The Recovery Riddle

A minor setback paves the way to a major comeback.

True story – but in order to set the stage for that glorious comeback, there’s more to it than a good night’s sleep and a day of icing or even foam rolling.  The evolution of my running has seen many victories but an equal number of challenges – with maturity, I have learned many lessons the hard way but know now the key to continuing this journey is all in the preparation.  Although I still joke about the fact that in my late teens/early 20s, I would be able to get up and run 5 miles without any recourse (…after not running for weeks) – my how times have changed as I stare at my incoming mid-30s this fall just after the Chicago Marathon.

With several years of nursing the wounds, sore muscles and bruised egos from workouts in my 30s, I have found a regime that keeps these running demons at bay.

Ice for Days.jpg
The buckets of ice delivered to my room the night before the Marine Corp Marathon

Recovery Riddle

If you Google “recovering from sore muscles after workout” a virtual black-hole of credible and questionable sources of cure-alls will flood your search results and on top of the just the shear volume of resources, readers must then contend with the fierce debate over ice…

As a college athlete, I was used to that cheeky acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), originally coined by Dr. Gabe Mirkin in 1978 – this seems to have become the backbone (pun intended) of the sports medicine world and while many of us do not use all 4 components, we generally are conditioned to use a few to remedy angry muscles.

I was also taught to ice and re-ice and re-ice and re-ice and re-ice over and over again until the pain subsides – but even the doctor who conceived the strategy, admits that ice is really only beneficial immediately following a run or workout – (insert my best shocked face here).

Recovery Recommendation

…so after picking up my jaw off the floor and feeling like a kiddo who just realized the tooth fairy was a hoax – I sat back and took another crack at sifting through reams of recovery advice.  After (stupidly) running through tendon issues last year for the Marine Corp Marathon and spending months in recovery and physical therapy, there were valuable lessons I learned…and still live by as I prepare for Chicago in just a few short months.

Here’s my plan:


Your At-Home Recovery Kit:

  • Gel ice packs – a nice contouring ice pack – I love these inexpensive ones–> Ice Pack Link
  • Ibuprofen – not a sexy solve-it-all but this drug can help aid in the battle against inflammation – as always, with drugs, you should consult your doctor
  • Epsom Salts – you can find these at your local grocery store or drug store – I keep a large resealable bag in my bathroom year round
  • Compression Socks – I love the color combinations/look/feel of the ProCompression Marathon Elite socks (Link Here)
  • Light Weight Training – Try these Physical Therapy moves (from a previous post) and Other Strength Training exercises (also from a previous post)
  • Foam Roller – a runner’s must-have – I love this one (Foam Roller Link) but, like you’re running shoes, diet, and training plan, your foam roller is personal and I encourage you to try a few out
    • After you purchase – check out some of these You Tube Videos on How to Roll

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