How to Recover After a Half Marathon

“Thirteen point freaking one”

October is a great time to run a half marathon. It’s cool, the trees are beautiful – who am I kidding, half marathons are a blast, any time of year.


My face when I get to run a fall race.

I myself just ran one of my favorites, the Fargo mini marathon. It was a perfect fall day, challenging course, and a pretty fast pace, leaving me more spent and fatigued than a usual half. My mind instantly shifted to my recovery plan.

It made me think about running recovery. Most runners focus on everything leading up to the race, from nutrition and supplements to weekly mileage goals and speedwork, yet many have a plan for an important part of race day: recovery after the run.

Those 13.1 miles take a toll, even on the most seasoned runner. Post-race recovery is crucial to keep your mind and body feeling good hours, the next day, even the next week after a half marathon. Here are my five recovery tips after a successful 13.1.

Get Your Hydrate On

Whether you grab a bottle of water at the finish or bring your own sports drink, post-race hydration is crucial. Even if you hit a couple water stops along the course, you still have a lot of fluid to replace.


This guy always rides shotgun.

Proper hydration extends beyond immediate post-race too. You’ll want to hydrate all day after a half marathon. This will help prevent nasty headaches, cramping or excessive muscle soreness, even lead to better sleep that night.

Snack Time
Some people can eat slices of pizza, down a carton of chocolate milk, even pack in ice cream right after a race. I am not one of these people. Immediate post-race is the one time in my entire life that food is not appealing to me. But I know the importance of a post-race snack for recovery so I always make it a point to find something after the race. A small bagel, a banana or a small cookie is usually my jam. Just enough so I’m not running (ha, running, get it?) on empty too long.

That being said, remember the key word here: snack. Don’t go overboard on the post-race snack. Depending on the time of the race, you’ll probably eat a normal breakfast or lunch soon.

Lower Body Love
I know, I know, it’s easy to forget to stretch after a workout. It’s even easier to neglect it after a race. All the excitement, getting your medal, meeting up with family – before you know it you’re home, and you haven’t taken care of those hams and glutes that just worked so hard.

Take just a few minutes for post-race stretching. Standing quad, hip flexor, and Achilles are great ones you can do anywhere. And you absolutely must lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air. It’s light on the hamstrings and feels os so good.

Consider Compression
I don’t run in compression socks but I love wearing them the afternoon of a big race. Sometimes, I’ll even sleep in my compression socks.

The concept of compression, like rock tape, dry needling, and a host of other runner rituals, is one of those that doesn’t have a ton of real science or proof behind it. So, for most runners, it’s either something they think is bogus or it’s something they swear by. For me, it’s the difference between waking up with no soreness vs. waking up and walking around like an old lady all day. Seriously, give it a try. Then feel free to bitch at me on Twitter if you think it sucked.

Move It Move It
It’s so easy to fall into slug mode and not move from the couch all day after a race (except to pee, because you’re staying so hydrated). Do yourself a favor and go for a quick walk or two, get up and do a few chores throughout the day, just keep yourself from sitting too long.

It might seem like resting all day with your feet up will help the legs recover but keeping things moving is the best thing for beating day-after soreness. If your next day involves going down stairs, you’ll be especially grateful.
And one more tip, the most important of all – celebrate! You just ran a half marathon. You worked hard for weeks, maybe months, and you did it. #TreatYoSelf, eat a favorite meal, toss back a few drinks. Soak in your awesomeness .

Do you have questions about recovery after a half marathon? Or do you have a special recovery move you swear by post-race? Comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.

This blog also appeared on the Seek Health blog.

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Coming Up, Wrapping Up – 2016

“I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I’m so…scared”

Whether you noticed or not, my interview series of awesome fit people on the blog has come to an end. From an author to a lover of blogs, dogs, and running, to a first-time half marathoner, an Ironman triathlete, and an Olympian, I got to share the stories of some pretty rad people. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!


I’m not this excited or scared – but don’t we all just love Jessie Spano on drugs?

Moving on, I’m very excited – and, if we’re being honest here, also very nervous – for a couple things coming up in life and on the blog.

