With the amount of stress we put on our bodies every day, you’d think it would be common sense that proper recovery is just as important to our health as the actual training and workouts we do. But with lack of time, boredom, or just misinformation on the importance of recovery for our bodies, things like stretching, foam rolling, sports massages and physical therapy get kicked to the curb.
Since we’re a big fan of practicing what we preach over here at BBP, we thought it was time to give our own bodies a little TLC. With all the miles we’ve been logging during the Brave Buddy Run Challenge, plus the stress of the NYRR Mini 10k last week, we knew our legs were aching for some recovery.
That’s why when our good friend and run coach Vinnie Miliano highly recommended we take a trip a Custom PT we jumped at the chance.
Custom PT is a physical therapy and performance center for active New Yorkers. Whether you’re an occasional jogger or a professional athlete, Custom PT and it’s super smartie pants staff is there to offer you everything from biochemical running analysis, customized running program design, VO2 Max testing, massage therapy, acupuncture and physical therapy. Basically, Custom PT is your one-stop shop if you’re looking to perform at the top of your game and keep your body in tip-top shape.
We met with the owner and creator of Custom PT Wendy Winn and her staff of amazing PTs to talk to her about the importance of recovery for runners and get a little taste of what they offer. Here’s what Wendy taught us:
- Bones under stress (weight bearing activity such as running) need time to re-build. (As of yet, us humans have not discovered a way to lay down bone quicker!) Overdoing the stress on bone results in bone stress reactions which lead to fractures. Not enough recovery = stress fracture.
- Recovery is important for runners on the muscular level, bone level, nervous system level, and physiological level.
- Muscularly, there are small tears in the muscles (that encourage growth!) that need time to heal and repair. Not enough recovery = risk of muscle strain or tear.
- Running is taxing. (Usually in a good way!) But running stresses the nervous system and can create a level of stress in the body that is unhealthy. Not enough recovery = burnout and generalized fatigue/decreased performance.
- Physiologically (including cellular level chemistry, including vitamins, minerals, electrolytes) gets thrown off/used up with running. The inadequate restoration of this balance is harmful long-term. Not enough recovery = sickness/illness, cramping, fatigue, and long-term deficiencies like low iron and magnesium.
We went through a body analysis, sports massage (OUCHH!!) to help take the knots out of our calves, tight hip flexors, and IT bands and also go to play around with some pretty cool toys. Our favorite toy? COMPRESSION BOOTS!
Compression boots zip over your legs and pushes air into multiple chambers starting from the foot and filling to the last chamber at the hip. Air inflates and deflates the boots forcing the body to evacuate the metabolic waste causing fatigue and soreness in the muscle. It felt so good we could have laid there all day!
We asked Wendy what we can do at home to help our bodies stay happy and healthy. Here’s what she recommends:
If you’re suffering from shin splints… Wendy says try out compression sleeves. (We use these sleeves by Zensah.) While they’re still researching the full extent of benefits, compression socks help release waste products (just like the compression boots we used at the studio!) Another toy that will help with shin splints is The Stick. Use the stick the front of your shin muscle (NOT the bone) for 1 min each leg to help the tissue surrounding your shins.
If you’re suffering from tight hip flexors… Wendy says try this prone hip flexor/quad stretch off the edge of the bed 90-120 sec to release tight hip flexors. You can see in this photo right here it’s clearly working. Don’t have someone to help you with this stretch? Get a stretching strap to help you with a bigger range of motion.
If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis… Work on your single leg calf raises. Perform 2 sets of 15 calf raises on each side, ensuring your ankles don’t roll in and out. This stabilizes the ankle and foot complex. A great tool to help with plantar fasciitis? A lacrosse ball. Rolling a lacrosse ball under each foot for 1-3 minutes will help break up tight tissue.
If you’re suffering from tight IT bands… Grab a foam roller and self-myofascial release the tissue of the leg. (Want more of our favorite foam rolling exercises? Click HERE.) Wendy also taught us our new favorite exercise: hip abduction walks! Grab a looped band and place around your ankles. Tuck pelvis under legs straight and walk side to side for 3 minutes. The gluteus medius is weak in ITB and therefore the ITB must work harder. Trust us when we say we felt the burn from this exercise after 30 seconds!!
We learned so much from just one session during our time at Custom PT. The biggest takeaway? You don’t have to be injured to go to PT!! There are so many ways a place like Custom PT can help you, whether you’re an athlete or just a running enthusiast perform at the top of your game.
If you’re in the New York area we have a special treat for you! Custom PT is graciously offering all BBP readers and members a HUGE discount for their initial evaluation services (normally $200 but $150 with BBP mention) and follow up appointments (normally $150 but $100 with BBP mention!) They also work with out of network benefits if you have insurance. All you have to do is mention Brave Body Project when you schedule your appointment to receive your discount! HOW AMAZING IS THAT!
You’ll be hearing more from the awesome staff at Custom PT on our blog in the future. We can’t say enough good things about them! Make sure you check out their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Ok BBP babes! Let’s get our recovery on!
Be brave (and healthy!)
Lindsey + Amber