There is so much talk about getting ready for your long runs. 20 miles is long way after all. What to eat, what to wear, what to think about while you are running for over 2.5 hours….ect.
And then it’s over. You sort of can’t believe you did it and you sit, bleary eyed, staring at your watch with the little blinking “20 Miles!!!” on it.
After you are done staring at your watch and decide you need to move again, your clothes are going to wet with sweat and mist, and then you’ll be cold, and then hungry, and OH MY GOSH MOVING HURTS.
Ok. So have a plan. Because if you don’t, you are going to hobble around like a wet cat and that is not going to get you ready for the next run, which is probably 1 or 2 days away (but don’t think about that right away HA!).
Rule 1: EAT. Right now. Your stomach may not be thrilled with you. You just ran for a long time and shoved a bunch of sweet gel down your gullet trying to get as many carbs in you as possible. Right after, the ideal thing to eat would have a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. Chocolate milk, a smoothie, something that you can get down right away. As I mentioned yesterday, I am a big fan of Picky Bars.
Aside from the obvious reason of helping your body recover from the hell you just put it through, there is another reason refueling with a small snack right after is important. The hunger the day of (or for some people the day after) a long run is SO REAL. If you have ever experienced this it is SO annoying. I mean, yeah, you probably just burned somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500-2000 cals, so taking in extra is normal and necessary. But I’m talking – standing in front of the pantry eating fistfuls of cereal, slices of bread, spoonfuls of peanut butter – it can get graphic. I notice this black swirling vortex of hunger is much easier to avoid if I have the small snack right after I do a long run.
Rule 2: Stretch next. I know this should be obvious, but it is harder in practice than you might think. I drive about 15 minutes from my house to do my long runs. By the time I: sit staring off into space, refuel and rehydrate, and drive home, all I can think about is a scalding how shower. However, I have made this mistake in the past – doing the shower first. Guess what I did not do right after? Stretch. Idiot. Hey did you want an injury? Great. Then don’t stretch.
Rule 3: Ice whatever hurts. Even if you think you don’t need to. Icing is not going to harm anything. Your body is currently a giant ball of inflammation. So anything that feels tweaky, weird, or not 100% right, just go ahead and ice it. If you are a spartan and can take an ice bath, then you Go Glen Coco! Especially in the summer. Personally, I can only handle an ice bath in the heat, and maybe a few times a year. I am a fan of the Moji Ice Wrap. I like it because I can still shuffle around while I’m icing.
NOW you can shower and eat a full meal.
Rule 4: I’m going to be a huge hypocrite here – but try not to make this the day you decide to clean the whole house or rearrange all of your furniture. If you can take it easy the rest of the day, your body will thank you. I always tend to want to run a bunch of errands and then – I’m not kidding – decide to rearrange furniture by myself. It is always a bad idea and I’m sore afterwards. Just don’t.