As of November, I’m trying something kinda crazy…a great experiment if you will. That will be announced in a couple weeks so, as they say, stay tuned.

Something else that I’m pretty pumped about is what’s coming in December. I’ll be trying out a completely new workout – Orangetheory Fitness. A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with the ladies behind OTF in Fargo. With scientifically-designed workouts and a built-in accountability format that deliver results, this very young company is booming and Fargo is the next stop on the roadmap.

In early December, before the club opens to the public, I’ll get a special sneak peek and chance to try the workout – which, full disclosure, I’m a little nervous is going to kick my ass. I run, I lift, I swim, I can pick up heavy things, and take the stairs everywhere I go. In short, I like to think I’m in pretty good shape. But bootcamp-style classes, rowing, target heart rates, high reps…it’s just all new to me.


Orangetheory Fitness. Let’s do this.

I plan to share the experience with my good friend and fellow fit gal, Mallory aka @KJSFitMomma. As with anything she and I do together, it will be a great, possibly hilarious, surely fun time.

It sounds really strange to be thinking ahead to wrapping up another year on the blog but it’s coming! Does anyone else have some cool stuff coming up for the res of the year? New races, new workouts, something totally random? Tell me about it in the comments.

Also, if you have anything you’d like know about Orangetheory Fitness or anything you’d like to see Mallory and me attempt during our workout (within reason ha ha!), comment below or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.

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Minnesota Nice – Running That Is

“Millions of miles, billions of smiles”

I just returned home from my first (and hopefully not last) Medtronic TC 10 Mile run, part of the full weekend of events at the Twin Cities Marathon. As one would expect, it was a beautiful course and wonderfully organized race, perfect for a crisp October morning.

What I didn’t expect was the tremendous outpouring of support – not for the runners (though there was plenty of that), for me specifically.


Shooting for a 1:20 finish, crossed in 1:19:32!

This year was the first the 10-mile race had pacers. Naturally, I was pumped and honored to be chosen as one – and as the one responsible for the 8:00 min/mile group, more nervous than I had ever been to pace. But my fellow runners made it so great.

At the start of the race, I had at least a dozen people line up with me, excitedly share with me their goal for a sub-1:20 run, even a few who mentioned how cool it was the race finally had pacers. A few of those runners stuck with me through at least half of the miles, others dropped back or up, chatting with me a various points during the race.

The best part though was all the gratitude and sheer appreciation. From the start line, throughout the course, even after the race, I’ve never had so many people thank me. I’m always the one telling people how awesome they’re doing. Great pace! Keep it up! Way to crush that hill! Stay in front of me, you’re almost there! Basically being positive and perky to just enough of a point it’s not annoying. This time, tons of my fellow runners did the same for me.

Don’t get me wrong; every race I’ve ever paced, at least a couple of runners have thanked me. But this was more of an outpouring than I had ever experienced before. A true showing of what we around here like to call “Minnesota Nice.”

Congrats to all the runners who ran through Minneapolis and St. Paul this weekend. Also, shoutout to Chicago marathon runners! Hope you all enjoyed your day as much as I did.

Did you run TC Marathon, 10 Mile or other race this weekend? Comment below with how you did or tweet me your race pics @runlikeagirl311.

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Why October Running is the Best

“I’m glad we live in a world where there are Octobers”

Fall is the cool kid on the block. Not since summer has a season been so popular, loved and anticipated than fall.


People love fall. I get it.

People love fall. Sweater weather and football, crisper air and pumpkin everything, Halloween and horror movies. Yes, the secret’s out: People love fall.

Me, I’m a winter gal. It’s my favorite season, it always has been and probably always will be. But fall is a close second. And when it comes to running, it doesn’t get any better than October.

In honor of the first week of October, my five reasons why October is the best month for running.

Super Cool
Not cool as in hip and awesome, cool as in relief from the sweaty, swassy, often unbearable months that are summer. I love winter running because of the straight-up cold factor and how much better I feel running in the cold than heat. But October is even better because 1) no layering, 2) no ice, 3) no worries of un-shoveled sidewalks derailing my route.

