50k Training – Recovery is an important part of training

One thing I have not talked about yet on my 50K training journey is how about a month ago some things in my body started breaking down and I quickly recognized I needed help. Back in October, I noticed my right periformis muscle and my right tibia posterior tendon in my calf started to get pretty tight and painful. After Lake Padden Trail Half on October 17th, I made a bee-line straight to the massage booth for someone to take a look at my problems. On Thurs earlier that week during one of my long runs, I had a shooting pain go all the way from my periformis to my calf muscle. I was able to complete the race, but everything was pretty tender and painful by the end of it. I promptly scheduled a massage that week and found out if my insurance covered any part of physical therapy at all and made an appointment with a nearby physical therapy clinic for as soon as I could get in. I’ve been injured in the past, and I quickly recognized if I didn’t do something about these pains now, I would be injured fairly soon and be unable to complete my 50K in December.

I’ve never used massage (except only after Marathons, never throughout training) or physical therapy in the past. I have always been a frequent user of my foam roller and tiger tail (almost every day), but it just wasn’t doing it once I got far up in mileage and the back-to-back long runs on the weekend. The other thing I’ve started doing frequently with this training is icing throughout the week and taking hot and cold epsom salt baths after my long training runs. One of my favorite things right now while I’m working, is wearing tall boots that cover my calves and sticking an ice pack in them for 10 min intervals. No one has any clue I have ice packs stuck in my boots and I get to take care of myself while I’m at work. I have been scheduling a massage every other week after my really long 28-32 mile weekends. The physical therapy has fixed my issue with my periformis. There are exercises I do each day or every other day that my physical therapist has assigned me, including:

  1. Clam-shell hip strengthening
  2. Standing hip rotator stretch
  3. Lying hip rotator stretch
  4. Lunges
  5. Calf raises/jumps

I’m sure these have improved my periformis problems.

Last week my right foot plantar fasciitis finally started acting up. I’ve had issues with this in the past so I suspected it would pop up at some point. The massage therapist pointed out it is caused from that tibia posterior tendon pulling on it so to continue rubbing and rolling that muscle out.

The other interesting observation I’ve made about my 50k training is my diet improvements. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater. But, the cravings I have had with my 50k training have for the most part been super healthy. (Except the day I suddenly really wanted pizza. I’m sure there was a reason for that, right? My body was like if you don’t carbo-load now, I’m going to revolt.)

Here’s the cravings I’ve had since I’ve increased my mileage and done the back-to-back long runs:

  1. Salmon
  2. Green beans (Stir-fried, I didn’t want them boiled, not sure if my brain was thinking this meant they’d have more nutrients. Still on a green bean fiending binge right now and been eating a stir fry mix of green beans, broccoli and carrots.)
  3. Cherry tomatoes (I ate 2 containers of these one week and then put more in my meals, not sure what that was about. Still have this craving off and on. I hoarded a bowl of cherry tomatoes waiting for me Monday morning at work 2x now knowing come Mon that’s what I would want for breakfast. Sure, whatever, you want body.)
  4. Raspberries and blueberries – like crack, want them every morning, but especially want raspberries all the time
  5. Spinach and pretty much anything leafy and green
  6. Steak – after 30 + 32 miles, yeah, I wanted a big fat steak
  7. Almonds
  8. Peanut butter
  9. Orange juice, mandarins, oranges, grapefruit, anything orange related
  10. Red peppers – in sandwiches, on their own, in salads, yes please.

To summarize things I’ve been doing for recovery:

  • Foam rolling and stretching
  • Icing
  • Doing PT exercises
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Eating lots of healthy foods that my body keeps asking for
  • Sleep is where I heal, I call it “magical healing time”
  • Eating post recovery fuel

I used to make the mistake of not eating right after my long runs and quickly learned that’s how I’d bonk. Where I’d just pass out and not want to do anything the rest of the day. Now I make myself eat something after I do these long runs immediately after.

Today I went to an Educational Talk put on by SGLRG with Aron Choi on Strategies for Optimal Post-Run Recovery. Happily, I found I have now, with the addition of the massage, PT, icing, Epsom salt baths, and body automatically wanting nutrients it is needing, I am actually doing everything right. So if you ever want to do a 50k, I highly recommend all of this stuff that I’ve learned training for this one. It works. But, I certainly am going to take a little break and bring myself down to 12-20 miles or so a week for a little while and do some other things I’ve been missing like rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking before ramping up for my next big thing in 2016. My body needs a break, and I shall listen to it.

Here’s what we learned in today’s Educational Talk put on by SGLRG with Arron Choi on Strategies for Optimal Post-Run Recovery.


  1. Refueling – glycogen, protein, water, electrolytes, healthy fat
  2. Supercompensation – good stress results in growth, distress is destructive
  3. Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic – autonomic nervous system, sympathetic is flight or fight, releases cortisol, helps metabolism; parasympathetic is rest and digest, when healing happens
  4. Inflammation & oxidation
  5. Circulation

Inflammation and circulation are what I’ve been learning about a lot now going to massage. The pain I’m feeling in my calf muscle and with the plantar fasciitis is caused by circulation being impacted in those areas. The muscles are affected by an accumulation of lactic acid and waste that needs to be removed and flushed so that the circulation can be improved in those areas. It is insane to me that I hadn’t sought the help of massage therapy before for all the running and damage I’ve been doing to my body. It seriously has made a huge difference.

How to Recover:

  1. Active recovery – easy runs, cooling down, stretching, walking, yoga
  2. Refueling – smoothies – blueberries, bananas, dates, coconut milk or almond milk, goat kefir, kale, spinach, coconut oil, liposomal carcumin (main ingredient in tumeric) (anti-inflammatory)
  3. Foam rolling, massage (next day)
  4. Contrast Hydrotherapy – cold stimulates immune system and better circulation; Epsom salt bath
  5. Sleep

What have you found works? What do you want to try?



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