battling “the crazies”

Jon and I run our first ever marathon on Sunday.  That’s only 3 days away!  It’s amazing…it feels like we just signed up.

Only 3 days until I conquer my first full marathon.
Only 3 days until I conquer my first full marathon.

Training for this marathon has been a process; it’s taken more than just a few long runs to ensure we are ready.  Right after we signed up in January, I bought the Runner’s World cookbook.  We started eating like runners.  I threw out my Sour Patch kids, and I traded my potato chips for homemade energy bars.  However, I kept my Diet Coke.  You’ll never take my Diet Coke from me.

Beyond diet modifications, our training obviously includes some really long runs.  What ended up surprising me about these long runs wasn’t how tired I felt during the run.  It was the gross feeling I got after I had finished up.

Jon and I fondly refer to the gross feeling after a long run “the crazies.”  The crazies make you feel sweaty and freezing at the same time.  The crazies make you want to eat everything, but also make you physically unable balance the food you want with all the liquid in your stomach.  The crazies make your legs shake if you stand too long; you look kind of like you’re on a boat, except it’s not fun.

The crazies mean you pushed yourself to your limit, and you should be proud.

I was lying on the couch after our 20 miler a few weeks back, dealing with my crazies; I started to make a list of what I should do to get rid of them.  With the marathon only 3 days away, I decided to share my list.  I’m sure I’ll be referencing this on Sunday afternoon.

How I Battle the Crazies

1. Chocolate milk: A lot of runners agree that chocolate milk makes an awesome recovery drink because of the great balance between carbs and protein.  I love it because it makes me feel good, and it’s chocolate.  I add a pinch of salt, and then I chug it.  If chocolate milk isn’t your thing, or if you are lactose intolerant, I’d suggest checking out this list.

2. Tennis ball: I like to use a tennis ball to roll around under my foot.  It works out any tension and helps prevent soreness.  The more miles I log, the more my arches hurt.  I keep a tennis ball under my desk at work, and I like to use it during a long afternoon at my desk.

3. Compression socks: After a trip to the hospital a while back, I was given a pair of compression socks.  As I was leaving the hospital, I tried to throw them away.  A nurse picked them out of the hamper and told me to take them; she told me they were “awesome.”  I’m so glad that she did, because it turns out they are a great recovery tool!  After a night of sleeping in my compression socks, I wake up with virtually no calf soreness.

Compression is very popular in the running community.  Before our recent half marathon, my hubby picked up a pair of compression sleeves (the same as my socks, but footless).  There is a debate right now in the running community as to what is better for recovery: compression sleeves or compression socks.  Again, it comes down to preference.  For help in making your decision, check out this list.

4. Foam roller: Lots of runners have come to LOVE the foam roller.  “Rolling out” your muscles after a long run is a great way to prevent lactic acid build up, and helps stretch out tired muscles.  You can get foam rollers that are totally smooth, some that have ridges, and some that look downright painful…like they are straight out of the Middle Ages.  We decided to get a foam roller with some ridges: it works our muscles over, but it isn’t cruel.  For more information on foam rollers, check out this link.

5. Light workout the next day: Working out the day after a long run is usually the last thing you WANT to do; however, it’s a good idea to stretch out your muscles.  I like to use the elliptical or ride the stationary bike for a short time, and I usually mix in some core exercises.  If I have a long-run on a Saturday, I also try and make it to a hot yoga class the next morning.  Whatever workout you chose to do, don’t push it!  No need to be a hero.

A montage from our 20 mile training run.
A montage from our 20 mile training run.

 

For recovery, I really try to focus on stretching and refueling.  I try to be smart, and I have gotten good at listening to what my body needs.  The list I just shared works well for me, but each tip won’t work for everyone.  For example, if my hubby usually likes to have a (non-diet) Coca Cola after a long run, for the sugar; I don’t think this tip helps me it all.  I can’t usually finish my can, it’s too syrupy.  However, a lot of ultra marathoners swear by it.  It’s all about knowing your body and figuring out what works best for you.

Runners: did I miss anything?  If so, I’d love to hear more ideas!

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