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5 Alternative Recovery Methods for Running

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
November 23rd 2022

Extending beyond normal sleep and nutrition routines, have you ever wondered about alternative recovery methods? Maybe you’ve had conversations with family and frien... More

Hello fellow runners, I am your host, Finma Lanson and this is the run to the top podcast. The podcast dedicated to making you a better runner with each and every episode. We are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connect dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner in every budget extending beyond normal sleep and nutrition routines. Have you ever wondered about alternative recovery methods? Maybe you've had conversations with family and friends about eastern medicine or novel medical procedures, a new technology or something else along those lines? And you've wondered could this help my running? Well this episode of run to the top is another up tempo talk with runners, connect coaches, Dylan bellies and Rory Moynihan, who come together to discuss five alternative ways to recover from running workouts.

Some of the science behind these practices, as well as insights from their personal experiences with these tools and procedures, tune in to hear their discussion around acupuncture, platelet rich plasma procedures, sauna and red light, cryotherapy and compression garments. Today's episode is sponsored by magnesium breakthrough from by optimizers. Their industry leading magnesium supplement is organic and contains all seven forms of magnesium, which helps you sleep better and reduces stress by optimizers are having a black friday special offer from november 21st through november 29th where you can get magnesium breakthrough and all of by optimizers Best in class products for 25% off. Before we get to our conversation. If you're recovering from a race, then you want to make sure you are maximizing your nutrition to help you recover faster in one of the best ways to do this is with hell from amino cho later in the episode, I'll tell you more about hell and how it can help you with your race recovery or you can check out the research at amino co dot com backslash.

R. T. T. T. Hey everyone welcome back to another episode of up tempo talks. I'm coach Rory Monahan and I'm Coach Dylan Bellas and today we're gonna talk about alternative ways to recover. So not just talking about our normal sleep or nutrition or foam rolling, but we're gonna go a little bit deeper into what some would consider more esoteric items. But really I think it's gonna be more practical items that have evolved to help us with recovery. So you may think of these as alternative medicines, perhaps even New age kind of hippie ish in some ways. But I'd say for the most part we're just gonna talk but what they are, we'll share personal insight if we've done these treatments. But for today since you could go really deep in the woods, we're not gonna necessarily talk about the drawbacks or you know downsides there studies that may question them right? Yeah. We're gonna we're not gonna dive too deep into the research but all the items that we are going to be addressing today have been researched.

So all the information that we are providing are based on factual evidence, although, as you can say, you know, there are always counter studies. Sure, Yeah, yeah. So just keep that in mind as you're listening. And I just like to point out before we get started early on, make sure you subscribe to our Youtube channel because in certain episodes, especially like our last one, we had some charts and graphs on the screen and it could be more helpful for our visual learners. But either way we want to have you on both platforms, whether that's podcast or Youtube. Yeah, absolutely. Well, let's just get into it. I think I'm gonna kick us off with acupuncture in Dry Needling. So they're pretty closely related. Acupuncture would be, you know, has its roots going back thousands of years, very well established method of medicine. And essentially, the difference between these two, I've done both acupuncture would be the traditional method where you you put the needle into the, I guess the problem area, it can actually be somewhere else on the body because it's gonna promote blood flow to that troubled area.

But anyway, essentially they leave the needles in and they'll leave it there from anywhere, I don't know, 5 to 15 minutes in my experience. So essentially they're promote blood flow to those damaged areas by placing the needle in there. Now. When I've done dry kneeling, I'd say it is similar. But what they'll do is actually wiggle around the needle to try to create these muscle spasms. And from my understanding, just, you know, talking to people who perform it, you're creating more micro damage. You're kind of doing like, micro amounts of damage to that area, which then will send in and promote the blood flow. But either way I think both from my experience are very effective. Acupuncture has some other great benefits, including just boosting mood, uh, you know, treating depression, headaches, migraines, it's pretty tremendous. Um, I've done it for some back issues and then actually the first time I was introduced to it was in high school traditional acupuncture and I had this kind of like mysterious chronic muscle fatigue and pain, which later I probably chalk up to like growing pains.

But anyway, this was the only treatment that really helped me get through this phase where I was just sore no matter how much time I took off and I really contribute contributed to me having a great senior year track and cross country and then ultimately having a couple of colleges talked to me and deciding to run in college. So yeah, I think very fondly of acupuncture and then in recent years I have done Dry Needling, which I also, well I won't say enjoy because I think this hurts a lot more. I had a long story short, I had a growing injury that I was being treated for with dry Needling and I definitely saw some positive results but that area. Oh so much more painful and there are some tears shed on the table. I was like grouping the side of the table. So that's my experience. Do you have any familiarity or want to add on to anything I may have missed. Yeah, sure. So I actually don't have any experience personally with acupuncture so just kind of going skin deep.

