Post-Race Recovery

Post-Race Recovery

For the runners out there, racing looks quite different this year. Some races have gone virtual, while others have been cancelled completely. This hasn’t stopped dedicated runners from putting in the miles. I’ll be sharing some tips on post-race (or post-long run) recovery with you this week.  

After a long run, the legs often feel tight. Here are some things I like to do to support recovery with my foam roller:  

Hip stretching directions:  

Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended, the foam roller positioned underneath your hip.  

Lift your body up so your weight is resting on the foam roller. Cross your left leg over your right for extra pressure.  

Begin to slowly roll your right hip back and forth on the foam roller, navigating your body forward and back with your arms.  

Spend as much time as you like to, depending on how sore you are.  

Switch legs and focus on your left hip.   

​Hamstring stretch: Same as hip, but reposition the roller to your hamstring, starting on one side.  

​Calf stretch: Continue with the same directions above but reposition the roller to one calf. I like to adjust and roll the side of my calves out, as well. Just reposition the roller to the side of the calf (inside and outside) after you finish rolling straight on.  

Quad stretching directions: 

Start in a forearm plank position with the roller under your quads.  

Bracing yourself with your upper body and core, begin to slowly roll down the roller until it reaches just above your knees. Then, roll in the opposite direction until you reach your hip flexors.  

Spend as much time as you like to, depending on how sore you are.  

When you hit a tender spot, hold yourself there for a few breaths.  

IT band stretch: There are mixed opinions on whether or not rolling out the IT bands is actually beneficial. I will leave that up to you; if you feel better after rolling them out, go for it!  

Hip flexor stretching directions:  

Start by lying down, facing the floor on the foam roller, once again in a forearm plank position. Make sure the foam roller is underneath your left hip flexor and your right leg is bent comfortably to the side.  

Resting on your forearms, begin to roll slowly up and down and side to side on the foam roller to target the hip flexor, paying close attention to trigger points.  

Switch and repeat on the right hip flexor.  

Upper back stretching directions: 

Begin by lying on your back with the foam roller positioned underneath your upper back. Your knees should be bent with your feet flat on the floor and your arms can either be down by your sides or crossed in front of your chest.  

Brace your core and lift yourself up into a shallow bridge position.  

Slowly start to roll up and down between your lower neck and mid-back, stopping at tight areas along the way.  

Repeat as long as you like.  

Please note, we aren’t trying to get aggressive with these, as our muscles are sore. Go gentle when working through each rolling sequence.  

It is interesting to note some of the benefits of foam rolling:  

  • alleviates soreness  
  • reduces inflammation that occurs during the muscle repair process  
  • aids in muscle repair recovery  
  • helps injury prevention by maintaining muscle length and remedying tension and tightness  
  • increases blood flow and elasticity of muscle tissue, joints, and fascia — the body’s connective tissue — which helps with mobility, overall well-being, and a smoother appearance of fat underneath your skin  
  • promotes relaxation  

​These are some things I like to do to recover from a race or long run. What do you do to recover? Comment below!  

And if you have persistent issues, call me and schedule an appointment at the clinic. I’m here to help!

The 3 Check Mark Game

The 3 Check Mark Game

It’s a great day to talk about YOUR ultimate health!  

Today, I want to spend some time sharing the “3 Check Mark Game” that I created. I like to use this game for patients who are coming back from an injury. The game is used to self-assess where they are physically with increased activity.  

The goal of the game is to look at different delayed versions of inflammation or irritation to the injury area and self-assess your healing progress. We will use the example of an ankle sprain or low back strain as we play the game today. 

The first part of the game is when you are starting to resume or increase activity after the injury. The question to ask yourself is: how do I feel? Does the area get more sore during the exercise? In the case of the ankle sprain or the low back strain, you’ll assess how that particular area feels as you work through the activity. You’ll want to start the activity again slowly and controlled. Hopefully you are working with your health care professional, maybe even me, to guide you. The purpose of this is to check to see how you are doing with resumed activity.  

If you are feeling sore or it is difficult to complete the activity, it’s probably a sign that you are not ready to resume or you are doing too much, too fast. At this point, you’ll want to stop and reassess the intensity of the activity. Maybe you’ll want to start with a lighter activity. But, if you can do the full activity the whole way through and you feel pretty good, you can check the first box! 

The second question to ask during the check mark game is: how does that area feel a couple hours after the activity? If your ankle wants to swell up or your back is feeling sore a couple hours later, then you’ll go back to the first part of the game where you assess how you feel during the activity. Basically, you are starting over with the first check mark. Maybe you don’t go quite as intense this time. If you are feeling good a couple hours after the activity, then you get to check the second box!  

The goal at this point is to feel good during the activity (first check). Then remain feeling good a couple hours after completing the activity (second check). 
The third question is: how does the area feel the next day? For example, you do the activity and your ankle or back feel great, a couple hours after the activity things still feel good, but the next day you wake up and you are sore. That is a sign that maybe you are still doing too much activity for the healing injury. Remember to focus on the injury pain. Not normal muscle soreness that happens when you haven’t used certain muscles for a while. You will know the difference if you pay attention. If you can get to the next day and still feel good, then you get to check the third box! It’s a good sign you are on the right track and can continue at that level for a while.  

When you are ready to try increasing the intensity of the activity again, start over with the game to assess if you are truly ready for the increase. Again, I recommend that you work with a health care professional as you return to activity, particularly if the injury was serious.  

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions on the 3 Check Mark Game. Or if you want to discuss a specific injury you are recovering from. I would love to help you any way I can.