Long Run Recovery (Mom Edition)

Much like last week, this was another hectic one for the Brambila’s.  I got my second vaccination shot on Monday, and felt pretty terrible most of Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Friday, I went to an ortho specialist for wrist pain I’ve had since having Lila, and I got a cortisone shot.  Saturday I ran my first double digit long run.  Just a whole lot going on.  And being a new mom again means that my long run recovery is looking a little different these days.  While I’m not running 20 milers at this point, anything over 8 feels like it just wipes me out for a good part of the day.  Here’s how my long run recovery as a new mom has been looking lately.

Long Run Recovery (Mom Edition)

  • Immediate Hydration – Because I’m still nursing, I know that staying hydrated is non-negotiable. I’m drinking more water during my runs than I ever have, and making sure to stay hydrated every single day. I noticed after my 9 miler that I had a small dip in my breastmilk supply for the rest of the day, which told me I needed to hydrate even more. So this week, the second I got home, I drank a large bottle of coconut water (for the extra electrolytes), and made sure I carried my 32oz water bottle everywhere for the rest of the day.
  • Nap Time is Rest Time – I am a terrible napper. Once I’m up for the day, I am up for the day (small exception during peak weeks of ultramarathon training). However, I have been making damn sure that when Lila takes a nap on my long run day, I get my butt in bed to rest. I usually plan to start my run after I nurse her for the first time, which means I get back towards the end of her first nap. I drink, shower, and grab something to eat before she gets up, and then when she goes down for her second nap, I go down too. Most days I try to get as much done during nap time as I possible can, but the naptime after a long run is an exception. Those 90 minutes of laying in bed, watching Netflix with the lights off are amazingly relaxing. 10/10 recommend.
  • Eat a Lot – Not too different from my pre-baby recovery routine, however I do try to be mindful about eating things that are going to support my physical recovery, and my breastmilk supply. I’ve found that having a protein smoothie (I use Vega powder since Lila is sensitive to dairy with almond milk and frozen berries and banana) is fast and convenient, which is the goal when you’ve got an infant to take care of. I also make sure I have a full serving of oatmeal one long run days. The carbs are helpful in muscle recovery, and I’ve read some evidence that oatmeal can be beneficial for breastmilk supply, so win/win.
  • Yoga with Adrienne – I don’t have a ton of time to stretch after long runs, so I really appreciate the fact that this yoga youtuber has 8-15minute options specifically for runners. Lila can play in her exersaucer while I do a little stretching next to her, and we’re both pretty content. I also break out the Theragun for a few minutes, since that sucker can work out knots in 2 minutes flat.
  • Bath Time Beer – This is a random little thing that I’ve found to work well for me personally. I’ve always enjoyed a “recovery beer.” Something about the electrolytes and carbs and just having a good beer at the end of a hard workout is a little bit of magic for me. But it’s harder to enjoy a beer when I’ve got two kids to take care of for the rest of the day (not that one beer results in me being intoxicated, I just simply don’t enjoy it as much). So at the end of the day, when Lila is taking her 20 minute bath, I’ve found this to be the perfect time to relax and have a nice Shiner. It’s probably more mental, but I do feel like my body appreciates the extra little TLC, and I’ve read that the brewer’s yeast can also be helpful in boosting breast milk supply.
  • Make No Plans – There is absolutely nothing better than finishing up a long run early in the day, and knowing that the only thing you have to accomplish for the rest of the day is making sure everyone in your family survives. It’s sooooo freeing. I do my best to make sure I don’t plan playdates, actual dates, or getting any real cleaning done for the rest of the day, if I can. If my family has a busy weekend, I usually try to coordinate that with a recovery week. Does this work every single time? No. But do my best to try to keep my plans for the day as relaxed and easy as possible.

Am I going to nail the long run recovery every single time I run a decent distance as a mom to two kids?  I highly doubt it.  But having some general goals, parameters, and plans has been helpful so far.  I’m sure as Lila gets older, nurses less, and is more active during the day things will naturally change and evolve.  But for now, this is what’s working fairly well, so I don’t have any plans to fix it.

This week started off pretty normally, with my typical Sunday rest day and Monday workouts.  I did get my second vaccine shot on Monday evening, so I was prepared to feel a little crappy Tuesday.  Which I did.  I decided to take the day off work, since we have some extra COVID PTO available.  Unfortunately for me, Tuesday was one of those days that Lila’s naps just sucked.  I think they were all like 45 minutes, which is way too short for her, and means that she gets fussy in between naps.  I ended up rocking her for about 30 minutes after her third nap and putting her down for a fourth nap (which she almost never takes anymore).  Needless to say, the day wasn’t exactly what I would call relaxing.

