Disney Princess Half Marathon

Recovery Is An Art - What I Learned From Running the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon (Part 4)

Friday, March 24, 2017

How I went from half marathon to tourist with NO painOne of the things you learn through training for an endurance event is that your attention - or lack thereof - to your recovery process has the ability to either get you moving right away or land you on the couch for days after your long runs. 

Given the fact that I was running 13 miles at the BEGINNING of my week-long vacation to Florida, I did NOT want to be laid up for days (or even one day) after the race.  I mean, Harry Potter and Cinderella and Rod Serling (my FAVORITE ride is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror) were all awaiting me.  I was NOT going to be miserable!!

So I researched.  And I studied.  And I tried techniques.  
  • Ice bath?  Um, no.
  • Cold shower.  Just...no.  I get the whole science behind cold recovery, but, um, no.
  • Professional massage.  Oh, how I wish I could do this at Disney.  Alas, money was an issue, and I was unable to swing a professional massage while I was in Orlando.
  • NSAIDS (like motrin/ibuprofen).  I have a love/hate relationship with NSAIDS.  I think they definitely have their purpose; and if I would have been in pain in the parks, I would have taken them FOR SURE.  However, being a nerd in the healthcare field, I know how NSAIDS work - they suppress inflammation.  I also know that inflammation is NOT the enemy!  It is actually a helper; and as a rule, I don't take NSAIDS for exercise-induced pain if I can help it.  Thankfully, I didn't need them.  :)
I wasn't crazy about any of those solutions to post-race soreness, but I *DID* find some strategies that worked very very well for me.  So well, in fact, that my legs simply felt tired on Sunday after the race.  No pain whatsoever.  And I was easily able to devour the parks over the next week.  Here's exactly what *I* did:  (note:  may include affiliate links)
  • Vaseline Petroleum Jelly  - Throughout training, I had this area on my foot that *always* developed a blister after any run greater than 8 miles.  However, I SWEAR Vaseline is a miracle drug because EVERY TIME I used it on that area, the blister would be completely healed by my next scheduled run (Tuesdays).  As was typical, after the half marathon, I had a "beautiful" blister on the arch of my foot.  So the first thing I did after the race?  The shoes and socks went off, and the foot got slathered with Vaseline.  As for what I wore instead of my running shoes...
  • OOFOS Sandals - These "stylish" sandals (pictured above) were an extremely important piece of recovery for me.  All right, all right...who am I kidding, they're crazy ugly...haha.  But thankfully, I was not wearing them to win any beauty contests.  Anyway, these sandals are like slipping your feet into the most supportive fluffy pajamas ever.  Their design really takes pressure off typical running hotspots, AND it also gives just enough to be soft while still providing perfect support.  I had read about these sandals and honestly didn't believe they could be nearly as amazing as everyone said, but I'm here to tell you:  they 100% are!
  • Back at the resort, the next thing on my agenda was FOOD.  Now, I wasn't picky; I just wanted something fast and full of carbs.  Simple carbs were best for that glycogen replenishment.  We ended up getting something from the food court at our resort and ate it quickly.  I was truthfully fading fast!
  • In the room, despite being exhausted from waking up at 2:30AM for the race, I KNEW there was one more thing before sleep that I HAD to do:  a hot bath with 2 cups of epsom salts.  Epsom salts aren't truly salt like most people think.  There's no sodium.  Epsom salts are made from magnesium - the miraculous element that takes away the body's exertional soreness (or at least, that's what *I* have found to be true).  The goal is to stay in the bath as long as possible (I typically take up to 1 hour baths), but I only made it around half an hour before I found myself nodding off in the tub (not the safest thing I've ever done).
  • SLEEP - Time to catch up on those zzz's I lost.  It's also prime body recovery time.  All I know is I was out when my head touched the pillow, and I barely moved for several hours.  This is not the time to try and stay awake through the day.  Your body NEEDS to repair itself, and repair happens during sleep.
  • Compact Foam Roller - Yes, this sucker took up some space in my suitcase, but it's more compact than my full-size one at home, and it was completely worth it to have it for recovery.  Yes, it hurts, but that pain *now* means no pain later.  I rolled out both hips, calves, quads, hamstrings and shins.  
  • Finally, the day of the race itself?  We took it easy.  I listened to my body and what it was ready for, and we just went easy.  We still walked around Disney Springs.  But for the evening's festivities?  We simply did dinner and a movie. And the next morning?  I was ready for Universal Studios.
From half marathon to tourist with no pain

What about you?  Have you found any tried and true recovery techniques?  Leave them in the comments below!

You Might Also Like



Like Me on Facebook