worked a little harder to control my breathing and, although the humidity didn’t allow me to sweat much, didn’t suffer nearly as much as I had 24 hours earlier.  My lazy legs perked up with an increased pace and I finished the 45 minutes feeling pretty darn good.  Now to get ready for Tuesday Two a Day tomorrow!


PS:  As I write this, that evil low pressure system has unleashed the thunder, lightening and rain and my nose feels like it is once again beginning to function as it’s meant to.  And that will be handy for both tomorrow’s speed work and strength training.

Parking and Running

It’s Tuesday, and that means Two Today, but yesterday only featured one workout.  A nice little Monday 3 miler at Mount Trashmore provided a hard run in some serious heat, but was far from disappointing.  Following up my run with a little FEI VB Boot Camp was a great cool down, and all of the campers beat the heat to kick their hill sprints, bear crawls and sit up‘s behinds.  Post workout, post boot camp, it was off to Jason’s Deli for a nice big chicken caesar salad and a bowl of their delicious chicken noodle soup.  A great evening!

This morning, Tuesday Two a Day was in full force.  After a beautiful sunrise accompanied by a fantastic workout with the Beach Boot Campers, it was time for my weekly dose of speed work.  This rounds found hills on the schedule, but those pesky hills are painfully difficult to find on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  Luckily, the parking garage right next to North End Crossfit, home of the second half of my Tuesday workout, provided plenty of incline.  I rarely run four days in a row, and as this was just that, I noticed a little soreness in my shins.  Between workouts, I foam rolled them heavily in an attempt to prevent full blown shin splints and think I was pretty successful.  The post shin rolling second half of the workout for the day was North End Crossfit‘s 9am WOD.  I was very excited to see 5×3 deadlifts on the board because it had been a while since testing my 3 rep max, but was a little less excited to see the next step was a 12 minute AMRAP of 10 burpees and 25 double unders.  The deadlifts went very well, and I was very happy to set a new PR at 3RM.  The burpees and jump roping went fine, hot and sweaty, but tolerable.

The last two days, and three workouts, have meant lots of sweat and fun in the sun.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s tempo run and the remainder of what this week has to offer!