Tag Archives: recovery

Compression Garment – Does it work?

Hello my fellow readers! Sorry for the lack of posts/updates. Just a tad bit busy! TIME needs to SLOW down. We’re already into our 11th month of the year! WHAT?!

I am trying my best to juice out more informative articles for you guys. Do let me know if you have anything specific that you would like me to talk about/share.

Ok, time to cut to the point of this article – Compression Garment

Think: 2XU, Skins, Compresssport, RecoFit etc.

These are a few of the big names in the compression garment industry. If you thought they were just fashionable, you may be right. But they happen to be FUNCTIONAL too.IMG_9490

There’s nothing new about the compression garment technology. It is widely used in the medical field. Back at the plastic surgery clinic where I used to work, compression garments were sold along with major surgical procedures (liposuction, breast augmentation). Compression garments are worn to prevent excessive swelling, promote blood circulation, prevent seroma, and to a certain extent, provide comfort and support.

What Happens to Your Muscles after Exercise

Physical activity induces muscle damage in the form of micro-tears that can lead to delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), impaired muscle function, increase in circulating muscle proteins and possibly hindering exercise performance.

These are transient natural processes that occur whenever you place some level of stress on your muscles. Muscle repair follows muscle damage, healing it and making it more resilient to future stressors.

The Problem

Pain and swelling is common place during this time.

There is no real ‘problem’. In fact, you probably enjoy the PAIN and feel accomplished because PAIN means GAIN, right? But the discomfort we feel may interfere with our daily life or even our next workout session.

Enhanced recovery has become one of the top priorities for most athletes and crazy runners like YOU.

How Does Compression Garment Work

Garments with specific compressive qualities have made their way into athletic populations. No surprise there because it works. Although there are many conflicting conclusions from various studies (you have to take into account the design, biasness, type of workout etc), the overall review is positive.

For Recovery

As mentioned, compression garments promote blood circulation, enhancing muscle oxygenation and reduce venous pooling and oedema. Compression garments have the ability to alter local haemodynamics and expedite the removal of cellular debris and improve the swelling that comes along with it. It also provides mechanical support, resulting in faster recovery following muscle damaging exercises. Many studies have also found that compression garment reduces perceived post exercise muscle soreness, further managing the detrimental symptoms [1].IMG_9496

If you happen to wear them during your activity (like running), it helps to hold the muscle in place, controlling the amount of oscillation and movement that could aggravate the healing process [2].

Psychological Effect

“The body achieves what the mind believes”

I ALWAYS say this – YOUR MIND is SO POWERFUL! As the Bible says in 1 Peter 1vs13, GIRD your mind!

If you think you’re going to fail, chances are YOU WILL!

Studies have shown that there is the psychological feel-good aspect of wearing compression garment for recovery! Even if it doesn’t work, your mind is at ease knowing that you are recovering well.

Less worry = overall positive effects on your well-beingIMG_9495

What am I slipping into the sleeve of my RecoFit calf sleeve? Review coming up! 🙂

Fashion? Functional? Or nothing at all?

Still undecided? OK la, let me help you out.

BUY/use compression garment if:

-you are an elite athlete and recovery is necessary to maintain high training loads

-you are not an elite athlete but want to feel good/recovery faster

-you follow a strict workout plan that requires you to recover ASAP

-you think it looks fashionable

If none of the above applies to you then just REST LAH!REST-DAYYour next hard workout is going to be as good as the quality of your recovery.

REMEMBER THAT!

Post-Marathon Recovery

You’ve just crossed the finish line, you earned that Finishers Medal around your neck, you’ve hit a new personal best, and you’re in a state of euphoria……and then what?

Many marathon runners make the common mistake of not recovering optimally after the race. Your post-marathon recovery plan begins immediately after you cross the finish line. I was no master when it came to post marathon recovery, having made many bad decisions and went against everything in the rule book. But we all learn from our mistakes (and now you can learn from mine).

