Recovery, Part 3
It's been exactly a month since I received the green light to proceed with normal activity - walk, hike, yoga, cycle and run!
As of today, I have gone on a total of six runs in a month...and holy shit (pardon my language), it practically feels like I have never run before! My runs have all been a "trot" pace - around 2.5 minutes faster than my average pace prior to my left hip fracture.
It's both frustrating and exciting. I'm finally using my legs again and building muscle slowly but surely...but it's hard to see everyone fly by me. I wish I could explain to everyone that passes me while I take walking breaks that I am doing so for a reason. Pride and patience clearly are not my strong suits.
Not only do I feel slower and weaker, I am so sore the three days following my "trot" like clockwork. No - my hip is not hurting! Rather, my calves, quads, hamstrings, IT band and hip flexors are all so sore! Any lower body strength training, hiking and some yoga sequences all do the same. Ouch.
Amidst my perpetual whining that I'm sore, I've found a few good tricks to help relieve some of the pain and tenderness and give a little love to my growing muscles.
Here are my tips and tricks to treating sore muscles during recovery:
- Epsom Salt & Essential Oil Baths. I love to pour a cup of epsom salt and a few drops of both eucalyptus and lavender essential oils into hot water and soak while reading. Epsom salt baths ease pain and relieve muscle inflammation, while the eucalyptus helps with inflammation and the lavender helps with pain and relaxation(and make your whole bathroom smell amazing!) . And yes, epsom salt is different than your normal table salt! Drug and grocery stores carry it.
- Yoga. Yes, some advanced yoga sequences make my weak leg muscles sore. However, practicing yoga is also a great way for me to stretch and restore these sore muscles.
- Yoga Balm. My friend, Leah, gave me a few jars of Yoga Balm she snagged during a stint at a skincare company. While I had never used it before, it has become my go-to! Yoga Balm is made of organic olive oil, organic hempseed oil, yakim peppermint, beeswax, wild frankincense, St. John's Wort and organic plantain. I love to rub a bit of the balm into my sore muscles when I start feeling any soreness. The olive oil inhibits substances that lead to inflammation, the peppermint releases stressed muscles, the beeswax and plantain act as an anti-inflammatory agents, St. John's Wort reduces nerve and joint pain and the wild frankincense reduces joint and muscle inflammation. Bonus: it smells great!
- Foam Rolling. Foam rolling is both my best friend and worst enemy. While often uncomfortable, foam rolling is an amazing self-massage method that releases muscle tightness and trigger points. By applying pressure to certain points in my legs, I can help recover muscles. I use a traditional foam roller, lacrosse balls and The Stick!
- Massage. If you have a willing friend, partner and/or bank account to pay a professional, massages are great for relieving muscle tension and trigger points as are foam rollers. Plus, it's mentally relaxing. I am the biggest advocate of massages.
- All. The. Water. While I often struggle with dehydration, I've been working on drinking a ton of water daily to flush out all the lactic acid crowding my poor muscles!
What are your tips and tricks to relieve soreness?