You wake up, it’s Sunday morning, and you are tired and sore from yesterday’s long run. You want to head out and complete your Sunday “Recovery” run (or cross training workout) but you need a little help with your aches and pains. Here are a few recommendations that you can do to help expedite the recovery process:
1- Post-Workout Self-Myofascial Release
Self-myofascial work (i.e. using the foam roller) provides relief from muscle pain and soreness; increases flexibility and strength; accelerates recovery; and releases knots, trigger points and adhesions that can result from training.
2- Active 3D Stretching and Mobility Exercises
Complete a functional, 3D dynamic stretching program to help loosen up your body after a long or hard workout to expedite recovery and improve flexibility and joint mobility.
3- NormaTec Compression Sleeves
The so-called “magic sleeves.” The NormaTec compression sleeves are one of the best tools for increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation and speeding up recovery. Particularly beneficial after a long run, intense workout or a RACE, the sleeves use a unique massage pattern to provide dynamic compression to the limbs, thereby enhancing the movement of fluids. Even spending as little as 20 minutes can help an athlete recover faster than waiting for the body to recover on its own. While these are quite expensive to own, Finish Line Physical Therapy have three pairs for athletes to use.
4- Massage Therapy
This may be a “luxury” item for most of us but when it comes to training for an endurance event, massage is an excellent way to enhance both recovery and your overall health. Massage helps to release the soft tissue restrictions that often cause pain and inhibit movement. In tandem with regular stretching, foam rolling and mobility work, massage can promote better blood flow to help reverse the repetitive movements and daily stresses of training. Be nice to your body so it will be nice to you on race day!
5- Contrast Baths
A contrast bath is a form of treatment where a limb or the entire body is immersed in warm water followed by the immediate immersion of the limb or body in cold water. This procedure is repeated several times, alternating between hot and cold. The theory behind the contrast bath is that the warm water vasodilates blood vessels (increases blood flow) while the cold water vasoconstricts (decreases blood flow), essentially creating a “pump” to remove stagnant fluid from the area. Here’s a sample treatment protocol if you want to give it a try: alternate between heat (i.e. hot tub) x 3 minutes and cold (i.e. ice bath) x 1 minute for 20 minutes.