Hello from our Nation’s Capital! This week’s MPM is coming at you from Washington DC, where hubby and I are enjoying a little time away. Not a vacation…a RUNcation!
Our weekend started with a fantastic race in Richmond, VA; The “Instant” Classic Trail Marathon. No doubt, this race was awesome and I HIGHLY recommend it. We opted for the full 26.2 mile event, but they also had a half marathon course which looked equally great. If you ever need a reason to travel to Richmond VA, this is it! Fabulous, well marked trails (seriously, I think it would be impossible to get lost at this race, something I seem to be really good at) great volunteers, excellent aid stations, and it was all to support a great cause – the Fisher House. If you aren’t familiar with the mission of the Fisher House Foundation I suggest you check out the great work they do HERE.
Oh..and PR’ing at my trail marathon distance by 22 mins and grabbing first in my age group was pretty kick ass, too! 😉
After a tough trail race, my feet and legs are a little fatigued and sore, so a little TLC is in order. Which leads me to…
My first pick is a simple passive stretch you can do almost anywhere (although, if doing this in public I really suggest avoiding cramped spaces if your feet aren’t smelling fresh as daisies) and it is SUCH a lovely way to stretch out your feet when they are stiff or achy from having been abused from running or standing all day. Or from wearing tight shoes. (Please tell me you aren’t doing that. Right?)
Far from sexy, this stretch simply has you lacing your fingers between your toes (as if holding hands with your feet!) and…holding. Just hold that foot, and let those toes strrrretch. Hold for 30-60 secs, than switch feet. Super simple, and super effective!
Want to take this stretch a step further? Invest in some “Happy Feet” socks and show your feet how much you really love them! (I picked my pair up at amazon.)
Next pick? I admit I’m spoiled when it comes to this next one. I am a big believer in compression; I wear compression socks when traveling and compression sleeves whilst racing, but my ultimate indulgence are my Recovery Pumps compression leg pumps. These amazing “boots” uses sequential pressure to aid in recovery by increasing venous return, which “rapidly accelerates the body´s re-absorption of the elements causing soreness and fatigue in the muscle” and “effectively removes metabolic waste faster than any traditional mode of recovery or rest alone.” What does all that fancy lingo mean? It means my legs recover faster, feel fresher, and I have more “pep in my step” for my next run (vs not using them). Did I mention they look sexy as hell, too?
I mean, come on!! I bust these suckers out (and wear my “Happy Feet” socks at the same time?) and my husband doesn’t stand a chance from the amount of sassiness I am putting out. For real. I almost pity the man. Almost.
Seem a little overkill? Recovery tights or compression socks are also a great way to recover post race or after a hard training run. A good night’s sleep in one of those will help your legs feel a little less trashed in the morning!
Last pick? My Pearl Izumi N2s. While shoes are a very personal thing, and what works for one person may not work for another, I can honestly say these are the BEST trail shoes I have worn in….maybe ever. And goodness knows I have worn a LOT of trail shoes. They are light, responsive, offer a wide toe box and a seamless upper, and boast a 4mm heel to toe drop.
While I have worn them for a few training runs, this was their first race where I didn’t find myself with blisters and aching feet, despite multiple stream crossings, roots and rocks. It’s almost like I didn’t have anything on my feet at all, which was a wonderful experience. The one area where these shoes seem to falter is heavily mudded areas; they just don’t seem to have the grip for thick “peanut butter” type mud, or on courses where there would be a lot of slick, wet rocks. Also, the shoe tends to run small, so be prepared to go up a half size or so. Other than that, these shoes were everything I could hope for and more in a trail shoe. I’m sold!
What about you? What is your favorite way to recover after a hard run? And/or what is your favorite trail shoe?