I hope you all had an amazing weekend. I spent mine running of course, meal prepping for the next week, watching the football games and enjoying family birthdays. Oh and I threw in some time for studying and catching up with my nephew and sis.
It was a busy weekend. I have the day off from work today, so I am using downtime to catch up on blogging and other home tasks. I wanted to answer more of those running related questions from the twitter chat (first set of Q&A’s can be found here).
First things first: just because these things work for me, they may not work for you. They aren’t a cure all. You always have to try them for yourself. Just like with diets, one size doesn’t fit all. These are only my suggestions and what works for me and others I know. I hope it’s helpful.
Q1 – What are the best recovery supplements between lots of races?
First I am not a fan of taking lots of unnecessary supplements. I do find some to work great, but most are pricey and proper eating does a better job of helping us all recover between races.
- Turmeric – This is a spice, but you can buy it in pill form. It does a great job of fighting inflammation, as it is an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation causes sore muscles. You can buy the spice and add it to some of your meals. Great mixed into rice, tacos, mac’n’cheese and soups. It might give the dish a strong yellow look.
- Recovery Bits – These are spendy, but worth the money. I like Energy Bit’s products and what they are made with. Safe ingredients that actually work.
- Cinnamon and Cayenne – These spices are great for runners. You can take them in pill form, but they’re more absorbable when used in the whole form, added to food and it’s easier this way.
- Beet juice / cherry juice – Great juices to help speed up recovery and boost performance. Many studies have shown the benefits of them both.
- Fruits & Veggies – Believe it or not, changing your diet will do wonders. Fruits and veggies have lots of antioxidants and some are anti-inflammatory. They help replenish and restore the body, which aids recovery time. Read The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition, by Matt Fitzgerald. This book will help explain nutrition’s relation to recovery.
- Arnica – a great cream to rub on sore muscles before or after runs. It helps muscles recover.
Non supplement recovery options that work GREAT!!
- Roll Recovery – My husband and I invested in this and it has made a major difference. Works better than a foam roller, and more transportable. It really digs deep into the muscles and hurts like no other, but it’s a “hurts so good” kind of pain.
- Stick – A cheaper way to roll out the muscles and even more transportable. It works great as well. I used this and the roll recovery in between my legs of my ultra Ragnar Relay and it kept my legs fresh, or as fresh as they could be.
- Compression socks/sleeves– To be honest I wasn’t a fan of these at first, but now I love them. I am becoming a hoarder of socks. Many great brands make compression socks: Lunatik Athletiks, Procompression, and Zensah. Slipping these on before long runs, or after long runs helps speed up recovery. It’s made a huge difference in my training and recovery time.
- Foam roller – The firmer the better. I do this as well, just not as much as the roll recovery. It gets the gluteus maximus muscles, which the roll recovery can’t.
- Stretching – It may seem obvious, but it’s work mentioning. Stretching after our runs is vital.
Believe it or not these recovery “gadgets” are amazing and work. I was skeptical about my first foam roller and definitely don’t regret getting it. It helped prevent injuries and helped me recover from injuries. My compression socks have been amazing as well!! After receiving my first pair free as part of a sponsored run, I can’t get enough of them.
Q2 – What are alternative workouts when recovering from injury?
This depends on the injury, but here are my suggestions:
- Biking – This is low impact. It may not be wise with an achiilles injury or foot injury. It will help utilize some of the same muscles as running but not all. You have to do double the miles on the bike to get the same type of benefit you would from running.
- Swimming – Great form of exercise. Many different muscles used here, but helps maintain your same level of fitness.
- Pool running – If you have access to a pool and a pool running belt, this is the best form of workout when injured. Very low impact, but has added resistance. Same motions as running, but with less impact. It’s actually quite hard.
- Elliptical – In some cases this is safe.
- Strength Training – This should already be apart of your routine, as it will help prevent injury. Depending on your injury, you may be able to perform some strength training exercises.
Q3 – What are the best first marathon fueling tips, for sensitive stomach without gels or goo’s?
Again, just because these tips work for me they may not for you. You have to try different fueling options during training to see how your GI tract and stomach respond. First word of advice avoid lots of fiber the day of your race or long runs. Fiber loading is definitely not something you want to do. Too much fiber = too many potty breaks (if you catch my drift).
Also, if you have a sensitive stomach, it might be wise to avoid gluten, dairy and soy that is found in some gels and chews. Avoid processed sugars and artificial ingredients as well, as these cause unnecessary GI issues.
- I am not a fan of the gels or goo’s but I do find it helpful to stomach one before the race starts – I have tried this and it has worked great before marathons. 15-30 minutes before race starts, I pound one down. This way by the time my glycogen stores are gone, it will kick in. I can’t do them while I am running, but before the race they sit well. These are my favorite brands I have tried before long runs: Vega brand, Honey Stinger brand or Pocket Fuel.
- Honey Stingers – These are smaller than the GU Chomps or Cliff shots. I like them because I can suck on them and don’t have to worry about chewing if I can’t manage that, because they are softer. And they are organic, so none of the bad junk that is generally the cause of GI issues (i.e. artificial ingredients, bad sugars and preservatives).
- Energy Bits – I have tried these a couple of times and noticed a difference. Many love them and have experienced great performance using them, without any GI issues.
- Nuun – Great drink to supply electrolytes. Sip on it during your next training run and have some the night before a long run. No bad sugars or preservatives.
- Oranges – These are great because you can suck on them. So refreshing during a run and they supply a natural sugar.
- Picky Bars – Made with organic ingredients, no HFCS, no gluten, no GMO’s, no dairy and no preservatives. Made specifically for runners by runners.
- Oatmeal – 1-2 hours before your run have a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and cinnamon. Supplies protein and carbohydrates to help fuel the run. Others prefer bagels with PB or toast with banana and PB. Pick what works best for you and stick with it.
- Know when to fuel – It’s important to replenish electrolytes and glycogen stores after an hour of intense running, and every 1/2 hour after that. Every one is different. This just means to add some electrolytes and carbs. Make sure if you do chews or gel’s, you consume with some water.
During my training I fuel after 10 miles, and then again around 15-16. For the race I would fuel at miles 20-22 too.
Stay tuned for the last of the running related questions and enjoy your Monday!!
Be Whole and Be Fit?
What’s your favorite fueling product? Favorite recovery supplement? Favorite exercise when injured?