Recovery Tools for Runners

When running, there’s a difference between feeling sore and feeling pain. If you’re in pain, then you should take a break from running till the pain goes away. If it persists and/or is a strong pain, then you should get it checked out. Feeling sore however, is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. There are ways though to ease the soreness.

Trigger point ball

I get pain in my arches and rolling them on these ‘trigger point balls’ helps. You could also use a tennis ball, or any ball really that’s around that general size. I also wear ankle compression sleeves (I prefer the Zensah brand) which helps with sore ankles as well as arches. I’ve worn them for all three marathons, as well as long runs and speed work. There’s also these plantar fasciitis socks, the ones I’ve worn are by Feetures (I don’t wear the ankle compression at the same time as the plantar fasciitis sock).

I also put insoles in the shoes I wear for marathons and long runs. The brand I use is Foot Chair. It’s a pretty intense arch support which is great, however they are firm and not cushiony at all. I’ve been using this brand for a year now and overall have liked it. I might look around of a softer option though.

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There’s also compression socks and compression calf sleeves. I don’t wear either very often, but there are a lot of distance runners out there who swear by them. I do like to wear compression recovery socks while sleeping. Be mindful when buying compression socks whether they are meant for recovery or running because there is a difference. For both options I buy the CEP brand.

Compression socks for running

Ice baths are also a huge help with muscle inflammation. I don’t do those as much as cryotherapy though. Three minutes in a cryo chamber is the equivalent to a 45 minute ice bath! They talk to you while you’re in there, so the three minutes fly by! I also will put ice packs on my ankles and feet while watching TV-I don’t do that as often as I probably should.

a fuzzy picture of me in a cryo chamber

There’s also compression boots you can buy for $1000, a lot of cryo places also have the boots though and you can just use them there. If I had them at home I would use them a few times every week, but since I don’t I just do them once or twice a month depending on my training load. They seem to help, and they’re just so relaxing!

Compression boots

There’s three different pain-relieving patches/spray I use. Tiger Balm patches, Solanpas patches and Biofreeze spray.

There are various tools you can use for sore muscles such as a foam roller, ‘the stick’ and Roll Recovery. I used to have a stick that was just flat, but I left it in the hotel room in San Francisco. When I bought another one, I went with the kind with the spikey balls which I love. Roll Recovery is great, but if you have the stick and a foam roller it isn’t totally necessary.

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Roll Recovery (and our dog Daisy)

And last but certainly not least, your diet has a big impact on your recovery. I don’t have the perfect diet, but I do try and limit dairy, gluten and sugar. There’s people who say dairy and gluten aren’t a big deal-but everyone agrees sugar is no good. It makes inflammation much worse-not to mention other obvious downsides to sugar.

I put tumeric spice on my eggs!

My favorite anti-inflammatory foods are turmeric (there’s the pill form, the spice form, or the juices form), tart cherries or just tart cherry juice, and pineapple. And you can never go wrong with eating lots of veggies!