Unfortunately I have learned the hard way I probably should have rested my foot a bit more after our 20 mile run, and that is time to retire my Clifton 4’s. How exactly do you know it is time to retire a pair of shoes?
“had I opted for the new shoes I might have been saved from running like Quasimodo”
Well for starters, we track our gear mileage (mostly) in Garmin Connect. According to my logged data they have less than 300 miles on them (286 to be exact), but after a resurgence of knee (ITB) and foot pains I think their time has come. But with long distance running (at least for me) it can be difficult to identify the causes of the many aches and pains that come with the territory. As example, I’ve had a flare up of Extensor tendonitis for over a week following our 20 mile. Attributing this most likely to overly tight laces on the Escalantes, I decided to go back to my Cliftons for the next long run, instead of risking further injury, if there was an issue with the fit of the Escalantes besides the lacing. I also opted to stick to our training run instead of resting my foot. This proved to be the wrong choice(s). After about 30 minutes into the run my Extensor tendons were very very angry (probably not really the Hoka’s fault), and by about halfway into the run my ITB issues flared up, which I was probably caused by bad form due to the various pains, as well as the old shoes. While it was only a 10 mile run, it proved to be more than I should have done and I probably at the very least should have worn my new Clifton’s which I purchased at the same time as a back-up in case I didn’t like the Escalantes. (Yes, I have back-up pairs of shoes just like Trex, it’s not a girl thing, it’s a runner thing.) But had I opted for the new shoes I might have been saved from running like Quasimodo that last mile or so, as well as the extra time with ice on my foot and knee.
That brings me to the topic of post long run selfcare. My post long run recovery routine might be a bit time consuming, but it is extremely crucial to helping me get back on my feet (literally). I known some runners who don’t do much beyond a little icing and some anti-inflammatories, but for me personally I take a more holistic, whole body approach to help revitalize my sore and worn down body after a hard long run. I am sure some of this is phycological as much as it is physically beneficial, but I am a big believer in mind over matter so I stick with what I ‘think’ works and that’s that.
My typical post run routine:
- Chocolate Milk – Great for lifting the spirits and providing much needed nourishment as your body begins its repairs.
- Banana or Other source of Potassium – Helps keep the cramping at bay
- Caffeine – It like a nice latte or Yerba Mate to give me a little bit of recovery pep
- Hot Epsom Salt & Cold Baths – To warm up or cool off and to speed up recovery I alternate hot, cold, hot Epsom salt & essential oils baths because it is an easy way of applying alternating heat and cold to all your muscles and joints in need, and is most often recommended for reducing inflammation and promoting repair and to help alleviate stiffness and soreness. I have found when I skip my baths that my aches and pains last much longer. I often take a lacrosse ball and gently roll my legs and feet while I soak in the hot/warm water.
- Arnica Gel (Arniflora) – I rub this gently into sensitive injury prone spots instead of other topical rubs for muscle pain and inflammation. I find it is much more effective and I add a little bit of peppermint oil for the nice cooling sensation.
- Coconut Water or other Electrolyte drink through the day
- Gentle Yoga – I do a couple of hip and torso poses in order help open up my breathing and to allow better circulation. I am careful to avoid doing any poses that pull the overworked tissues which would cause further tearing.
- Keep moving – I find house hold chores like folding laundry and doing dishes keep me moving and from stiffening and turning into Rodin’s Thinker like we saw in Paris many years ago.
- Relax & Enjoy – The above regiment really helps me relax and to enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from having completed hard run no matter how well I did or didn’t do.
A note about Cold baths – I fill my tub with only cold water just past my hips immediately following my first hot salt bath. I sit with my entire lower body immersed for 10 minutes more or less depending on my soreness levels. Pro Tip – Find a distraction like watching funny clips on YouTube to help you ignore the shivering pains of the cold. (I suggest not holding the phone/tablet however as the shivers may cause you to drop it in the water.)
So in summary, pay close attention to indicators that shoes are due for retirement based on mileage and visual inspection of the shoe soles, and always attend to the body post long runs as you only get the one (at least according to some); and it sucks to get sidelined due to injury, especially when running is what you do to maintain weight and stress relief. For me personally without running these days I will probably go a little crazy and eat my weight in cake or banana pudding (I really like cake and pudding.)