Here are a few things that you can do to help your body bounce back into shape.

After Crossing the Finishing Line:

1. Cool down with a slow jog

A short cool down (slow jog) of about 10-15 minutes is essential. Depending on the race day set up, it may not always be convenient to do so. Just make sure you don’t stop abruptly after crossing the finishing line. I felt light headed and sick in the stomach because I came to a complete stop after having been running for a few hours which caused my blood pressure to drop.

2. Drink up (but not too quickly)

Remember to replenish lost fluids. Pick the ones rich in glucose and electrolytes (100plus, Revive, Gatorade, PowerBar Recovery drink). I drank too much too soon (1.5L in 30 mins) and ended up puking. This is dangerous as it would further deplete your body’s fluids leading to dehydration. Take in about 500ml every 30mins-1 hour. This will also help in flushing out waste products from the body. Drink up!

3. Eat something within 1 hour of finishing

Snack on something within the next 1 hour even if you don’t have the appetite for it. You have to get some food in your system as muscle glycogen is rapidly replaced within the first 1-2 hours. Most marathons provide runners with some bananas or apples at the finish line. Eat up to maintain blood sugar levels! You can eat a big meal after to replace everything else that you’ve lost during the run.

4. Don’t stretch too much

Try not to stretch your tired muscles too much as this may lead to injury. 1379973_10152903418911388_1817569158902519087_nIf something hurts, ice the area immediately for about 10-15 minutes to reduce the inflammation. Massage areas or the medical tent should offer everything you need to attend to your injury.

The Following Week:

5. Take time off running

The biggest mistake you can make is running too soon after a marathon. Scheduling in time for recovery is just as crucial as planning your next workout. After months of training and completing the marathon itself, the body needs time to return back to “normal”. It has gone through an intense session of physical stress and the last thing you want to do is to put it under more stress. Even during your recovery period, your body is not at rest. It is busy breaking down, repairing, refueling and recovering.

6. Go for low-impact workouts

You need to find the ultimate balance between activity and inactivity. Engage in an activity that would decrease muscle stiffness/soreness and encourage blood circulation. After a marathon, there will be an accumulation of lactic acid and fluid in the muscles. Increased circulation to the area will help to remove the excess fluid and built up waste whilst enriching the area with nutrients and oxygen. Jog post marathonFocus on low impact workouts that require minimal effort. For example, a light jog on a soft surface (grass, track).

Stretch post marathon

Post-Marathon Activities / Workouts

The key is to start slow! You will initially feel the pinch on your energy levels. Stop your workout if you have to. 10257110_10152903419141388_4054225727019881833_nDo a bit of light stretching for about 10-15 minutes every day. This will help to increase blood circulation and to loosen up any tight areas. My hamstrings were screaming in pain for at least 2 weeks post marathon. Try not to engage in any hard workouts by signing up for races in the weeks following a marathon. You can start to slowly build up mileage and intensity over the next few weeks if you feel good.

As you rest and eat well post marathon, you may begin to feel ready and strong to take on the next race. I had back to back races the week after my marathon. Wrong call! For the first race, I felt strong and fresh. 5KM into the race and my hamstrings were already crying for help. It was a trail run and the hills were STEEP! It was the first time that I had to walk in a race. It was tough and I was completely drained after that. WARNING: Do not attempt. 10465499_10152648264306388_7470217386104035149_o

Cross train by engaging in different activities. You can do anything from swimming to cycling, as long as it doesn’t put too much stress on your legs. I did 20-30 minutes of swimming every other day to get my muscles warmed up.

