Recovery is a tricky thing. Everyone's body reacts in different ways so how do we know exactly how to recovery properly from endurance activities.
This is what I noticed, what I did and what I don't know about recovery.
-marathon from 7 am-11 (UCAN, NUUN water and a bit of gatorade)
-drank gatorade, chicken noodle soup and had a protein bar immediately after run
-slightly swollen fingers part of the day
-slept for an hour 12:30-1:30 (the real definition of tired and gross when the sleep happens before a shower)
-protein bar and water right after nap
-compression socks on the rest of the day
-legs didn't feel sore but just a bit tired
-supper of ham, potatoes and green beans
*My thoughts- I didn't drink enough water or fluids of any type or maybe it was that I was getting sufficient water but didn't have the correct electrolytes to be able to utilize the water (before, during and after event). Probably took in 32-40 oz when it should have been double that. The nap was good. Compression socks a good idea but could have brought compression tights. Should have ate more but didn't really have an appetite.
-slept really horribly the night before
-legs hurt EVERYWHERE
-very puffy eye lids and face but not swollen fingers
-stairs were agony
-walked 4 miles in the morning and 3 miles in the afternoon and walked in between while doing errands
-compression socks again all day
-less than my usual amount of food consumed but still no appetite but what I did eat was very nutrient rich (protein, good carbs, good fats)
-drank water but didn't make a good enough effort to have the bottle right by my side always
-extremely chapped lips
-early to sleep
*Bad sleep negatively impacted my recovery but not within my control. By the evening, my legs were tired from all the walking but I am certain that walking (gentle cycling would have been better) was very beneficial to flushing out the lactic acid. Still didn't drink enough to offset the constantly running nose and the general fluid requirements of my body. But also still sure the balance of electrolytes and water is not what it should be. Not looking forward to how much I will be hurting the next day
-better sleep but cold even worse
-amazingly legs not sore in the least, anywhere I squeezed had no tenderness, good range of motion, no tightness and good flexibility
-4 mile walk
-food wise same as Sat.: didn't eat much but choices were good foods
Good Recovery Tips for Me
-nap the day of big effort
-fluid with electrolytes (I have to find the balance)
-eat within 45 min after effort
-nutrient dense food, lots of protein
-easy walking or cycling (active recovery) for next 2 days after big effort
-compression socks and tights for leg recovery
-more sleep than usual at night
-branch chain amino acid suppliment
What I Don't Know
-why my eyelids get so puffy for a couple days after a big effort (has happened before to me)
-why my finger get swollen many times while I am exercising (imbalance of what specifically and how to find the right combination)
-why I seemed to be so dehydrated through the run and for days after (can blowing your nose a thousand times a day do that?) or was I over hydrated and my body couldn't utilize the water
-sometimes after a run or bike, my legs will ache, not hurt but ache; I need to figure out what they aren't getting that they need
I found this neat chart (encouraging the consumption of milk after effort) that shows the role and purpose of some micro and macro nutrients. Thought it was interesting and gives me a starting place to find my balance.
I had hoped by thinking through what I did and felt I would be able to see what to do or not do a bit better but I still have some learning and investigating to do.
I tried Poweraide Zero when we were just recently in California and in the short 2 weeks of use, I had less swelling, bloating, aching legs etc and I did some long, pretty hard efforts many times. It seemed like it was a good choice for me to use for hydration. I was planning to use it before, during and after this marathon but we couldn't find it anywhere in the city. Maybe not available in Canada. Very disappointing but will look at the label online and try to match the ingredients and their proportions.
If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas or if this happens to you, please share.