If you have an injury (or even if you only have a niggle that might become an injury) one of the first things people will tell you to do is RICE. And if you don’t know what RICE means a quick LMGTFY search will give you this…
…which is a pretty straight forward explanation of what you should be doing to recover from most running related injuries. Now, maybe I’m a little wrapped up in semantics but I am currently pretending that I am not injured…I just have a little niggle that is unexplained and will not go away, no matter how many bad words I call it!
And how do you treat an unwelcome niggle in your leg? With a slightly modified variation of RICE, of course!
First, you need to rest. No running. No hiking. No unnecessary walking. Become the person that obnoxiously waits for a parking spot close to the Target entrance. Make co-workers stop by your desk to work on a project. Take the entire bag of potato chips to the couch rather than make multiple trips to the kitchen. Be nice to your legs…make them do very little!
Get creative with your icing! When it’s just a niggle plain ol’ ice packs won’t do the trick. You’ll need to replace a bag of ice cubes with a cup of ice cream. Every day. Yes, you need to eat ice cream every single day, preferably a different flavor from a variety of ice cream shops.
You desperately need this ice cream when it comes to the compression step. Eating copious amounts of ice cream will lead to all of your clothing becoming slightly tighter, more compression-like, if you will. A standard pair of jeans will now double as compression leggings…and when you pair them with compression socks you’re doubling your recovery speed!
Lastly, live at elevation! If you’re not lucky enough to live somewhere high then make special trips to higher elevation areas – such as Leadville during the Leadville 100 mile race where you can get your elevation, mountain and running fix all in the same trip! You may also want to consider sitting around with your feet up while watching other people run for hours and call yourself a “stellar crew member” when your suffering runner crosses the finish line!
And how am I doing with this variation of RICE’ing? I am excelling at it! I haven’t ran a single step since last Saturday and barely ran in the two weeks prior. I am diligently eating ice cream every single day in an effort to ice my innards and get the most compression from all of my jeans! As for the elevation – well, I figure my body is used to living at elevation so I’m heading up to Leadville this weekend to crew a runner at the Leadville 100. Boom…recovery win!
Oh, it’s probably also a good idea to hang out with a deep tissue massage therapist and schedule an appointment with a physical therapist that understands the ultra runner mentality! I’ve also done both of those! I actually went through my first bout of dry needling on Thursday and am flaunting a leg decorated in bright colored kinesiology tape! There have been a lot of “firsts” leading up to my first 100…hello learning curve!
As of right this second the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 mile race is still on the table and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that my body will be able to pull it off. As I said before, I will not start the race unless I am going in uninjured and niggle-free – I need to be confident in my ability to finish before I even start running! I am also fully prepared for a very daunting race, but I’m okay with that – that just means my second 100 miler will be that much better!