Deep in marathon training, when I’m running more miles than I ever have (and no food is safe to leave near me), I have places aching on my body that have never hurt. A sudden movement in the wrong direction will curl my toes under with a painful foot cramp. How do I deal with the aches and pains of training without complaining? I still want my family to see running as a positive in my life – not something that makes me tired and cranky. So I have spent more time this round focusing on rest time and recovery.
There are many tools available for a runner’s recovery paradise, but since my kids like to eat, I’ve found tools that will not cut into our budget too much, and some were things already in the house.
1. Sleep: This is the cheapest tool available. Unless you’re a mom, and then it comes at a high price. Especially on nights of school programs, band practices, and Friday nights of “Why do we have to go to bed early when you’re the one getting up early to run?” So I try to cram in as much sleep as I can on the weekend by keeping early bedtimes. Lights out by 9 pm on a Saturday night – my social life rocks!
2. Foam Roller: It doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ve seen prices range from $20 and up. I bought mine at Wal-Mart and it does the job. There are lots of how-to videos online that you can use to pinpoint trouble areas.
3. Rolling Pin:
Just about the only time this gets used in my house is to make Christmas cookies. So for now I keep it next to my bed and work on problem areas. It’s easier for me to work with than the foam roller, and easier to remember when I’m tired and achy crawling into bed.
4. Golf Ball:
Another useful tool that I found around the house and keep in my nightstand drawer. I mostly roll it along the bottom of my foot along the arch, but it can be useful as a massage tool for specific areas such as around the shoulder blade or lower back.
5. Put Your Feet Up: Yes, I know sitting is the new smoking, and I do plenty of that while I’m at work. But I’m looking for a slot of time to stretch my legs out and elevate them a bit. It’s not the same as sitting, and my legs feel better when I do. Unfortunately, most days the only time I put my feet up is when I go to bed. I’m still working on this one.
6. Let the Guilt Go: This tool is also free, but requires a lot of
restraint effort. Some days you just have to pile the clean laundry in a chair, let the dishes sit in the sink overnight, and go watch a movie. Go to bed when you’re tired. The work will still be there in the morning. There will always be something to do, but this training is for something big you’ve been working toward. Don’t let guilt take over. Take care of yourself.
After the race is over, my family will be reminded once again that I like to cook them breakfast on Saturday mornings.
Happy training! Please share any other ideas for recovery tools.