Post-Marathon Nutrition/Fuel

Enjoy your favourite meals throughout the week. Make sure you eat well balanced meals with 3-4 parts of carbohydrates and 1 part protein to replenish your muscle’s glycogen stores and to rebuild damaged tissues and cells respectively. Choose good quality carbohydrates (complex) and proteins.10801528_10152903401346388_3665916727056616987_n

If you crave for particular foods, satisfy those cravings. Your body knows what it needs. And you deserve it. I was craving for foods that were high in fat (burger and fries) for 2 weeks! Eat whatever is pleasing to your eyes. Continue to hydrate well. 10368238_10152903419026388_1692792890374342481_n

Eat and drink to strengthen your immune system which has been severely compromised post marathon.

Post-Marathon Sleep/Rest

Sleep like a baby! Your body recovers and repairs itself when it is in full rest. You may feel as though your body has been hit by a truck! This fatigue may last over a week. 1240148_10152903401286388_5117757271586368252_nI cannot stress enough how important sleep is. I fell sick 2 weeks after the marathon because I suffered from insomnia. I had about 4-5 hours of sleep every day over the 2nd week and my body eventually gave up. 10366140_10152903419176388_1032711180761417043_nGo to bed early to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

Post-Marathon Pleasure

My ideal post marathon treat would be a full body massage. Source: Adele WongI went for a deep Thai aromatherapy massage a week after the marathon and it was the best thing ever. You may also want to indulge in a facial session as your skin has been exposed to the harmful UV rays over a few hours on the road. Just kick your feet up. Spend time with your family and friends. Go for that long awaited holiday. Do whatever, just TREAT YOURSELF!1966056_10152903419226388_5663874179444917341_o

Recovery and rest are the last things in any runner’s book. It takes a great deal to convince a runner to take off days. Many runners have this extreme fear that taking days off the road would severely affect their hard earned fitness (especially after training for a marathon).

After all the months of training, resting seems like a curve ball to their normal routine. However, if you’re going to be in it for the long run, it would be a good idea to take time off from running (to prevent injuries) post marathon, even if you’re faced with the reality of a decrease in fitness. Take it from me, REST!10393661_10152903419361388_8779876335544672797_n                                                               So TRUE!

Thanks to http://www.healthworks.my for featuring this article! Check out their page!

Back to Back: Cyberjaya Firefighter Night Run & Great Heart Charity Run

Saturday:

I was psyched to run my first night run since two years ago (Energizer Night Run 2012)!

I had only decided on Sunday (the week before the run) to participate in the Great Heart Charity Run. I was in doubt as to whether or not I could do a back to back race. Experience told me that I couldn’t but I thought I’d give it a go.

As this was my first back to back race weekend, I kept my mileage low (rested and cross trained more than usual). I had to alter my Friday night sleeping pattern to be ready for the night run on Saturday. I usually stay up till 4-5am (Saturday morning) just because it’s the weekend.

I had planned to sleep before 12am (the night before) but I had to meet up with Gillian and Swan. They totally messed up my sleeping schedule (Haha!). Totally worth it though, they were my Friday night happy pills!

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Corn for breakfast!

The whole of Saturday was spent lazing around in bed, eating and spending time with the family. Family time was extended beyond what I had allocated and I came home at 5pm. I had to be at Cyberjaya before 6.30pm to collect my race pack and I knew that I would not have made it. I still had to prepare my post-race meal, get changed and leave to Cyberjaya (25mins away). I was glad that Chee Wai was there early and he collected it for me!

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We had 2 hours to kill. Met up with a lot of other runners and got a chance to catch up with them.

Warmed up my muscles at 8pm. The race started on time at about 8.30pm, after the 21KM pack.

The starting is always the hardest – navigating through the crowd. The road was narrow and slightly wet from the light evening shower. I was trying to avoid running into a lady in front of me that I dashed a little too quick to the side and got in the way of Chee Wai who was directly behind me. There was a mini stumbling sesh and I thought that the both of us were going to fall flat on our faces. Luckily, we got our grip and we were off to the front of the pack. Looking back, it was pretty funny!

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Thanks to Aron for this picture. He was on his bike and he called out to me during the race. Always good to see familiar faces!

