Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Focusing On Recovery & Tart Cherry Juice

It's been three days since Holiday Lake and to be honest, I feel pretty great!

I opted to run the day after (twice actually) for some active recovery. I find getting my legs moving the day after to be more helpful than taking off. Jordan and I ran a very easy 5 miles around town. It was slow and I walked when I felt like it. This run hurt a lot, but about an hour later I was feeling really energized. I logged my miles and took a peek at my weekly mileage, noticing that I once again fell just shy of 60 miles for the week. Last year I broke the 50 mile barrier and it's been a goal of mine since then to break into the 60's. So I did what any other sane runner would do the day after a 50k... I sucked it up went running again! The nice weather certainly provided some good motivation, and this second run of 4 miles actually felt MUCH better. I just enjoyed the surroundings and was not worried about pace.

Monday I took off (and worked 10 hrs straight... fun stuff)

Tuesday I ran 3 miles easy.

Otherwise, here's a look into how I've been recovering:

Ice baths: Though I hate them, they've been a critical element to my recovery over the past year. I know, doesn't that sound awful? It really is... I hate them, but I do it anyways because I find they're really effective. I say, to each their own. But trust me, I would not be torturing myself with cold water if it weren't helping me and keeping me injury free.

Foam rolling and stretching: Because naturally my muscles are still very tight and sore!

Nutrition: My goal post-race was to get right back on track immediately after the race. I took Saturday to eat whatever I wanted, then Sunday went right back to the norm. One critical nutritional element in my recovery has been a tart cherry smoothie:

Tart Cherry Recovery Smoothie


8oz soy or almond milk (the more vanilla the better!)
1/2 frozen banana
2 tbsp tart cherry concentrate
1 serving choice of protein powder
1/4 c. frozen cherries


Blend until smooth. If you're really ambitious, I dare you to add a handful of spinach!!

Why cherries? 

Increasing evidence is showing that tart cherries with their high antioxidant content may play a role in reduction of inflammation post-exercise and reduce recovery time. Other fruits with high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory effects include: raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Fruit for the win!!

So there you have it. You don't need a magical supplement or protein powder to aid your muscles in faster recovery. Instead, choose to incorporate more tart cherries into your diet before and after a big race or workout. Enjoy a refreshing post-workout smoothie that provides a healthy dose of simple carbohydrate to refuel your glycogen stores quickly and some protein to rebuild muscle.

On another note, my new trail shoes happened to come in yesterday and just so happen to conveniently match my Holiday Lake finisher's shirt! Guess that means it's time to get to work. Next goal: zeroing in on more trail running and learning how to conquer the climbs!


  1. Hi Kristen,
    This might be a long/ awkward comment. I met you once a few years ago at Backstreet's at a kind of graduation dinner for Rebecca Miller. I was with Andrea. Anyway, Kristal Poff told me I should check out your blog, and I'm so glad. I'm hoping to run my first full marathon this year, and I'm reading Hanson's Marathon Method. Any thoughts on that?

  2. I don't know a whole lot about the Hanson's marathon method, but from what I (just) read, it seems like a solid program especially for a first marathon. I think running sustained distances at your goal MP and some track work are definitely going to make you stronger. It's hard for me to judge personally about the longest run being 16 miles. Honestly, it's very individualistic in what works best! Glad you enjoy the blog and hope you enjoy the journey!

  3. Ever think that the reduce soreness due to icebathing may be shortening the adaptation phase of your body to the previous training? Yes it lets you train more, but that is not when you get stronger...the strength comes from recovery. I think it's possible that reducing soreness with ice baths may be reducing gains.

  4. @ 400 Watts: It's very well possible and something I will consider. It's not something I am doing everyday, and it's main purpose is more injurt prevention than shortening my recovery time. There's really no conclusive evidence (research) that I've found to support either side. Again, everyone is a little different.

  5. I have been using tart cherry juice concentrate for years. It is very delicious and it can be easily incorporated in anything you eat, or drink. tart cherry juice benefits


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