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Tools for Recovery

February 8, 2010

As I’ve been honest to share, my knee hasn’t quite recovered from a difficult fall. I attribute my occasional pain to a number of factors. First, I’m beginning to realize that 40 or 45 miles per week is some sort of threshold for me. I can push to 50 or 55 miles for a few short weeks, but not for long–and not if they’re speed-intensive miles. But I can stay at 40 miles per week for months with few or no negative effects.

I took a long time to recover after my half, but, as the Boss is careful to point out, never took a total rest from running–until January, when I took five rest days in a row. Five days seemed like a lot, but it’s not even a week.

I have a tendency toward patellar tendinitis. My lack of cross- and strength-training isn’t helping.

All that having been said, the last week was an encouraging one. I ran even my speedwork without pain, and though I was a little sore as I set out for my second 12-mile run on Saturday, I finished the run without altering my stride.*

I’m starting to think of ways I can minimize the effects of back-to-back running (especially back-to-back racing) as we approach the Bud Light Challenge. Below, some of the tools I’m planning to keep in my kit.

I bought the Original Body Stick at the expo for the Palm Beach Marathon, and I’m glad I did. Rolling my legs out with the stick after those long runs is a great way to get blood flowing again after a hard workout. And, though the Boss is always willing to give me a Stick rubdown, it’s also easy to massage my own legs, something I can do while reading to the kids or getting ready for bed. The Stick will be joining me for my western trek for the races. I paid slightly less than retail–$40–and consider that a great investment.

I tried KT Tape after the expo, too, and I’m hooked! I used to run with a knee brace when I felt particularly sore, but braces have the disadvantage that I sometimes find it tough to keep them in the right spot–you have to tighten them a lot to get them not to slide down–and they also tend to trap sweat. Not a good situation. The tape, on the other hand, always stays where it’s put, and it’s so thin that sweat isn’t an issue. And though you might think the tape couldn’t be as supportive as a brace, I think it’s better–because it’s not holding my knee in the back, I feel like I have a more natural range of motion, while my kneecap is being supported effectively. Really, it’s fantastic–and my local sporting goods store carries it now. At $13, it’s a steal.

This is the latest addition to my toolkit. I’ve used the IcyHot cream and the tube, but I recently found the stuff in this tape roll, and it sure makes application easier. Yes, I still smell like Grandma, but the tape is easy to put on and I can feel it working on my hip and arch as I speak. It’s easy to remove, too, which is good because my skin can tend toward sensitivity. I paid $10 at my grocery store, and I think the roll will last me until race day.

There you have it–some of the things I’m planning to use so I can run hard Saturday and then again Sunday. I’m also planning to take an ice bath after the 5k Saturday, hydrate very well, and take it kind of easy Saturday afternoon–no long shopping trips for me. And though I don’t usually worry about what I eat the day before a half marathon, I’m definitely going to watch my carbohydrate intake. I’m also planning to bring an NSAID along, just in case.

*It would be dishonest of me not to confess that when I woke from a long nap Saturday afternoon, I was quite definitely limping–a fact I tried to hide from the Boss, mostly because it scared me so much. I iced and rested my knee the rest of the day. Out of an abundance of caution, I also took another rest day today, though I had an easy six on the schedule.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 5:39 am

    hopefully these tools will help you run pain free, or at least close to it! you’ve put in a lot of work and deserve to have a fun weekend of racing.

    thanks for reminding me of the kt tape. i have a friend battling knee issues and will have to recommend that.

  2. Brad permalink
    February 12, 2010 8:33 am

    i just read an article in this months Runners World that was talking about injury thresholds for runners….a doctor was assured that all humans have a injury threshold (whether it be 10 miles, 20 miles, 50 miles, etc)…and once we hit that mark, that we get injured….it was interesting

  3. run4change permalink
    February 13, 2010 3:40 pm

    Total rest after hard effort very important. For me, if I inch towards 70 miles in a week I am walking the line big time. Can’t take it but for a week or two then must have very easy week after. It does not make my legs sore but I can feel my body saying, “Hey now, bones and joints here. Not feeling to good…………”

    I love the stick. After most races I take one full week off from running, especially if it is a hard marathon or longer. I recover so fast for some odd reason but I don’t take chances. Injury is evil. 🙂

  4. February 14, 2010 12:55 pm

    Great post. Recovery, rest and prevention are the key to any training program. I am glad to see you are using many tools to help you with your training. Keep it up!

  5. the Ringmaster permalink*
    February 15, 2010 9:22 am

    You know, I’m thinking of going back to the two hard weeks-one easy week kind of schedule. I think this suited my legs better. Though I’m fairly young, my knees talk to me the way yours do, J.

    Definitely have your friend try the tape, Lindsay. It’s fairly easy to use and it gives a good level of support with no danger of altering your form.

    Ken, thanks for the encouragement that recovery is important–if I could just remember that all the time in my training . . .

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