I knew I was up front so all I had to do was to maintain the pace and speed up towards the end. The roads were long and wide. I kept running in the middle of the road because I wasn’t familiar with the race route. I didn’t know where to turn and I remember at one point, I zig-zagged 4 times in a row. I had to ask the marshals at every turn for directions.

The race would have been slightly better if there were proper signage and road marshals to direct the runners. The roads were also not completely closed and every now and then cars would zoom by.

Kevin waited for me 500-600m from the finish line. When Kevin told me that there was nobody behind, I slowed to a jog before sprinting the final 100m of the way (to conserve energy for the next day, although I don’t think it made any difference).

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After crossing the finish line, Wai Ching (kid to my right) was the first person to shake my hand to congratulate me. Such a sweet kid! I was still too frazzled from the run to give a proper response.

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Warmed down properly to avoid post-race muscle soreness. Wore both compression calf guards this time. They fit like a glove. So warm and snug. They work wonders for my calf muscles, protecting against muscles soreness and leg fatigue.

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Post-race smoothie: Oats, frozen banana, Greek yoghurt and chia seeds. Just throw everything into the blender and start blending away! I didn’t measure out the ingredients. I just went with whatever I wanted.

Nutrient breakdown:

Banana- Rich source of potassium which helps lower the risk of muscle cramps. It is also a good source of manganese, dietary fiber and vitamins B6 and C.

Coconut water- Coconut water is the ideal post-workout drink packed with electrolytes, minerals and simple sugar to replenish hydration levels within the body. It is also a rich source of potassium.

Greek Yoghurt- Greek Yoghurt has nearly twice the amount of protein compared to regular yoghurt. It is a great post-workout snack as your body needs the extra protein to repair worn out muscles.

Chia Seeds- It boasts 20% protein, having 5 times more calcium than milk, 7 times more vitamins than oranges and 8 times more omega fatty acids than salmon. Need I say more?

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Thick, creamy goodness! Give this recipe a go!

Had my recovery smoothie 30mins later to replenish lost calories. I don’t usually prepare post-run smoothies but because I was going to run the next day, I had to make sure I was properly fed.

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My recovery meal was a tuna-avocado-egg mash. I had no appetite but I had to force feed. It was so good but so hard to chow down. I kept everything in the cooler bag so it was still fresh and cool when it was time for me to savour them.

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Chooi Fern was so hyper! Like a charged up bunny!

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The boys monkeying around.

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It was supposed to be a group picture of all the top 5 runners. Don’t know why they didn’t get up on stage so the both of us had our syok-sendiri moment. Congrats to Sylvia too! 🙂

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We left after the prize giving ceremony.

I had exactly 4 hours of sleep before I had to wake up for the next race.

Sunday:

The alarm had to wake me up this time. I was dead tired.

I felt energized and pumped as soon as it hit me that I had to run. Oh, the wonders of adrenaline.

Got dressed and had my breakfast in the car. I was so hungry. My stomach felt like a black hole. Breakfast didn’t fill me up but I couldn’t eat too much before the run.

We got there at about 6am. Collected my race pack and we went to McDonalds to chill. Met up with Shu Wei but Daniel was nowhere in sight.

By 6.30am everyone proceeded to the starting line. The race was supposed to start at 7am so I was puzzled but I followed the crowd anyway.

To my surprise, they flagged us off at 6.40am. I didn’t even have time to decide whether or not I wanted to wear my calf compression guard.

The push off from the crowd felt a lot harder. My legs felt jelly-like. Thank God my muscles were not sore, just overworked. I guess post-race fuel is very important for your body to begin repairing and replenishing worn out muscles.

I should make it a habit to prepare post-race smoothies in the future. A little bit more effort and time but oh so WORTH IT!

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Daniel was late because he dropped his key into the toilet bowl. Gross! He had to pick them up with his bare hands! As he ran passed me, I told him the lead pack was about 1.5KM ahead. He sped up and manage to come in 3rd!

