When you signed up to run your FIRST half marathon it was not without reservations. The time commitment seemed daunting but once you found a plan that has you running only three days a week it felt doable. There was the race fee, which was substantially more than the your last 5K. However, you do get some nice bling at the finish line plus a giant swag bag. That along with the sense of accomplishment you know you will feel made it easier to click the PAY button. Then there was the biggest worry of all.
Can my body handle 13.1 miles at once plus all the miles I have to cover to get there?
A solid training and nutrition plan will help anyone who is ready to do the work cover the distance. How your body reacts to the miles (or any other strenuous workout plan) depends not just on how hard you train but also how hard you recover.
A well-designed training plan will have days of rest and active recovery.
It will make foam rolling after (and perhaps before) your runs part of the routine. You’ll do dynamic warm ups and start wearing compression socks to bed. You will fuel your body not just for the work but also for the repair and recovery. It also helps to have a secret recovery weapon or two. My top suggestions are Epsom salt bathes, plenty of sleep and turmeric.
Turmeric, specifically its primary ingredient curcumin, has long been used in traditional medicine for anything from digestive issues to relieving arthritis pain. A growing body of recent research supports its use to for many ailments including fighting inflammation and reducing pain. Both of these can be crucial in maximizing recovery and improving performance no matter what your fitness goal.
Why is recovery so important?
If you’re still sore and tired for the next run, you won’t be able perform your best. If you’re already fighting the “Why am I doing THIS?” thoughts in your head a bad run and pain in your knees just adds fuel to the fire. Also when your body hasn’t had proper time to recovery it can increase your risk of injury. While your goal may be to just finish, you don’t want to do it limping all the way.
You can reach for curcumin in pill form but where is the fun in that? I’m going to suggest adding recovery to rituals you may already enjoy: your morning tea and your post workout shake.
Having turmeric tea before your workout may help make the miles go by with a little less fatigue and pain. I suggest giving Golden Milk a try if your stomach doesn’t let you eat much before a run or workout. Golden Milk is like a matcha latte but with turmeric tea instead. I would suggest this Amoda Tea recipe made with coconut oil, coconut milk and their Turmeric Ginger Recover Tea. I’ve personally made Golden Milk with just the Turmeric Ginger Recover Tea whisked into almond coconut milk and it tastes amazing. The warm spiciness needs no sweetness in my opinion. Enjoy it this way with a small pre-workout meal or before bed to help your body take advantage of the time when it does most of the critical recovery work – while you sleep.
While you can just add turmeric root to green tea or buy ground turmeric to make tea, the Turmeric Ginger Recover tea already has the black pepper in it that turmeric needs to be properly utilized by the body as well as ginger, another herb with anti inflammatory and immunity boosting properties. With a little added vanilla, drinking this herbal blend may be the easiest part of your plan.
If you’re like me and enjoy a good protein shake as your workout recovery drink let me recommend a little boost. Amoda Tea has a Matcha Recovery blend that makes the perfect addition to a Mocha Chai Protein smoothie (which already has turmeric and tart cherry). Just add a teaspoon of Match Recovery to your favorite post workout shake and enjoy while you foam roll the knots out of your calves.
(Note: I’ve had the idea to talk about turmeric for a long time. When I mentioned it to Tegan at Amoda Tea she offered to send me some of her teas. It helps to have friends who make great tea. However, if I didn’t really like it I wouldn’t be sharing it with you today.)
If you’ve signed up for a half (or full!) marathon, kicked up your strength training a notch or simply have knees that act up every so often after a walk, you need to pay attention to your recovery. Turmeric is a great tool with no negative side effects that I am aware of. (Although I am sure there are those who due to allergy or other condition can’t have it. You know who you are. Behave accordingly.) Drink your tea, get your sleep and trust me on those Epsom salt baths. If you do you’ll probably feel better for your next long run, heavy leg day or hike in the hills.