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31 July 2023 Jes Woods
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As a running coach in the heat of fall marathon training season (PLUS getting athletes ready for this weekend’s BKLYN MILE), the importance of recovery becomes equally as important as the runs and workouts themselves. You know this. And I know that you know this, but I also know we need to be reminded of this time and time again.

This season, I’ve been noticing a trend of runners needing to “earn their recovery” and admittedly, I have been guilty of this as well. Since a lot of the runners in New York are in the early stages of marathon training, we are potentially not prioritizing recovery just yet. But just like fueling during your run, if you wait until you need it, it’s too late. Recovery follows the same mantra- if you wait until you need it, it’s too late. So instead of earning our recovery, let’s talk about “precovery” and building good habits early on to keep us healthy and running.

Cryotherapy, infrared sauna, tart cherries, compression boots, sensory deprivation tank… so many recovery modalities and only so much time (and $$) in the day. So how do you decide what’s best and how often should you be doing it? Like Christie Aschwanden concludes in her book Good to Go (and I agree), recovery boils down to what works best for YOU and what makes YOU feel better. The science might say it's a placebo effect or it only gives you a 2-3% physiological benefits, but if YOU feel better afterwards, then do it. Because if you feel good and you feel like it works, then it’s working and you’re more likely to stick with it and make it your recovery ritual.

A daily recovery ritual = precovery = injury prevention.

Below is an example of my personal recovery ritual with whens and whys. Check it out, try it out, and work on creating your own recovery ritual.

Daily: A cheribundi a day keeps the inflammation away. This one is a no brainer now. Whether it’s directly after a run or workout, or cheribundi sleep before bed, I’m consuming one cheribundi concentration packet daily. Not only does it immediately help with inflammation, but the more regularly you consume it, the more it helps with better sounder sleep as well as supporting immunity.

Weekly: The aforementioned PT exercises. We’re all guilty of it and more times than not, we wait until we’re injured and THEN do our physical therapy exercises. So I’m putting this in writing for my own accountability and yours- get seen by a professional and do your PT exercises regularly!

My favorite recovery modality are the compression boots. Recovery boils down to blood flow and sleep/rest. The compression boots are promoting blood flow which is promoting healing. Try doubling up and drinking cheribundi while in your compression boots - chef’s kiss. If you don’t have access to compression boots, try simply laying down with your legs up against the wall for 15 minutes.

1-2x per month: Physical therapy with my favorite people, Finish Line Physical Therapy. They may have even invented the term “precovery” and I’m completely bought in. In addition to some hands on manual work, they always give you exercises for homework which I take videos of and notes so I can do them on my own (and share them with teammates and athletes whom I coach).

Monthly: Here’s the treat yourself moment- scheduling a monthly massage or acupuncture. Does it actually help? I don’t know, but it makes me feel good so I try to prioritize it monthly. My advice is to find that treat yourself recovery moment that works for you (contrast bath, light therapy, cupping, localized cryotherapy, etc.)

As needed: Ice baths! Again, there’s a lot of research out right now on this topic and a lot of it is conflicting, but I’ve been doing ice baths since high school and college, so maybe it’s nostalgic for me or maybe it actually works, but I do love treating myself to one after an especially long run or adventure day on the trails.

TLDR so here’s the punchline- create your own recovery ritual and don’t wait until you need it.


Thanks to our contributing run coach, Jes Woods, for this article.

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