February 14 2018
We delve into the many reasons why taking an off-season is pertinent to runner recovery.
Week two of running before work is in the books and I’m happy to report that my alarm clock is still in one piece. Though I’ve been tempted to hit the snooze button repeatedly or even throw the clock on the ground, I’ve resisted temptation and hazily shuffled out of bed to hit the road. And while leaving my pillow behind in exchange for a run has gone off without a hitch, the act of cooling down post-workout is another story.
Summer temps and soaring humidity mean even at o’dark thirty I return home dripping of sweat, feeling icky and ready to rinse off. After grabbing a quick drink, I hit the shower following my normal morning routine. Upon exiting the shower, still dripping with sweat because I didn’t cool my body temp. down before hopping under the hot water, I begin the mad dash to get ready. Forget blow drying my hair at this point (au-natural is a nice summer look, right?), I want nothing to do with anything heated as I try to apply make-up onto my melting face. Annoyed that I can’t stop sweating, I finally load myself up with deodorant, throw on the lightest-weight work clothes I can find, and hop in the car, blasting the air on full force in hopes of cooling down before I arrive at the office. On a good day the sweat has subsided by the time I walk through the front door, though I’m still boiling inside and red-faced. On a bad day (which seems to be more often than not), I’m still sweating a bit (or glistening – doesn’t that sound more glam than sweating?) and dart into my office to sit under the air vent before anyone catches me melting in my chair.
The whole point of running before work was to relieve stress, maintain my health and start the day off right. Though I’ve been accomplishing part of that mission, I knew the fact that I wasn’t cooling down properly could lead to a future excuse for not running in the morning and ultimately cheating myself out of a run. To avoid a potential cop-out (I felt excuses already bubbling), I spent the last week focusing on the cool down so that I wasn’t a sweaty mess an hour after my run.
Here’s what I’m trying (and it’s working!):
-Walk It Out. This sounds simple and it really is. Since I was planning my time to be just-right, I wasn’t giving myself any wiggle room to cool down properly. This led to a mad dash immediately after my run never giving my heart rate or body temp. the chance to properly lower. Walking a half mile after my run took less than 10 minutes and made such a difference (plus my dog was thrilled to join me!).
-Icy Cold Hydration. Typically after a steamy run I grab a cold water and gulp it down as fast as possible. Guzzling the water wasn’t allowing it to soak through my throat and down to my stomach, cooling from within. To take full advantage of the cooling property of chilly liquid, I sipped the icy water over a 10 minute period.
-Frozen Peas Aren’t Just For Eating. Though I do love eating the small green veggie, I often buy bags of frozen peas as a substitute for ice bags. Right after my hot run I grabbed a large bag of frozen peas, threw it around my neck and on my shoulders, and headed out for my 10 minute walk. I might have looked a little silly (my neighbors are use to seeing me try and do weird things in the name of running), but the frozen vegetable definitely helped cool me down. As soon as I returned home, I threw the peas back in the freezer (just make sure you mark which bag you use as an ice bag – you wouldn’t want to eat them after freezing, defrosting and refreezing) for tomorrow’s run.
-Bite The Time Bullet. If cooling down properly so that I don’t continue sweating my way through my morning routine requires getting out of bed 10 minutes early, it’s worth every pillow-loving moment. When I wasn’t cooling down properly the happy effect of running before work was trampled by the sweaty annoyance I felt from looking and feeling like a hot-mess to start the day.