I’m fond of saying that my running superpower is recovery. I like that superpower because running is my favourite, so I enjoy bouncing back quickly from events. Because that means I get to run more. It’s probably also why I like the half marathon because it’s not as brutal a distance as 5 or 10km but it doesn’t require as much recovery as a marathon. But as I was getting ready for Surf Coast trail over the weekend, and then recovering from it – I realised something.
Recovery, isn’t my superpower – extremely rigorous preparation and post-event activities are. Those things are easy to skip, but when you like recovery as much as I do, you get pretty good at them.
Some things I did that helped over the weekend are
- I had two coffees and my usual pre-workout (which is basically caffeine and amino acids) but it also meant I’d had a decent amount of water before I even started.
- Even though it wasn’t a race for me, I had four of those new GU waffles in two and a half hours
- And as soon as I finished I ate a whole heap more: they had snakes and chips at the finish so I had those and I also had an energy bar that I’d brought along with my usual post-workout (which is just an even mix of protein and carbohydrate)
- And then, when we got back to the cabin I put on my compression tights and we went out to eat more.
You might be sensing a pattern here. And everyone will be different, but this is what I’ve come up with that works best for me. Fuelling is probably the biggest piece of the recovery picture. Easy to ignore – because eating while running doesn’t come naturally and it’s usually the last thing you feel like doing when you finish. So the key is usually finding a way to get carbohydrates in as soon as humanly possible – even if it’s in drink form when you aren’t quite up to stomaching food yet. The more you give your muscles to work with during an event and immediately after an event, the less work they have to do to repair themselves, the sooner you will be back out there.
So maybe recovery isn’t my superpower, but putting a lot of time and thought into my recovery is and I’m okay with that.