Though I don’t watch much basketball, college or professional, I do enjoy keeping abreast of the players who poke fun at themselves in commercials (and cameos for ESPN Sports Center). Last year I viewed a commercial with Paul George and Joe Young (both of the Indiana Pacers). The humor shone through the spot (“Too Much Fashion”), as did the product placement from Gatorade – the creators of the ad. The tagline struck me too. “If it’s not game time, it’s recover time.”
“The way you recover affects the way you play.” The narrator delivered this remark as “Too Much Fashion” faded to black. This commercial encapsulates great truth for athletes, amateur and elite alike. Be it basketball, baseball, football, hockey, or even running, recovery matters. Pushing the body hard for the big game or the big race matters as this is how championships are secured and legacies achieved. But recovery matters too – more than we realize.
Suppose the ad tagline from “Too Much Fashion” was rephrased for runners. It might look like this: “If it’s not run time, it’s recover time.” What’s more, runners spend more time recovering than running over the course of their lives. For illustration purposes, I tend to run 35-40 miles a week. These 40 miles correspond to roughly 7 or 8 hours of actual run time on the road or on the dirt trails. The recovery time interspersed between the aforementioned 7 or 8 hours is exponential though. In other words, the absence of running denotes the presence of recovery. I’m giving my body sufficient time to heal so I can lower the risk of injury for future runs. And speaking of injury, a runner I know completed a trail marathon last year and proceeded to run six miles three days later – at a fast pace I might add. Is this enough time to recover from 26.2 miles? Perhaps it depends on the runner and his or her current fitness level.
Recovery from a run takes numerous forms, the first of which being rest. The second expression concerns food, and I know that the ears of runners undoubtedly perk up at the mere mention of this glorious word. Lisa Dorfman, a registered dietitian, had this to say about food and its role in recovery: “Of all the things I’ve done in 25 years of racing, eating something with carbs and protein within 30 minutes of training has been the most critical.” Shakes, bars, and even chocolate milk will help facilitate a quicker recovery after a punishing run.
A third expression of recovery is massage, be it from a professional or by one’s own hand. I favor the Trigger Point brand, and the GRID X foam roller and GRID STK X are my preferred instruments of pain – beneficial pain though. Ice baths are one more recovery pathway for runners, but I have a hard time sitting in ice for longer than one second. How do you fare with the frigid and the frosty? Conversely, heat and Epsom salt soaks also provide outstanding respite and restoration for tattered legs.
No running, food (replete with protein and carbohydrates), and massage are the essence of recovery. These three expressions, when combined, lower the risk of injury and make for solid miles from one week to the next. If you recall the Gatorade ad, Paul George and Joe Young were donning some outrageous suits in that television spot. I’ll save my remarks on the intersection of running and fashion for a later date, but these professional basketball players are wise to remind us that what you do for your body when it isn’t in the midst of intense physical activity matters.
If it's not game time, it's recover time.