This was supposed to be my “recovery” run. So, I took it easy towards the end. As usual, Kevin ran the last 500m with me. 🙂

He was there to support me and drive me to both races (in fact, almost ALL the runs). Thank You! 🙂

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I was the first female runner to arrive. WOOHOO!

Double champion for my first back to back race weekend. What a great end to my week!

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Post-race treats! Double load of ICE CREAM! *pats back*

 Share your back-to-back race weekends (if any)! I’d love to hear them!

Post-race Report: Bomba Run (Larian Bersama Bomba) 2014

Pre-race Week:

I think I killed (REALLY KILLED) my right calf muscle after the last race (Muzium Run). I couldn’t muscle through the last few KMs (the route was only a total of 4.4KM) during the KL Car Free Day Fun run which took place 3 days after the Muzium Run. The pain was sharp and intense which was worrying because it didn’t feel like the normal post-run muscle soreness.

The Bomba Run was less than 7 days away and if I wanted to stave off any further injury, I knew that I had to stay away from running for the next few days leading up to race day for maximum recovery. I was feeling pretty low throughout the week because as the days went by my calf didn’t feel any better. Walking in certain angles would trigger a sharp pain down the side of my leg and I was afraid that it would turn into something more permanent.

I continued to cross train and kept my heart rate up by doing many laps in the pool. One hour of swimming was not enough to satisfy my run-crave but that was all that I could do. I also worked on my core but nothing that required the use of my calf muscle.

It was a good week of self-discovery/learning. I had to learn how to deal with my emotions and inner thoughts. With my free time, I read up quite a bit on recovery, all the do’s and don’ts etc. I tried nearly everything under the sun from KT tape, to ultrasound, to radio frequency, to massages and deep heat treatments, there was probably nothing left to try. I also received a lot of encouragement and advice from the people around me which made all the difference!

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Ultrasound. Did it by myself in the clinic. Fun stuff.

Race Day:

I slept really well the night before, probably because I wasn’t expecting too much from the run and myself. I woke up feeling excited though. Excited to run but also hoping that my calf wouldn’t give way.

Kevin was on time (without my morning-call!) and we were there by 6am. The first thing on our list was to look for the public toilet and to locate Chee Wai. Chee Wai offered to let me use his brand new compression calf guard for the race (THANKS A BUNCH!). I hadn’t tried running in compression guards before this so I decided to only wear the right calf guard. At least, if at any point in time during the race it felt uncomfortable, it would only be in one leg instead of two (Forward thinking! Haaaa!).

This race was a little different for me because I had a pacer! Zi Shen was kind enough to offer to pace me throughout the race. Actually, he probably only agreed (finally) on accounts of his bib not being in his name and probably already calculated that he would still be eligible for the limited 150 finisher’s medal.

We met up with all the other runners, took a few photos and continued to look for the public toilet – that was our pre-race warm up.

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Within the enclosed area…waiting…

We waited for a good 15 minutes in the barricaded area for the VIP to finally arrive to flag us off. We were off at 7.38am. My pacer had already told me beforehand that we would be running at a certain constant pace but as soon as the gun went off, I totally forgot whatever he had said and darted out with the crowd. I liked the feeling of being ahead although I knew that I couldn’t keep that pace for long. He even said: “Seriously? This pace?!” and chuckled in disbelief.

He pointed out a few of my competitors and signalled me to keep up. I slowed down quite a bit at KM 5-6 probably because I was battling with my inner negative thoughts (can’t even remember what they were). I was so slow that my pacer wondered if he had to stop to wait for me.

I took a sip at the first water station which was also the half point mark where we had to grab the ribbon. Zi Shen signalled me 3 times to remind me to take the ribbon, as if it was my first time running in a race. Seriously? I think my pacer needs to have more confidence in me. After KM 7, I sped up and managed to run almost side by side with my pacer.

