Sunday, May 6, 2012

Recovery Week

The Eugene Marathon has come and gone. After all the time I spent griping about being injured, feeling burnt-out and half-caring about the race, and just wanting Eugene to be a mere memory, it's done. Those four months sure flew by! (But at least I have some fond memories of the race.)

Anyway, now that the race is done, I figured I'd write about my week of recovering/not running. And to clarify that "not running" does not equal "sit on my ass while I eat and booze-face" (as delightful as that sounds once in a while).

What Recovery Week has Entailed
Three easy sessions on the stationary bike - This has been to keep my legs moving and flush out the lactic acid. Since cycling's a different workout, different leg muscles are used during it. (Remember my general philosophy: "There's more to marathon training than running.") Easy cycling's nice because it allows me to read while I exercise. (Yay for multi-tasking!) While on the bike, I finished Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (which I highly recommend), the June 2012 issue of "Runner's World," and read some of the June 2012 issue of "Running Times."

Two core workouts - Core strength helps runners. Just an example: If you hunch over, you're constricting your airways. Better core strength can translate to better posture, which can result in better breathing. (More on the benefits of core training later).

Two sessions with the foam roller - This is to relieve any residual tension. And while we're talking about foam rollers, I finally bought one of my own! My gym has foam rollers, and so I've just gone there every time I needed to foam roll. It's convenient when I have to go to class or meet with my thesis advisor, but if I have to go just to foam roll, it's not worth my while (despite how much it helps). So I caved and finally bought one. And then I caught up with Hulu while I foam rolled (again, yay for multi-tasking).

One session of yoga (plus another session of dynamic stretching) - Three days after the race, my right hamstring (or maybe it was my piriformis -- it's so hard to keep track when everything's tense) was still really tight, so I decided to go to yoga. And I felt better afterward!

One ice bath (two if you count the post-race one I took on Sunday) - Fill the tub about halfway with cold water. Add a bag of ice (I used a 7-lb bag of ice cubes the first time, and a 10-lb block the second time -- the cubes work much better). Get in and sit for 10-20 minutes. (I wore running tights and long sleeves, since we know how well I deal with cold environments.)

And last, but not least...

One shoe-shopping adventure - I went to my local running shop, and must've spent 1-1.5 hours shoe shopping. In all fairness, this included a gait analysis and shoe sizing, but still, I lost count of how many pairs I tried on. I'd put a pair on, run around the store for a bit, run on the treadmill for a bit, take the pair off, and then repeat that. Eventually, I narrowed it down to one -- the Saucony Mirage 2. Yes, you read right -- after 3+ years of running almost solely in Brooks, I bought shoes made by another manufacturer. (What can I say, they felt the best of all of the ones I tried on. Plus, my Brooks are still in decent shape, so I'll probably still use them from time to time.)

I haven't taken my new shoes on their inaugural run yet, but a diagnostic 3M run is on the agenda for tomorrow, so I'll have to try them out then. I'll let you know how they are once I try them out!

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