The one thing I have found to be surprisingly difficult about this comeback attempt is that my body doesn’t recover from workouts as quickly as it did before. It kind of makes sense since I’m not as fit as I was over the summer, but I’m not running anywhere near as fast as pre-KFD and my strength training routine is no where near as hard as it was so it is very frustrating that I cannot recover as quickly as I’d like.
To speed along my recovery, I have been really concentrating on stretching properly after each workout and using a foam roller or stick to massage any soreness in my legs. Additionally, I’ve been eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains in an attempt to fuel and refuel correctly. Most importantly I’ve been sleeping for an extra hour or so each night in order to give my body more time to recover.
Last week I wasn’t paying as close attention to my mileage as I should have and ended up running 36.75 miles total. I had only done 30 miles the previous week and the 20% increase in miles combined with the new strength training routine really did a number on my legs. I struggled through Saturday morning’s long run on dead legs and ended up cutting the route short for a total of 10.25 miles. My hip flexors were pretty tight throughout the run and my legs felt especially heavy the last three miles.
I could feel my legs getting tighter and increasingly sore as I enjoyed my usual post-long run coffee with my Saturday morning running group and by the time we left the coffee shop, I knew I needed an ice bath. There is debate on whether ice baths are really necessary for recovery, but I find that they really help prevent soreness in my legs after long runs and they help the legs get going again much faster than if I don’t take ice baths. On the other hand, sitting in a tub full of ice water is not at all enjoyable so I don’t take an ice bath if I feel like my legs can recover without one. Last Saturday, I knew that if I didn’t take an ice bath I would be in pain for the rest of the weekend so I stopped by Safeway on my way home and bought two large bags of ice.
To prep for the ice bath, I made myself a cup of hot chocolate to drink while I soak in the ice.
Then, I filled up the tub with cold water and dumped both bags of ice.
While 15-20 minutes in the tub would have been optimal, I probably got the water a little too cold because I lasted all of 10 minutes. After those ten excruciating minutes, I thought my feet were going to freeze right off so I had to get out. Fortunately, the ice bath worked and my legs felt as good as new. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and surprisingly warm for February so roommate Alex and I, along with Emily and Greg went to a nearby beer garden for a liter of beer each before heading back to my apartment for some homemade pizza and onion soup. Thanks to the ice bath, I was really able to make the most out of a great Saturday afternoon and evening.