But I've done a, I've had a lot of work with Dry Needling personally. I've had a lot of issues with my right calf, specifically my soul Liest and I I struggle with it for many, many years. Eventually I got that fixed up mostly through string training. But when that time comes to where you have to race and you can't string train or stretch or do any things any further. I was able to get dry Needling into that area and it's incredible how much release intention and how it just allowed that area to start to heal. And so I've gone to it as a protective mechanism now for making sure that it doesn't get too too far ahead because I found that I've been able to prevent certain injuries from taking place or really getting much worse especially with my cap soulless area as well as in that I. T. Band as well. So very effective and definitely something I would recommend for those who need something quick and they have something that is coming up that's you know hey I need this now, right, and if you're gonna look at the two, if you're thinking the acupuncture out, they're gonna have more of a traditional training method and I think it's pretty rigorous and certain qualifications.

Whereas uh driving link for the most part, what I've noticed is typically their physical therapists who can do this in addition to other treatments. Yeah, absolutely. I I believe that they get that certification and it's just an extra thing that they are able to awesome. So next on the list is going to be PRP which is platelet rich plasma. You can also get other forms of pro therapy through glucose injections as well. So basically what's going on is that they take your blood or in the glucose injections, they're injecting glucose so they're causing a trauma within your body and allowing the natural, your body's natural healing mechanisms to take place in this case. They're taken in pRP, they're taking it out and then taking out all the good stuff that's gonna help you recover and they're putting that in directly where that area needs. So people who have a lot of tendon issues, perhaps arthritis, even muscular issues.

This is the kind of thing that really help change things around because it's getting all those, those areas or those things in your body that's made naturally to go ahead and attack it with full force because especially if you have areas that don't have a lot of blood flow, you can really use this to your advantage. One possible one way that I personally use is I actually have a morton's aroma and so for many, many years they think you know you go through the footwear changes, you go through string training, you can even have toe spacers, there's so many things and then you resort to surgery. Why do you want to have surgery? So I I've been getting glucose injections around the ligaments of my foot and that's actually helped the integrity of my foot. So I'm a very big proponent of PRP or pro therapy. It does tend to cost you a little extra money but was about to say, I know it's it's very expensive and not always covered by insurance.

Yeah, exactly. With a lot of these, but the research is there and it's really helpful for people who have that chronic pain and really produce some of the antibiotic growth factors that are really going to help your body growth. Yeah, I want to point out, I guess ask you after doing acupuncture dragging link? I mean you can potentially work out the next day. You definitely want to flush out the toxins by drinking lots of water with PRP. Are you able to run the next day or do you need to take a couple days off the area of tender. So what I've been told it's been very dependent. So a lot of people after the initial injection, they will be sore in that area for a few days. So what I have been recommended is that you take the time to recover and you can run easy but don't do anything that's going to cause any more damage because you know either you're inflicting damage or you're trying to heal that damaged by this pro therapy injection. So with that you don't want to be going and climbing up mountains or running really hard workouts or doing things that are gonna cause your body extra stress noted.

Alright, so next on our list is going to be the usage of sauna. The sauna has been around for a very long time. You know if we go to a gym, we all know that usually there's a sauna or a steam room over there and we enjoy sitting in it. But we don't really ever really think about the benefits that actually come from using a sauna and how that can actually help us as runners, cardiovascular early but also help us recover and increase the recovery process. So there's a couple of different types of saunas. Your traditional sauna that you walk in. You see the heating product there and sometimes there's some tea, pour some water on there. But there's also another type of sauna called a red light sauna. So we'll talk a little bit about both of them. But for the most part I'm gonna lump them both together and just talk about the general benefits of using the sauna. Do you know if you're getting enough magnesium because four out of five Americans aren't and that's a big problem because magnesium is involved in more than 600 biochemical reactions in your body specifically for us.

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So I know we kind of touched upon a little bit there that's kind of the idea with really stimulating your heart and yeah, I'd say just I haven't done this personally besides just in enjoying the sun and warm up in the winter months when I used to live and train in Minnesota, but I know runners who practice this typically from what I've seen it will be after the runner workout. However you mentioned the red light technology or the red light therapy, whatever you want to call it. I have a friend in Boulder colorado who runs on a treadmill with this light shining down on him and he does like full on workouts and even cranks up the incline. He's a trail runner. That's interesting. So it's interesting you say that because the benefits are exponential when you do both together. So if we want to talk a little bit more on the red light. So the red light is a little bit different. But what the research has found is that it helps not only increase your the recovery benefits, but also like white blood count and helping your immunity as well.

