Important Tools For Recovery
As eluded to in the ‘The Top 12 Recovery Foods’ blog post a couple weeks ago, recovery is perhaps the most crucial and oft neglected part of many runners training regimes, especially those who feel in a rush to see results. Contrary to popular belief however, it is not the workouts themselves that make you stronger, it’s the quality recovery that follows those workouts. While it is true that hard runs and workouts are what pave the way for results, it is important to properly utilize recovery time to allow for the ‘broken-down’ muscle fibers to repair themselves from the stress of hard runs. This recovery time allows micro-tears in the muscle to heal and ultimately become stronger and more efficient than they were before your workout.
While sufficient amounts of sleep and proper nutrition will go the longest way in allowing the body the body to recover, there are other tools that can be used to promote recovery and keep the body loose in order to prevent injury. The following methods both promote recovery, keep the body strong in order to reduce the risk of injury, and aid in reducing post-workout soreness!
- Sleep and Nutrition: As mentioned previously, adequate sleep and healthy eating are the first line of defense against overuse injuries and fatigue. See the previous blog post for examples of healthy recovery foods!
- R.I.C.E.: This classic acronym spells out the best way to allow the body to recover between runs and workouts: Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate!
- Dynamic and Static Stretching: Keeping your muscles loose and your body flexible is crucial to avoiding many common running injuries because it helps to prevent potentially harmful muscles imbalances. Just remember: always warm-up with dynamic stretches and cool-down with static stretches! For examples of such stretches you can ask a Run Away Shoes member!
- Foam Rollers: These ‘foam logs’ are not only miracle-workers for IT band issues, but can also be used to roll out ‘knots’ (trigger points) in the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, calves, and the lower back. Releasing trigger points helps to reestablish proper movement patterns and pain free movement, and ultimately, to enhance performance. Run Away Shoes carries both OPTP and Trigger Point foam rollers! Use the following link for more information: http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/what-is-a-foam-roller-how-do-i-use-it-and-why-does-it-hurt
- The Stick: The Stick comes in varying lengths and flexibilities. You can use this tool by rolling the rod and its oversized beads across sore or tight muscles to essentially self-message your legs. Like foam rollers, this can help to combat muscle tightness and imbalance and to flush new, oxygenated blood into targeted areas. Use the following link for more details: https://www.thestick.com/
- Compression Socks and Sleeves: Compression socks and sleeves can be worn during and after workouts to achieve desired benefits. The special engineering of graduated compression helps to reduce inflammation and swelling as well as to stimulate the movement of new, oxygenated blood into the calves. For more information you can call our locations! We carry Nike, SmartWool, CWX, Saucony, and 2XU compression gear!
- Foot Rubz: While Foot Rubz do not have the same proven effects as tools such as foam rollers and compression gear, the small, green, studded spheres feel great when rubbed by the sole of the foot. The studs in the Foot Rubz provide a massaging effect and leave the foot feeling relaxed and loosened, especially after a tough workout or long day on your feet. They can be used while sitting down to watch TV or while working in the office. Foot Rubz are also available at Run Away Shoes!
Of course, with any recovery-related questions or inquires regarding the tools above, don’t hesitate to stop in one of our locations and ask! The Run Away Shoes team is always eager to share our knowledge and opinions!
–The Run Away Guy