I couldn’t be any happier when my pacer made a hand gesture that we had 2KM left. At the same time, he glanced back but didn’t say a word. I was tempted to know what that meant but decided not to ask. At the last KM, he glanced back again. This time, he said: “100m”.

At that point, I was already tempted to start walking. My feet were burning. He told me to keep the pace but it already felt like death. At the final bend, with 200m left, he looked back and told me that I was “safe”. I didn’t care what he said at that time, all I wanted to do was to reach that finish line.

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Ahhhhhhhhh! THAT feeling you get when you cross the line, that feeling is always gold. I came in 5th and my pacer got a card with the number 62 (obviously still within 150!).

Cooled off for a bit and drank up whatever they had to offer. I waited at the finish line with a cup of Milo for Kevin. I think he achieved his Personal Best! All that running with Helix (his dog) paid off.

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2 thumbs-up for my pacer!

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The Puma gang. What a great turn out!

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PUMA KICKS!

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Special thanks to Victor and Elaine for supporting the event and for taking all the photos!

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And of course, there’s always time for a SELFIE!

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Pacer’s GPS. Not too shabby for an injured runner. I was just glad that there wasn’t any significant pain throughout the run. Either the compression calf guard worked or the adrenaline completely masked the pain.

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Top 10.

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The VIP.

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Somewhere during this time, Chooi Fern (The insanely fast girl on my right) asked if Kevin was an Indian. I laughed so hard, I couldn’t contain myself.

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Post-race thoughts:

-Trust your pacer and follow their lead. Instead of listening to my pacer, I made the mistake of setting my own pace and my pacer had to adjust accordingly.

Ok, I only have one thought/lesson.

Post-race Noms:

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Salmon! Healthy fats and protein.

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It was Mothers’ Day so it was an excuse for me to order cake. This brown butter cake with vanilla frosting and salted caramel was baked by Su-Yi’s (Uni mate) mom.

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Of course, I had a slice, or two, or three maybe. Oh, the buttery goodness! So GOOD!

At the end of the day, all Praise and Glory and Honour goes back to Him.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Recovery Run

For the first time in a very long time, I brought my friend/colleague along on my run today. Although I prefer to hit the roads alone, I agreed.

I agreed for many reasons and one of it was because I had planned a recovery run. I ran in the ICE charity run 2 days ago with considerable effort. It was evident that my body was screaming for rest as it was showing signs of aches and soreness. Pacing a friend would be a great way to ensure that I don’t go at my usual pace which would ruin my recovery run.

We jogged, brisk walked and did some uphill sprints. As I was running well below my efforts, I had enough energy to gab away throughout the run. I gave her some running tips and pointed out all my oddball neighbours. I had a lot of fun! I came back feeling refreshed.

1924444_10152300796521388_256082866_nSTRETCH!

Scheduling in time for recovery is just as crucial as planning your training/workouts. You have to recover enough to be able to nail your workouts again day after day. The body needs time to return back to “normal” after intense sessions of physical stress.

Recovery rates and recovery strategies are tailored to each individual and their workouts. People often get confused as to which recovery strategy works best – Massages? Stretching? More sleep? Foam rolling? Ice baths? That, you have to discover on your own. You can opt to try all of them and see which one works out the best for you. It is all about trial and error. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t. So learn from those times when you have failed.

 

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…for the body

A runner’s body is never at rest. On off days, it is busy breaking down, repairing, refuelling and recovering. So, I’m glad I did this today because I know that my body really needed a break. I have to admit, I’m a little addicted to the endorphins that come with running. I like to complete my runs, even when I know my body has reached its limits. I’m not crazy; its just obsessive compulsive behaviour, really.

QOTD:

Knowing when to stop running for a day or a week, isn’t easy for many runners, but understanding that it will enhance performance in the long term comes with maturity. ~Alberto Salazar