So really focusing on areas that help your overall health but also your performance. So the song itself is really there to create a growth hormone response. So allow your body to kind of switch into that antibiotic anabolic building mode. So it's putting you right into recovery, allowing you to get that at a faster pace. So very interesting. Also if you happen to live in an area that is really hot, you know using the sauna to your advantage can actually help you um you know, induce those sheet heat shock proteins which will allow you to be better equipped to tackle the heat. So you know, and then you know, to wrap things up on the sauna, you're also gonna get a really nice benefit from the endorphins that end up getting released into your body. Um And there's some an article out that it it feels tranquilizing, you feel soothing. I'm sure we've all experienced this with us on it and it feels really nice after you kind of get out of it.

And that itself can help minimize the pain. You know, some muscular pains and whatnot and perhaps even help you sleep better. But of course work up to it in increments. I know there's some horror stories about people falling asleep in there and yeah coming out like a dried up sponge or something. So you wanna be cautious, yeah, drink water that's important. It's important in the process because a lot of times with the other health related effects of a sauna. You know a lot of that is through your skin, so you're releasing some of the body's natural toxins through the skin and so you gotta make sure that you are taking enough hydration to support that. So so to reverse the role here, we talked about how heat and the extremes can help us recover. Now let's go ahead and talk about the quite opposite of that and cryotherapy which you know in some words would be ice bath on steroids. So it's a very direct, it doesn't take as long to get the benefits of it, but very similar, yet different in the way that a sauna would.

So we kind of think of like our traditional heat and ice are contrast that we typically do. So Roy if you don't mind kick us off into how exactly a cryo baric chamber works and and is that the right word? Cryo barrett? I don't know. Anyway, I think, Okay, that's okay, that's okay, cryotherapy chamber is what I would call it. Tell us exactly how how one of those chambers work and how we get the benefits of it. So I mean neither of us are claiming to be experts on this. So I guess I'll just put it in simple terms, first of all you can do this in an ice Isolars area for like an acute injury where you can have the full on body experience where just your head is sticking out of this chamber. So essentially it's creating this intense stress response. All your blood flow is gonna leave your extremities head, head towards the core, you know, the cardiovascular area. And I want to say it's like pretty abbreviated amount of time, like even 10 15 minutes.

I Think it's like 3-5 is that it might even be like super charged, right? Because you don't want to risk you having your body temperature dropped too much. But when you leave the chamber or you're done with the the icing essentially your blood leaves the body and it's gonna be a lot more oxygenated and nutrient dense returns which helps with, right? So it's actually, it's relatively simple. Doesn't end up being a little bit costly. I know that I've gone to a Couple of chiropractic places where it was like $15 a pop. So definitely not a bad thing to dive into and to try if you're really trying to force recovery on a specific area or you really just like the benefits and the idea of the benefits that potentially provide. So it's something that's not accessible to everyone. But I think that for the most part it would be worthwhile to give it a try. There was something that you absolutely needed addressed. So interesting. And I think that if you're listening to this or you're watching this, you know, let us know if you try something therapy because personally we, we haven't had too much experience with other than, you know, hearing what other people have thought that they had to say what the research has to say and how that could help us.

So I'd be actually really curious just to see what you guys think about this type of recovery and how exactly you have used it for. Yeah. And what does it feel like? Should you be nervous headed into this? Yeah, yeah, we've all been a nice back. It is. I've been told that the cryo cryo chambers are much more pleasant than the traditional tub filled with ice, you know, having to really coerce yourself into getting in there. I hated it. I had to do it every Tuesday and friday and terrible. Um, but anyways, you know, they're so there is benefits to both heat and cold no matter what people say. I think that there is definitely always will be benefits there. And a lot of times it is exactly what you make of it. So let's go ahead and transition into our final and probably the easiest thing that we can possibly talk about today and that would be a combination of compression, but also like Katie Kenny ceo based tape that you place on your skin. Yeah, let's do what, you probably didn't have some friends who are just taped up like crazy before and after events and I've had friends joke about it.

Like is it actually doing anything. You know, some people go through rolls of this and seemingly just be putting it on random body parts. But yeah, I think there's some very strategic ways you can use this that can be quite beneficial. Whether that's like our support or I know it can even be helpful. Something I'm dealing with recently would be plantar fasciitis. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So you know, with the band itself or the tape itself, you can use this all over your body. Um, a lot of times. I guess what the research typically says, you know, there is like saying that how it prevents your muscles from vibrating. And I think that's prob less true. But what the best explanation that I've been able to come across is saying that how the tape basically has like appropriate deceptive effect to it. So being that, you know, that there's something stuck to your body that you know, it's there. This changes the motion in which you move. It also provides a little bit of stability there too, depending on how aggressively you have it on you.

