Runs continue to get longer as I rapidly approach the date of my first full marathon (October 30 = TOO SOON) and my body is still adapting. The journey over the past few months, with half marathons throughout and an increased training regimen, has threatened even my well-seasoned athletic legs with some of the worst soreness I've ever experienced, and I've had to learn to recover better and more intelligently along the way. Compression sleeves, smarter hydration, and increased stretching have all helped keep my legs moving at a decent clip, but one of the biggest changes I've made has been paying more attention to my footwear. Of course most runners know to have their running shoes fitted properly and many of us use custom orthotic inserts for the best possible running configuration, but how many of us pay attention to what we wear after we run? I definitely didn't - until I heard about a company called Telic and their amazing recovery flip flops.
Too many times after a run, I just throw on my cheap crappy flip flops or whatever other unsupportive everyday shoe is within arm's reach and can handle my foot sweat (TMI? sorry). Inevitably, the next day I would barely be able to walk, hobbling up the stairs and down the hall into my running company office to the usual good-natured but still brutally honest teasing. Seriously, there were days when I looked exactly like this after a race:
Telic flip flops help alleviate that post-run stiffness by redistributing the weight on your feet when you walk. Instead of putting a lot of pressure on one or two points (like the ball of your foot or your heel), the weight is more even and your muscles are able to relax, while also enjoying a very cushioned sole that reduces impact stress. Plus, the heat-activated material conforms to the shape of your foot, and the textured soles give you a hint of massage to boot! Or to flip flop, I suppose... Either way, my soreness and awkward limping have been almost completely erased since I've started wearing them more consistently, leaving me feeling a little more like this:
Quick warning, though! I started taking my Telics with me to races, so I could put them on immediately post-run. Turns out, in the summer, this is a BIG MISTAKE! That "heat activated" material I mentioned? Well, it reacts to extreme heat too, like the summer weather we've been having. My first pair SHRUNK in my car while I was running! Telic was awesome and sent me a replacement pair, but please be careful about where you leave your flip flops, because they really do get ruined if they're left in the heat.
Paying more attention to my feet post-run is changing my ability to keep moving, which allows me to stick more closely to a training schedule. Gone are the days when I can use the "but I can barely walk" excuse to get out of a scheduled run, and honestly, the extra training has helped me make huge gains in endurance and strength. When you're taking proper care of your body, from head to toe, your body becomes more and more capable of amazing things! So throw out those thin dollar store flip flops and recover properly - I promise, your feet (and legs and hips) will love you for it!
Have you tried recovery footwear yet? What other products or techniques do you use to relieve soreness, recover faster, and keep your body healthy? What's the wrost "whoops" moment you've had with a good piece of gear that you accidentally ruined?