Added bonus, I can do a full run with Burton by my side, unlike July when I have to do part of it, come home for him, then finish up the last mile or two because that’s all his furry, overheated lil body can handle.


Burton gets a little scared to run in the dark. 

Not Dark
While the daylight is shorter in October, it’s not yet to the point of still-dark-at-7a.m. and already-dark-at-5p.m. I can get home after work, get myself and Burton ready, and get in an hour-plus run before dark.

Love Leaves
Is there anything better than fall colors on the trees and the crunch of leaves beneath your feet? Whether it’s full-on trails or just through a neighborhood, the sights and scenery that come with October trees make the miles so much more enjoyable.

Good Smells
Where I live, harvest is in full swing. That combined with the crisper air comes wonderful smells. Many crops are completed by the time October rolls around – but sugarbeets? Well, I like the smell of sugarbeets.

I’m Fast
I suck at running in the heat. Needless to say my speed takes a big dive June through August. As summer winds down, I’m able to start running faster again. September is always a little rough while I get back to where I’ve been but I really start to “hit my stride” so to speak by October.

What’s your favorite season – running or just in general? Why – running-related or in general? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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What a Runner Thinks About During a Run

“And now, deep thoughts.”

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to submit some thoughts for the Runner’s World podcast. The topic: Thoughts runners have while running.

I had to bring my phone with me during a run, then every mile or two, stop to record what I had just been thinking about. As I covered five miles, I recorded four thoughts – what I actually think about when I run.


Believe it – I think about more than just JJs

Yum, Food
Hands up if you’re surprised by this. Yes, my first thought was about food. However, it was a bit more than just, “Ice cream…yum. Peanut butter cups…mmmm. Oh look, a Jimmy Johns!” I’m sure I think those thoughts often, though.

My exact thought was more detailed and practical. Here it is, summed up:

“I really want mac and cheese with zucchini noodles for dinner tonight. But, I did have a sandwich for lunch so I should probably have something with a little more protein. Eggs. Oh, eggs and waffles. With a small sweet potato for some good carbs. Yeah.”

I plan my workouts each week. Although there’s usually not much deviation from my regular schedule, I do like to change up some of my “flex” days for different types of runs, leg/rehab work and lifting. Plus, I do have a life outside of working out that I need to fit in as well.

Especially considering this run-thought took place on a Monday evening, I spent some time on my run planning out the rest of my week. Here it is, summed up:

“I want to get in 2 more runs this week before Saturday’s half. So if I do Wednesday and Thursday, I could do a short one Wednesday morning and my rehab exercises after that. Then be able to do a longer run Thursday night, then have Tuesday for a lift and easy cardio day. And still have Wednesday night open for the movies and rest day Friday.”

Going the Distance
How many times have you been out a run, paying attention to your watch and calculating your total distance to make sure you’re going to reach that before you get home?

I do this all the time – and, not surprising, did it on this run. Here it is, summed up:

“Okay, I’m at 3.1 miles now and this last loop should give me two on the nose. If it’s a little short though, I can just run around the block once more…yeah that’ll be good.”


That’s a big yard out there. Hence, thoughts about a fence.


Home Sweet Home
On any given day, I run through a couple neighborhoods and see dozens of houses. I never really thought about it before, but I notice other houses and make mental notes about how I could apply that to my own.

My husband and I have been talking about putting in a fence so, with that fresh in my mind, I’m not surprised this last thought was close to that. Here it is, summed up:

“Oh, I really like that fence. It gives privacy but not full panels to completely block our view. I bet it would be cheaper too. I’ll have to mention that to Chris.”
Nothing I said really shocked me – I know I think about food, work, randomness and even running when I run. But as someone who’s a huge proponent of running without headphones so as to be completely in the zone with thoughts, this was a fun exercise.

Now I challenge you to do the same. Whether you bring your phone to record like I did or just consciously check in on your thoughts every mile or two, try to focus on recalling your thoughts for one run. Then the fun part – tell me what you think about when you run and I’ll include it in a future follow up blog.