When I woke up feeling like crap again on Wednesday, I was pretty irritated. But once again, I was able to take the day off work, and thankfully Lila was back on track with her naps for the most part. She isn’t what I would call super consistent, but she has had more consistent naps in the past two weeks than in the past two months. I’d say she has one harder day every 4-5 days at this point, and takes good, long naps the rest of the week. Which is lovely. I spent most of the day Wednesday just hanging out with her, and watching Ozark while she napped. By Thursday, I was back to feeling normal, and got in my workouts and caught up on work.

I had mixed feelings about my appointment on Friday.  I have had wrist issues since Lila was born, and it has progressively gotten more painful.  Specifically, my wrist feels like it’s been hit with a baseball bat when I wake up in the morning for about an hour.  It gets a little better throughout the day, and then starts to ache in the evenings.  I knew I was probably going to get some sort of shot during my appointment, and I was looking forward to some decent pain relief, but I know those cortisone shots do not feel good the day of.  And I wasn’t wrong.  My whole hand was numb and tingly for several hours afterwards, which meant that working out would have just been dumb.  Since it was cold and rainy, I decided to just use the day to catch up on work I’d gotten behind on, and call it good.

I had the best long run I’ve had since Lila was born on Saturday. I got in a full 10 miles without having to walk or take any significant stops (I did make a port-a-potty stop around mile 7). My body felt great the whole time, it was cold (which I love), it drizzled a little but never actually rained, overall it was just a really great, unicorn type run. I spent the rest of the day Saturday recovering, rehydrating, and hanging out with Lila and the boys. I’m coming to terms with the fact that right now, some weeks are just going to have fewer workouts than what I’d prefer. It’s not what I want, but it would be fighting an uphill battle to try to force things right now, and it’s not worth it. I’m not training for anything specific, and being ok with the lighter weeks means less stress. So, that’s where we’re at, and it’s kinda nice.

This Weeks Workouts

Total Miles: 18.58 Miles
Total Workouts: 2
How the Run Felt
I didn’t get all of my planned runs in this week.  I thought I would get my fourth run in on Friday morning before my shot, but I managed to forget to plug in my phone and did not wake up with enough time.  Womp womp.  Despite my disappointment in that, this was the first week where I didn’t have any timed interval runs, so that felt pretty good.  I’ve been taking my return to running super slow, especially with my weekday runs, and I’m starting to feel like a regular runner.  Not a newly postpartum runner.  I’ve honestly enjoyed the rebuilding process, even though it’s pushed my patience to my personal limits, but it’s nice to know I’m not too far away from “just running” again.

My long run this week felt incredible.  It may have been all the extra rest I’ve gotten this week and last, but I woke up READY TO GO.  I got my pumping done, and was fully ready to go (hair braided, hydration pack ready, running clothes in order, breakfast eaten) before I got Lila up, which meant I just had to feed her and change before heading out the door.  It was cold and drizzly, and I was a little worried about how I’d feel, but I took it slow and it felt like my body clicked into gear almost immediately.  I was listening to a new podcast, and I enjoyed every single minute of this weeks run.  It honestly didn’t even feel challenging until maybe the last 2 miles, and at that point I was so close to home, the hard felt like it passed really quickly.

How the WODs Felt
I only worked out twice this week, which was a little disappointing to be completely honest.  I had planned on taking my usual rest day on Tuesday after my shot, and figured that I probably would need to not lift on Friday after my shot, but I wasn’t expecting to also take Wednesday off.  But I know it’s what my body really needed, and I’ve heard too many stories from other athletes who have tried to work out after the vaccine while they weren’t feeling great, and having really negative consequences.  So I know I made the right decision.  Monday’s WOD was really hard, mentally.  Getting through high volume rep schemes like that are just not my favorite, but I got through it.  Thursday’s workout felt like never ending Ground Hogs Day, but it wasn’t physically too hard.  Not having any sort of built in rest was a challenge, but the movements were fine.

What I’ve Been Listening To
I’m still hooked on Trapped in Treatment and Killer Crimes, but I did come across a new series during my long run that has been equally entertaining.   The Shadow Girls is another true crime podcast about the Green River Killer murders, but this podcast differs slightly from other podcasts in that it focuses a lot more on the victims of the serial killer.  GRK is one of the most prolific murderers in American history, but his crimes have gotten a lot less media attention because of the fact that he targeted women who were being sex trafficked.  This podcast really looks at how the cultural view of sex work shaped and impacted how these killings were investigated and reported on.

What Went Well
I finished my first postpartum double digit run, and felt incredible the whole time!

What Went Shitty
Taking four full rest days wasn’t completely ideal for me.

Plans to Improve Next Week
Since I don’t currently have any doctor appointments, school functions, or family visits scheduled, I’m hoping this next week will be more of a regular one for my training.

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