Instead of making fancy cards for your significant other or buying flowers and chocolate I thought it might be nice to turn it around and treat yourself as a Valentine, runner’s style. I think we can all admit that when it comes to ourselves we are really good at the punishment of those long running miles but not very good at the pampering and recovering portion. So below is a list of ideas you can do for yourself to keep running well and stay healthy:
Give yourself the gift of a downward facing dog. I totally understand that you don’t have time for an entire yoga class. Heck, I often have these great intentions of doing a full online yoga class and rarely does it actually come together. Sometimes I proudly announce to my husband that I will be in the office for an hour doing some yoga, only to come out 10 minutes later and shrug, “I just wasn’t feeling it.” So maybe you don’t do a full yoga class. But you can certainly give yourself a few minutes of doing some downward facing dogs. This one stretch, when held for about 30 seconds, can help loosen tight calves, hamstrings and lower back muscles. Take some time and pedal out the calves to work deeper into those knotted muscles.
Just stick it. Like the Nazareth song says, “Love hurts.” Spend a few minutes post long run using the stick. This bad boy will get deep into painful calves, hamstrings and quads. All I can say is that it hurts so good. If you have never used one of these, it is an incredible tool. Just don’t expect it to feel like a nice little massage. This is meant to dig in and hurt. But the results are pretty awesome.
Go ahead and dig into that Valentine’s Day dark chocolate. It is full of antioxidants that help lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. It also helps ward off blood clots and even inflammation. Just don’t give yourself the go ahead and eat ALL of the dark chocolate because if you are anything like me that is a recipe for a another long run to make up for the indulgence!
Prop your feet up and be a slug. Just for a day! Sometimes the one thing we runners are worst at is taking a break. Although you should keep moving to some extent on your rest days it is ok to give yourself an occasional full day off. Settle in on the couch and read a good book or even better watch some Olympics. I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough right now! Go wild and even take a midday nap!
Bottoms up! Some research says that an ice cold beer after a long run can improve recovery and provide you with some post run antioxidants. It seems the jury is still out on this one, but while they sit and deliberate I say go ahead and have a cold one.
This is my favorite beer of all time. Huma Lupa Licious from Short’s Brewery in MI. If you can get your hands on this IPA go for it!
There are dozens of nice things you can do for yourself. Pull out that dusty foam roller and give it a go, get a manicure and pedicure, whatever it takes to make you feel refreshed and ready to hit the road. Do something nice for yourself and of course don’t forget your loved ones. I am especially lucky this year to have my husband as my Valentine and running partner. We sure make a good team. Perhaps we will be slugs on the couch together and watch some Olympics! Who says romance is dead?!