When you discover what you think about during a run, post with a comment or tweet me @runlikegirl311. And please share this post on Facebook and Twitter with fellow runners who will have good thoughts too.

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Six Things That Happen When You’re Training

“I like you because you join in on my weirdness.”

Last week, I was chatting with a friend and coworker who was preparing for her first 5k – shoutout to Holly who has now run her first 5k! As we were talking, she recalled something I told her awhile back about running a lot and training for a race – reaching the point where you’re hungry all the time. She laughed and told me I was right, she had reached that point.

First, I thought it was a good reminder that, in the running world, there’s always someone who understands what you’re going through. No matter how gross, borderline embarrassing or weird you think it is, you’re not the only one.

Second, it got me thinking about all those other things that happen to you when you run a lot, especially when you’re in the midst of training for a race, or just work out and lift a ton. From the increased appetite to feeling like an old fogey, these six things, to a normal person, probably seem weird. But to those of us who know, they’re totally normal.


I see you left food on your plate…you gonna finish it?

All the Food and Good Food
On the one hand, you’ll become an eating machine.

A bottomless pit. An appetite rivaled only by NFL linemen and teenage boys entering their first growth spurt. You will subconsciously find yourself eyeing up the food of everyone who has the unfortunate circumstance of eating near you. Whether you say it to yourself or out loud, “You gonna finish that?” will cross your mind.

On the upside, you’ll get more conscious about what you’re eating.

You’ll plan ahead with good snacks and likely make better choices overall, knowing everything that goes into your body is fuel for your next workout.

Exhaustion and Energy
On the one hand, you’ll find yourself getting tired early.

I used to love getting ready at 9:30 to go out for a Saturday night on the town. Now, I secretly look forward to wearing sweats all weekend and crawling into bed at 9:30.

On the upside, you’ll have more energy throughout the day.

You may find yourself becoming more of a morning person, wanting to be productive on weekends, having better focus at work, enjoying a daily walk with your dogs, and especially, looking forward to a workout vs. sluggishly dreading it.


He sounds like an old man getting out of bed but he’s pretty tough.

Sore and Strong
On the one hand, you’ll feel sore a lot.

More often than not, you’ll feel soreness somewhere in your body. When you get really entrenched in a fitness routine, whether hard lifting or training for a long race, you’ll notice simple tasks don’t come easily.

My husband, for example, lifts heavy and hard. There are days he struggles to put on socks and groans getting up off the couch. Then there’s me. When training for a big run or during race season, I have moments where bending down to put on shoes is taxing and the idea of going down stairs is horrifying.

On the upside, you’ll feel stronger.

And you’ll be stronger. From the simplest tasks like carrying a full load of groceries to your car, to helping a friend move and having no problem squatting down to pick up heavy boxes or lifting the couch.

Planning and Prioritizing
On the one hand, you’ll find yourself making decisions and plans based around a workout schedule.

I’ve passed up lunch dates, happy hours and nights out on the town because my training schedule was a priority. But I’ve never felt like I missed out on something, because those moments crossing the finish line make it all worth it.

On the upside, you’ll become a pro at prioritizing time and fitting more into your schedule than you ever thought possible.

Just as I’ve passed on fun things from time to time, I’ve also gotten really good at planning ahead and switching my long run or leg day. Sometimes that means getting up at 4:30 on Friday morning to knock out 10 miles before work. It’s all about making time to fit it all in.


Training Fridays aren’t Training Fridays without Jimmy John’s.

Scheduled and Synched
On the one hand, you’ll become focused on, maybe obsessed with routine.

You’ll have a specific day you’ll do your long run, certain days earmarked for strength training and a planned rest day, all scheduled out to make sure everything’s covered.

On the upside, your body will start to recognize this routine and get really in-synch with your schedule. Find yourself hungrier and craving carbs on Fridays? Your body knows you do a long run every Saturday morning. When things really start firing on all cylinders, you’ll even notice your bowel movements are on point.

BTW, runners talk about and celebrate poop. We know there’s nothing better than a good one before a long run.

Hate and Love
On the one hand, you’ll have days where you hate running and working out, and do not want to do it.

