Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

Recovery from long runs (or the party-girl turns nap-champ)

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Subtitle courtesy of my husband

On Saturday, I had mentioned that I would blog a bit, about how to recover after long runs. To start, I much prefer Saturday for my long runs over the more traditional Sundays. Granted, after a five-day work week, sleeping in a bit is nice and needed. However, the plus side of waking up early, one more day, is that you can really relax and enjoy Saturday evenings. Although, waking up early is not a necessary part of the Saturday equation, a late start means more traffic be it vehicular or pedestrian and a sense of the long run taking over most of the morning.

Today, Wednesday October 20th, Lake Ontario 7:00 a.m.

So, my routine is rather than sleeping in, waking early, and making up for this with the luxury of an afternoon nap. There is something about an afternoon nap, so deeply relaxing and restorative that far surpasses the joy of sleeping in an hour or more later than usual. I should mention that we have one almost-23-year-old son as for parents of young kids, the nap option is well, not an option. I recall the early days of parenthood when I would caution my husband that while I did not mind him taking off for his long run, there was to be absolutely no napping.

While I have been running for 30 years, I did take a break from marathon training from pregnancy to when my son was 8 years. Some of my runs at that time involved leading contingents of 8 year old boys on their bikes.

Another planning strategy for long run recovery is to make sure shopping chores are done on other days as recovery will not be enhanced by running around shopping and fighting Saturday traffic. This is the time to plan quiet chores around the house or computer-related tasks.

Also important is to ensure that you have some protein within 20 minutes of finishing your run, rehydrate thoroughly and have a hearty breakfast. So last Saturday I had a YOP right after the run, then a big breakfast followed by a hot bath and then the nap. The nap was particularly important as I had a dinner and theater date with a friend.

While I normally try and restrict my coffee intake to twice a day, morning and mid-afternoon, I find that a trip to the theater calls for an evening coffee. As someone who often goes to bed at 9:30 p.m. staying awake in a dark theatre can be challenging. I have to confess I was fairly pleased to discover that my evening play-watching endurance would not be taxed, as the play was only an hour. 

A powerful hour it was, and I would highly recommend an outing to see The List by Jennifer Tremblay, a production of Nightwood Theatre. Years ago when I worked at a place on Yonge street called Cafe New Orleans, Maureen White one of the founders was a waitress there. I remember her as having a fantastic sense of humour, and saw one of the first productions, perhaps the first, mounted by Nightwood Theatre. Coincidentally, a play that I saw in late-summer, Love, Loss and What I Wore featured another Cafe New Orleans alumni, as part of the cast.  This too, was highly enjoyed.

I guess my point is that careful planning and attention to detail, goes a long way in making finding time to do fun things (like napping) outside of marathon training.  Yes, I do consider marathon training to be fun!  Fun means many things to many people.

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