It’s Friday party people! This week went so fast because of Labor Day and I’m scrambling to see what is going on this weekend. Friday just snuck up on me (but in a good way)!
I have two questions I want to ask you guys today. The first thing I wanted to get to today is Kinesio [Kinesiology] Tape. You know, that tape you saw all the Olympic athletes wear? It comes in a variety of colors–that supposedly have different functions–and can be used almost anywhere on the body.
This is what I know about the tape based on my “extensive” (read: quick) search of the internet: “Kinesio tape has been around since the 80′s and was developed by a Chiropractor named Dr. Kenso Kase. It is used to help patients with injured muscles and joints. This tape was also developed to enhance peak performance ,so it’s obvious why so many athletes are using it today” (source). According to Runner’s World, the Kinesio tape is designed to lift the skin and allow better blood flow, which is said to increase muscular performance and allow better mobility in injured areas.
All this from a tape? Can it be true? Well researchers in New Zealand reviewed the literature on the efficacy of Kinesio taping (in essence they did a meta-analysis of data that was already out there), which only really amounted to 10 rigorous studies, and concluded that that Kinesio taping may have a small beneficial effect on strength and active range of motion of an injured area. However, it probably doesn’t help in other musculoskeletal outcomes, including pain, ankle proprioception, or muscle activity (Williams et al, 2012). In short, there aren’t many rigorous (RCTs or experimental design) studies out there on this tape and the studies that do exist, which are mostly anecdotal, say its benefits are limited.
Ahhhh, so what does all of that mean? For me, I’m willing to try anything that could help stabilize my bad knee, even if just a little. And Olympians wear it…So of course I ordered a roll of tape off Amazon to give it a whirl.
According to the reviews on Amazon, this RockTape was supposed to be the best. <—this meant the stickiest, btw. And if you’re running for hours at a time you want your tape to stick, you know what I mean? I guess black is also supposed to be the stickiest (red is supposed to “warm” your muscles and blue to “cool” them…not sure how much I buy into this). I looked up some tutorials on line and then tried it out on some of my medium distance (8-10 mile) runs.
My take? Ehh. I really think much of the Kinesio tape’s benefits are psychosomatic. It feels like there is something there that is supposed to help so…I feel better! I think with such a big problem as having osteoarthritis/cartilage tear of the knee it’s just not enough. It’s not nearly as good as wearing the PT strap, which can really compress the knee and immobilize the knee cap. But I’ll keep this stuff around just in case I have some tendonitis or something else it might help with.
Have you tried Kinesio Tape? If so, what do you think? If not, do you think you’d like to try it?
Ok, my second question for you guys concerns the day after your long run routine. For years I followed what Hal said and did some light cross-training after my long runs. But this summer I decided to try something different. I have been taking the day after off completely, which means I have a rest day before the long run and a rest day after. That leaves 4 days of running a week and one day for cross-training. It’s been working really well actually. I find that two days after my long run I feel pretty great and am able to do an easy 4-5 miler with no pain or stiffness (I also attribute that to my beloved tart cherry juice!).
But yesterday I didn’t feel like taking the day off. My arms have been feeling flabtastic because I’ve all but stopped upper body strength training since my migraine episodes. I just didn’t feel like contributing to the stiff and painful upper back/neck I already had. But yesterday I felt the NEED to start doing some upper body strength again. So I went to the bf’s gym with him–which is usually empty by the way–for what used to be my day after a long run routine
20 minutes on the elliptical to get the blood flowing through my legs and then 20 minutes of upper body strength using free weights and the exercise ball. And then you know what I did? Something I haven’t done for months, but something that used to be an almost daily part of my fitness regimen. I went swimming! 🙂
It’s really weird that I only did one triathlon this summer and all but gave up swimming the last 3 months, since I had been swimming almost daily for 3 years. Since all the bf really does is swim (I tell our swimming story here) I was reminded of how fun it is to go work out with him. And to get back into fitness swimming. The first flip turn was tough but after 100 yards I was back into the swing of things. And OH I had forgotten how good the cool water felt on my legs the day after a long run.
**Quick tangent: After I ran the Boston Marathon my legs were SUPER sore for 6 days (probably because, if you know the BM, there is a pretty extreme net decline over the course of the race). I remember getting in the pool that following week and barely being able to kick my legs but the water felt so good**
I was glad that I got in a mini-workout yesterday but I am still up in the air as to whether I’ll continue my day of rest after a long run or start to cross-train again. Taking the whole day off has really helped so I don’t want to mess with what works. I might go back to that routine next week. So here’s what I want to know…
What is your routine the day after a long run? I know that this differs for everyone (some people can get right back out there and run again…umm jealous!) so I’m just curious to know!
Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!!!