Um, but that basically just makes you more aware of your body and that that is still very helpful for recovery, especially if you're worried about certain specific areas causing you problems. So yeah, I think it's, there's a lot of hoopla with the KT tape nation. But I've personally seen a lot of experience from it and you know, I definitely think that having that on you while it might not prevent the vibration. It can definitely help prevent some unneeded or unnecessary muscle fatigue based on the fact that hey, you might be firing and activating a lot more properly knowing that you have this piece of tape, it's as simple as that stuck to your skin. Yeah, I'd say, you know, at worst, it's probably gonna do nothing. So yeah, pretty low risk, I would say, instead of just taping up randomly, there's a lot of good youtube tutorials out there. That'll give you some good ideas for how to actually do it properly.

Alright, let's talk about some of the options for compression. Uh, one thing that you may have seen runners where would be the, what are called recovery socks, compression socks often worn after a race or heart event. However, some athletes choose to wear them during the race as well just because you're promoting blood flow to that area. And the idea is gonna like flush out the toxins the fatigue that can accumulate during a race. Now, me personally, I have worn them in a race and I found minimal benefits or minimal difference. In fact, even though some people get used to them, I'm just always aware that they're there. So I prefer to race without them and then just use them the day or night after a hard race, especially like a marathon if you go to sleep with these socks, you kind of forget they're there and wake up. I feel noticeably better. Like I feel like I have a little bit more spring in my step. What's your experience with them? Yeah, I am in agreement with you.

I definitely like them post exercise versus during exercise. I do like the idea of the compression, the idea of increasing blood flow, the idea of pushing some of that waste product out. And I definitely prefer to have them for if I'm walking around all day or I want to simply just recover from a hard effort or a hard race. Yeah, So lots of brands out there that you can try out. I don't think there's much harm in, you know, giving them try it worse, you know? Not much will happen. However, it also reminds me of a product that has become really popular, I'd say the most dominant brand would be the normal tech recovery boots. However, there are many other brands that I think do the same thing for a lot cheaper. But this is basically, you know, amped up compression, right? Do you want to explain what's happening here? You've seen runners perhaps wearing these funny looking boots? Yeah, absolutely. So with a compression sock, you're getting your basic static compression.

So it stays there, nothing else moves. It helps increase blood flow of course, but it just does it at that very simple baseline level. Whereas the compression boots allow you to have a more dynamic approach to recovery, compression so that it compresses and relax. It kind of mimics the same kind of pump that you already have in your body, just cycling blood through, but instead it prevents blood flow and then allows blood flow. So basically what you're doing is you're trying to, you know, push in healthy nutrient blood flow and then releasing the negative waste products that come with it. So it's this nice balance in eb and flow of compressing and squeezing. Um that can help get some of that waste out of your system and ultimately provide a little bit more recovery and a little bit quicker too. Yeah, I think we actually have a couple pairs of these in the house. Yeah, we do, we do. I like them. They feel good if anything um it's hard to really stack them up and say, hey, is this directly causing me recovery?

But I definitely think after a hard workout it feels really good to put the boots on and just allow allow it to, you know, effectively, you know, cycle its way through dynamic compression, allowing your body to perhaps yeah, even if it's just like enjoyable and you're gonna get that mental boost because you're like, I'm more relaxed. I say it doesn't hurt. Absolutely. So that wraps things up. Guys, we talked about a lot of key areas that weren't absolutely over the fence. We try to keep things that everybody could possibly do or have their hands on if need be. So let us know if there's anything that you would possibly add to this list or one of the items that you have seen. A lot of direct benefit. I know a lot of our listeners, a lot of people who watch our videos. Um, you know, we're all experienced runners. So you know, with that in mind, we've tried everything to help boost our recovery performance, you say? So let us know. Yeah. So we appreciate you tuning into another episode of up tempo talks.

This is Coach Rory and I'm Coach Dylan Bellas have a great run today. Thanks Dylan. Thanks Rory. What stood out for me from that list of alternative recovery methods was the use of compression as well as the use of sauna being based in Salt Lake City Utah and frequently training in a winter climate for hot desert races. I've often resorted to the sauna for the heat training that Dylan described. Likewise, I've incorporated compression socks into my recovery routine for years now. And like Rory mentioned, my protocol tends to be slipping them on at night, right before bed to get 7 to 9 hours of continuous usage, pushing that blood flow back into the calf muscles. But I'm curious what are your thoughts on some of the methods discussed. Have any of these worked for. You have some shown little to no benefit. Give us a shout out in the comments section of this episode on facebook or instagram. We would love to hear about your experiences and perspectives. Thanks for being a listener to the run to the top podcast.

I'm your host, Fin Melanson. And as always, our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode. Please consider connecting with me on instagram at Wasatch, Finn and the rest of our team at runners connect. Also consider supporting our show for free with a rating on the Spotify and Apple podcast players. And lastly, if you love the show and you want bonus content behind the scenes experiences with our guests and premier access contests and giveaways. Then subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners connect dot net back slash podcast. Until next time. Happy training.

5 Alternative Recovery Methods for Running
5 Alternative Recovery Methods for Running
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