Body Blog: Post-Workout Recovery

Yesterday, I ran the infamous Bay to Breakers 12K. It was an amazing event and the energy level was off the charts! There were tons of costumed runners (and un-costumed ones as well, if you get what I’m saying), the weather was beautiful and everyone was just so happy and excited to be there. Including me. I will never get bored of running the city.

My official finish time was 1 hour and 17 minutes, which is pretty awesome. Especially when you consider what was going on in my life leading up to race day.

For the past few weeks and even months, I have been bombarded with finals and papers and work and group projects, all of which didn’t allow me enough time to properly train. I mean, the last run I did was a 2-mile warm up the week before. And my last run before that? [Crickets.] I honestly can’t tell ya. As I lined up yesterday morning to run, I felt completely unprepared. In fact, I even woke up late (don’t ask). My body was in full stress mode just moments before embarking on this 7.45 mile race.
I crossed the finish line (go me), but as soon as I did, I knew the day would be painful. Like, really painful. No one’s body can take that sort of stress without being properly trained! I ended up walking another 3-4 miles that day (why not?) and when I got home, I passed out. I woke up feeling like an old woman, with body pains everywhere (including places I didn’t even know existed). Between my lack of training before the race and my lack of proper stretching after, I was completely tense and, in all honesty, a total mess.
And that’s where today’s life lesson is comin’ in: the post-workout recovery. It’s important. Really, really important. Even if you feel totally fine after a trying workout or a long run, your body needs to recover. And you need to allow it to do so. With these 3 steps:
1. Drink water. When you exercise, you sweat. This means your body is getting rid of fluids and you need to find a way to replenish them. If you do not properly rehydrate yourself, then you risk feeling faint and prolonging your (painful) recovery. And if your workout was especially taxing (like a long run).  opt for sports drinks that will provide you with extra electrolytes or sodium.
2. Deep Stretching. Allow me to introduce you to the foam roll, my new favorite piece equipment. It’s just a cylinder made out of foam. You pretty much use it to roll away and ease any tense muscles. It’s seriously such a simple concept, but provides major benefits. Foam rolling gives you a more intense stretch (it has similar results as a deep tissue massage), which allows more blood flow to your muscles to ease those tender little guys. But if you don’t have a foam roller (and don’t wanna shell out the cash for one), any stretching is better than no stretching. Give your muscles the TLC they deserve (after all, look what they just did for you!), and stretch ’em out. 24 hours later, when you can move without pain, you’ll be glad you did.
3. Eat! Immediately after a race or just an intense workout, be sure to fill yourself up with some carbohydrates and protein. This combo will repair your muscles quickly and leave you feeling rejuvenated. Plus, since your metabolism is still pumpin’ fast, your body will absorb the nutrients and calories more quickly and efficiently.
That’s it. These three things will help you recover faster so you can get back out there faster. Instead of ending up like me, who can barely type without feeling some sort of pain, somewhere in my body. Still, at the end of the day, I loved running B2B! This was its 100th year of existence and I felt honored to be apart of the celebration.  If you are aspiring to run a race or need a reason to visit the city, I highly recommend taking part in B2B in 2012.
Did you take part in this year’s race? Are you currently training for any other races? Let me know how you prepare for the big day!

One-Month Challenge: No Fried Food, Week 2
One-Month Challenge: No Fried Food, Week 2
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