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!)
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!!
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!