The more we get into running and endurance sports and the more competitive we get with ourselves to set big goals and achieve our own greatness. The drive also comes with the realization that it takes ALOT more than just running shoes to get there. I think the main spot that alot of recreational runners lack in is the “recovery” aspect that is essential to success when pushing high volume and intensity. The Pros have it all at their finger tips – trainers, chiros, massage, nutrition, etc while the recreational runners are trying to balance FT Jobs and Running not to include the rest of life obligations (which pros have those too so I dont want to discount that i.e. The Bruces). However, for recreational athletes running isn’t our number 1 job but a hobby and sometimes we are lucky to just get in the miles so we all it good enough, but overtime if you want a goal the miles without the rehab eventually lead to overuse injuries. I have had my fair share of them before bucking down and making “recovery” a priority. It isn’t easy when your tired from life but trust me in the end game of endurance personal success it is so worth it! So here are some of my stable tools in my recovery tool box.
1.) Sequential Compression Boots.
- Basically these boots serve to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery. They work by using dynamic compression (pulsing) starting at the feet and working up your legs to your quads in a manner similar to a massage. There are various brands for different price points. Most famous are Normatec ($1600+), Rapid ReBoot ($1000+), to the Amazon brand at ($400). I recently got the Rapid Reboot from Valentines Day and LOVE THEM and are a total game changer for this training cycle.
2) Roll Recovery R8 Roller.
- The R8 has been hitting the instagram world by storm for quite some time. I was lucky enough to get one of these beauties to review through Roll Recovery as well as the Mat and it has not left my side since. The best part of about the R8 to me is the easy portability. It fits perfectly in my work bag and I carry it daily to help rolll out my muscles after hard training during my long ED shifts. It also provides the perfect massage technique and intensity for those places that really need it i.e. hamstrings, quads, ITB, and calves! I serously could not love mine more. I am also considering ordering the R3 soon as my feet good use some TLC.
3) The Foam Roller and the Stick.
- I have a basic Foam Roller and Stick and you can get so many varietes – firm/moderate/soft/ridges/noridges/etc. I just think it is important to have one or both. I use the foam roller for all over body rolling and then the stick for those hard to hit places with the foam roller i.e. Calves, Glutes. I also used to carry the stick for traveling as it is easier to transport. I am so dedicated to my foam roller I even brought it to Mexico and had a cheap Amazon version shipped to Florida for when I go home lol.
4) Dynamic and Static Stretching
- I am not saying I am 100% the best at this but I will say it makes a difference. A good read for a dynamic and static stretching routine is in Meb’s book “Meb for Mortals” and I would highly recommend that book regardless. I try to do some light stretching daily after workouts I am not saying it always happens but I do feel much better the next day when I do.
5) Compression Socks.
- Obviously I am an ambassador for Procompression (Code PRO17 for 40% Off) so those are my favorite but any brand of compression socks will work. I wear mine both during and after workouts but some people prefer one or the other. I would say they are an awesome recovery tool as they help eliminate that “achy leg” feeling after a long day of work or workouts. I wear them during my ED shifts to help with leg swelling/fatigue and also on plane flights to help with leg swelling. I am most definitely that person who is always walking around in compression gear even if its summer and I am shorts, compression sleves, and sandles haha I have no shame in my game when it comes to optimizing my fitness potential.
#6) Sports Massage Therapy
- This is something I generally will only indulge during the high intensity of race season mainly because of the time committement and cost. However I really should be better at priorizing myself especially as an athlete. I think a good rule of thumb is to get a sports massage 1-2x/month if you can afford it to get all the muscles mobilized and prevent tissue build up resulting in injury. However as recreational athletes we don’t always have the time or budget but when I am really feeling run down a sports massage is my first step is getting back on my feet in Grade A shape!
#7) Active Release Therapy (ART
- Last but not Least ART!!! This has serious saved my booty way more times than I can count when it comes to those “niggles” that are treading the line of injury. Basically ART uses manual mobilization to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. I use this alot with “overuse injuries” i.e. ITB syndrome, Hip Pain, Achilles, etc. If you want to try it out you can use this site to find an ART provider and also more information – you will not regret it!
So there you have it my Top 7 tools in my recovery tool box! Feel free to share you best recovery tips and ticks and let me know if you invest in some of mine!
With Love and Training,
❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)