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Recovery tips for masters runners

By Henry Howard

As I write this, I am in peak training for a challenging marathon in six weeks. And peak may be the most appropriate word as the Blue Ridge Marathon, which bills itself as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon,” offers 4,800 feet of gain.

I live in a pretty flat area so finding hills I can access takes some creativity. There are some steep hills in the downtown area, which are five miles from where I live. On my long runs, I occasionally drive there and turn the downtown streets into my personal rolling hills training course. Other times, I head to the trails where I do a series of loops of hills, that are less than a half mile apart. During my 12- to 16-mile or so training runs there, I’ve done up to about 50 of these hill repeats.

Even so, I’m lucky to average more than 120 feet of gain per mile. That’s about two-thirds of the average per mile of my upcoming marathon.

Still, the 120 feet per miles represents more than double what I generally get on an average weekday run. I’ve been using my Bob and Brad Leg Massager, designed by physical therapists, to help my legs recover from the pounding.

After my long weekend runs, I prepare a healthy meal, sit down on the couch and use the leg massager's adjustable Velcro straps to get the proper fit. The larger wrap covers the calves and feet, while another one goes around each thigh.

Once the leg massager is turned on, it immediately begins to work. And it automatically shuts off after 15 minutes.

The air compression technology works to release muscle tension, pain and soreness, while promoting blood flow, eliminating swelling and enhancing relaxation. There are four different intensities and four different modes, depending on your needs.

At the same time, it offers a heat option that offers two options: low for daily care and high for increasing blood flow.

Here are some other tools to use for promoting recovery:

Nutrition and hydration: I use Gnarly Nutrition’s Vegan Protein Powder as a clean, healthy way to get in the protein (20 grams per serving) and carbs (16 grams) I need post-workout. I also use Honey Stinger’s Peanut Sunflower Nut and Seed Bar in the same way. The bars are packed with 14 grams of protein and 21 grams of carbs.

Foam rolling. About 10 minutes each night of loosening up the leg muscles works well to recover from my daily run.

Using a massage gun. My Ekrin 365 massage gun works well with its four different adjustable heads. The carrying case is constructed well and the massage gun is TSA-approved for flights.

Compression socks. PRO Compression socks are not just colorful, they fit well and promote recovery after a long run or hard workout.

Dry needling. I’ve had an ongoing issue with my lower legs and feet, which has been greatly helped by regular maintenance from my physical therapist. Dry needling can be “ouchy” but there is a healing power when the needle loosens tension in tight muscles, thereby allowing me to run with a normal gait.

As a coach, I have all of my athletes do cross-training as a way to release muscle tension, promote recovery and strengthen areas needed for strong running performance. Yoga, biking, hiking and swimming are all great forms of cross-training.

If you are interested in having a coach help you reach your goals, I’d be happy to have a no-obligation, free coaching call to see if we would be a good fit. Here’s where to contact me.


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