There’s this misconception non-fitness folks have about fitness enthusiasts. They assume we love working out and running, and want to do it all the time. Like we’re lucky to have this magical desire to work out, and it requires no motivation or discipline whatsoever. While I will admit, this is sometimes true to a small degree, it’s not the whole story. You think I wouldn’t love to go home every night, put on sweats and park it in front of the couch for a Netflix binge? But…

On the upside, you’ll fall in love with the grind.

The days you hate running and working out are the exception, not the rule. Most of the time, you’ll enjoy it, look forward to it and know that it’s going to make you feel great.

What other totally normal things happen to you when you get deep into a training program? Things the outside world might think are weird? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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Dick Beardsley Marathon – Race Highlights

“Take the lake”

I don’t write reviews or recaps of every race I run. First, that would get obnoxious for readers. Second, while every race is meaningful to me, I don’t always have noteworthy experiences to share for the good of the group.

But yesterday I ran the Dick Beardsley Marathon for the fourth year in a row, and had some experiences I wanted to share. Some funny, some gross, others sad yet heartwarming.


Contrary to popular belief, holding this sign isn’t exhausting.

The Sign
Yet again another great experience pacing a half marathon. I led the 2:10 group with a steady pace and lots of encouragement, hopefully helping out a runner or two in their quest to finish.

I also had four instances of people commenting on me holding my pace sign. This isn’t super unusual; there’s always at least one person at every race who asks if it’s hard holding the sign for the whole race. But I found it kind of funny that it came up so many times at this race. Maybe I look weak and I should take a hint to work on my form or upper body strength…?
Two Races
For the second year in a row, I chose to run the Beardsley Duo – two races for the day. First, pacing the half marathon, which was fun and great. Second, later that morning, after a partial change of clothes and re-lacing of my sneaks, I lined up at the start line again, this time to run the 5k.

Right off the bat, my legs felt heavy and my glutes really tight from the hilly half marathon course I’d run a few hours earlier. I knew I wouldn’t be getting a PR but I still wanted to run my best. I did and finished in 23:20ish (my official results weren’t available, as there was a problem with my registration and I didn’t get an official bib attached to my name) so if nothing else, good speed work for my next pacing venture – the 1:20 group, 8 min/mile pace, at the upcoming Twin Cities 10-miler on Oct 9.
Running for Jacob, A Race for Andy
While it has made national news, no one is the country is as close to the Jacob Wetterling story as people in Minnesota. For those who don’t know, Jacob was a boy, kidnapped in 1989 near his home in St. Joseph MN. I grew up seeing his face, hearing his story, and never knowing what really happened to Jacob. Recently, his killer was finally found, as were Jacob’s remains.


Sporting #11 for Jacob, lined up to run the 5k for Andy.

Jacob wore #11 in sports and his family encouraged all athletes to wear #11 in honor of Jacob. Naturally, I participated by marking #11 on both of my arms. What was really great was the Dick Beardsley race organization participated, too. All runners received #11 stickers in their packets to wear. And Mile #11 was dedicated to Jacob.

As for the 5k, it was a special one this year. Last October, Dick Beardsley lost his son, Andy, a veteran who served our country. This year’s 5k was officially named the Andy Beardsley Memorial 5k, and we all wore special bibs to honor his memory. Not only did I think of Jacob out there on the course, I thought of Andy too.
There were plenty more great moments from Saturday.
A beautiful course and sunny, yet cool fall weather.
My friend, Dakota, ran one of her best half marathons to date.
The loudest burp I’ve ever heard by a guy at mile 25 who responded to my laughter and thumbs up by saying, “I had to let that happen so I wouldn’t vomit at the finish line.”
Seeing my old/new friend, GP Pearlberg, race announcer and running coach
My parents came out to cheerlead and take photos.
A little girl ran onto the 5k course at mile 2 to hug and high-five her runner mom.
And I soaked up a great day of running around the lake, one of my favorite events of the year.
Did you run the Dick Beardsley Marathon or any other local race this weekend? Tell me your highlights in the comments. Or, tweet me your humble brag or race day photo and I’ll retweet! Find me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter & Instagram.

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