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Monday, February 6, 2012

What To Do (and some I did) After A Long Distance Run

It's a Monday and I'm at work (why shouldn't I be?). I climbed 3 floors (4 flights to be exact) to get to the office (yes, we do not have an elevator because we're health buffs like that lolz). There is nothing new to that except that yesterday, I just ran my first half-marathon. I'm sore. My knees are still wobbly and weak. I can still feel pain on the spot where I experienced the cramp yesterday.

But all that is not an excuse for me to miss work so I dragged my butt off the bed, fixed our breakfast (which was superb by the way) and went to work. I wasn't even too tired so I didn't bother getting a shut-eye on the shuttle bus ride to my workplace. I decided to just enjoy my running playlist again and imagine how great it feels like running on a Sunday morning. (ahhhh i am obviously officially over the heels hooked on this now)

So anyways, as I was wincing my way up the stairs, I thought I'm quite getting better at this. The climb up wasn't as painful as my previous post-running experiences. After my 16k stint last July, I wasn't able to get to work because I could hardly walk. But yesterday, I was doing really good. I was even able to do some laundry work since our househelp is currently on vacation. And I cooked all our meals (well we also ordered take out). I am starting to believe I must have done some things right this time to deserve some time major pain time off. So what exactly did I do?

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I read earlier that even if I already finished the race my body would still need a lot of hydration to make up for all the water I lost from the run (mostly through sweat). I thought one day was enough but turns out I still need to load up on water for at least 2 more days. No wonder I have still been feeling unusually thirsty despite drinking several liters of water already. I'm on my 3rd liter already and it's only 12nn.

4pm, on my 4th liter already. 
2. Immediate nourishment helps hasten muscle recovery. For me, it's a big tetra pack of chocolate milk drink and a big banana. I drink and gobble up right after crossing the finish line. Yesterday, since Tibs finished the race ahead of me he readied these up already for me to immediately drink and eat up despite being wet and cold (from all the sweat and water that I've been dousing myself with during the entire 21k course). I made sure thought I was all bundled up (I packed a sweater) so I didn't have to hurry changing into dry clothes. I've read that the first 30 minutes after you're done racing is critical so that's when you make sure you're providing your body the nourishment it needs to recover fast. I've been doing this for the last 3 races that I've been in and they really seem to work for me. I'm a lot less tired and can already move well after two days. 

3. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation (RICE). I've never loved RICE since yesterday. And I will keep loving it from this day forward. I slept with my feet elevated last night. And we took cold baths immediately after we got home. Both brought us so much relief. What I missed to do though was to put ice packs on our knees. I read that even using packs of frozen veggies to put over your sore knees/legs would also do the trick.

Other sports site in the internet also suggest having a massage and pigging out right after racing long distance. I have yet to try getting a massage and really bingeing on food (well maybe not just every food you see) right after a race but so far these 3 things were really helpful for me. I have yet to do a recovery run a few days after a long distance race but I will try to do that this time. Oh, I've been constantly stretching too (like yesterday I stretched for about 5 mins before retiring to bed and 5 mins this morning before I went about with my daily routines) and I think that helps too. and Runner's World have a wealth of information when it comes to running (training, pre-and post-race tips). Hop on over to these sites if you are seriously considering this sport.

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