Just because races are canceled doesn’t mean athletes are giving up on their training. Professionals at the highest level have gotten creative about their workout routines—from fashioning makeshift backyard pools to wrestling with their pets—rather than sit around lamenting the postponement of competitions they’ve trained for over months, years, or even their whole lives.
Amateurs have also upped their games while maintaining social-distancing. Virtual workouts, at-home classes, and bodyweight exercises have never been more popular among weekend warriors. The competitions will return, and we will be ready.
And if you’re still training to race again one day (or you went all in on virtual competitions and never stopped racing), you had better recover like it, too. The last thing you want is to rocket off the start, only to end up with another long stint on the sidelines—one you could’ve prevented by taking proper care of yourself. Here are a few isolation-friendly ways to ensure you’re getting the right rest and recovery throughout your open-ended training program.
Build in enough stretch time
It’s impossible to overstate just how much a precious few minutes of dynamic stretching before and after a run can help reduce pain and swelling, and even improve muscle function and strength. It’s equally impossible to estimate just how many runners skip this for no good reason. Try a simple five-minute daily routine and see what a difference it makes—no equipment required, and it’s doable anywhere. Three straight days is a habit; thirty straight and you’re a whole new athlete.
You may not be able to go visit your favorite massage therapist right now, but you can steal a few of their moves for some quick at-home therapy. Massages can calm frayed nerves, soothe the mind, and most importantly, aid in muscle recovery after a tough home workout or solo long run.
Before undergoing your next self-massage, try eating a Charlotte’s Web CBD Recovery Gummy first. It comes formulated with turmeric and ginger, which help support exercise-induced inflammation, along with 10 milligrams of plant-based cannabidiol, to deliver a one-two relaxation punch. And they taste pretty dang delicious too.
Advocates note that CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis plants, could help reduce stress, anxiety, and even occasional inflammation.
Monitor your hydration
When you’re not going to the gym or the office, where water breaks are as much about your health as they are about simply getting up from your desk once an hour, it can be easy to let hydration slip. But consuming the right amount of water each day is one of the easiest and most important ways to keep all the cells in your body happy and healthy.
To figure out that personal metric, all you need to do is weigh yourself pre- and post-exercise a few times to find out how much water weight you typically lose. Try to replace every pound lost with 20 to 24 ounces of fluid to restore the body’s balance. Keep a journal to monitor your progress or even set an alarm to take a drink every 15 to 30 minutes if you have to.
Make your own ice bath
If you’re feeling really sore (or just want a more intense cool-down), have yourself a good old-fashioned ice bath right in your tub. Cold-water immersion makes the body’s blood vessels constrict. Then, when the body returns to its normal state, blood vessels dilate, bringing blood back to muscles and oxygen and other nutrients to cells, further aiding in recovery.
Withstanding the stress of sitting in frigid water up to your chest also helps mentally prepare you to work through future challenges, like the last mile of that first, glorious race post-“quarantine”. Try sitting in a bathtub filled with water chilled to at least 59 degrees for up to 15 minutes.
Make yourself a nutritious meal
We get it—it’s easy to fall into the trap of making your favorite comfort meals or just ordering out every day. However, now is not the time to let proper nutrition fly out the window. If anything, there’s no time like the present to learn how to cook or hone your existing chef talents by taking a stab at a few new at-home recipes. A healthy, nutritious diet supports all aspects of your training, from carbohydrates to fuel your runs to protein to replenish taxed muscles. Plus, cooking smartly during the week means you can save takeout for your cheat days or a Friday-night treat as a well-rounded pick-me-up.