Archive for the ‘ Training ’ Category

The Power of Positive Thinking

Positive-ThinkingToday will be my first day “back in the saddle.” Or, rather, back on the Pre-Cor. Although I’m itching to run, I’m restraining myself for the sake of healing. Tonight I’m going to lace up my sneaks, drive to the gym through the buckets of rain that have descended on Central Jersey, and do cardio for the first time in over a month. Yikes! I’ll start with some strength training to warm my muscles up, followed by some light stretching, then on to the Pre-Cor.

I’ve been good about applying heat to my injury a couple times a day for 15-20 minutes each time. My plan is to do cardio for only 10-15 minutes at a snail’s pace. I’ll stretch again after my cardio, paying special attention to my hip/groin, then ice when I get home. The hardest part will be not pushing myself. It’s really hard for me not to feel like a failure if I’m not sweaty and (happily) spent after any cardio. I need to keep in mind that my goal is to run consistently again and whenever I want to. This won’t happen if I push myself too early and set myself back thus prolonging my recovery time even more than I have already.

I did notice that before I was ordered to rest for a few weeks by my doctor, any strength training I did, especially for my legs, seemed to help ease the strain on my injury. I’ll focus again on building up a strong core, glutes, and legs in hopes that my propensity for injury will lessen.

This all said, I believe that a key factor in my recovery is my mental state. For months now I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to recovery and get back to running. Frustrated at the lack of results, I’ve noticed that I get down on myself for not being successful. Rather than focus on what I can do, I’ve focused on what I can’t. Instead of celebrating small victories, I get disappointed at what I see as failures. I know that positive thinking is a HUGE part of healing and succeeding. I need to work on looking at what is good and using more positive, affirming thoughts. If I don’t believe I can get better, then I won’t. Runner’s World recently had a great article on how to change the way you think in order to become a stronger runner. As any runner knows, it’s one thing to be in shape physically and a whole other thing to be in shape mentally.

My goal is to not only run again, but facilitate my recovery through positive thinking. Happy running! 🙂

Getting Results

splitinroadMonday I had my follow up with my ortho doc to discuss the results of my MRI. The MRI itself was uneventful. Not as scary as I thought it was going to be which was a relief. It took about 25 minutes. My head wasn’t completely inside the tube since the scan was of my pelvic area, so I didn’t feel claustrophobic at all.

The doctor spent a half hour basically telling me that the MRI results were inconclusive. The good news is there were no apparent tears or other damage. The bad news is the doctor wasn’t really able to point me in the right direction. His advice? Rest. Apply heat. See him in 6 weeks.

Awesome.

After my visit with him, I headed straight over to my chiropractor to get a much needed adjustment. I love my chiropractor as well as getting regular adjustments. For those of you who don’t see one, I highly recommend it. You don’t realize how out of whack your body gets until someone puts you back in place. I always feel amazing whenever I leave.

When I saw her I mentioned my persistent discomfort and what the ortho doc had told me. After manipulating my leg through a few different stretches, she said she didn’t think rest would help because I’ve been resting and haven’t seen a marked improvement. She recommended that I see a physical therapist who also is an ortho guy who specializes in sports medicine. Her daughter saw this guy and it really helped. Her conclusion? Scar tissue build up. See a PT. Work it out don’t rest it.

Today I saw the PT. He was a really nice guy who talked to me for a while about the pain, then put me through a series of intensive stretches. Like many runners, I’m very inflexible, so it hurt! His theory is that my pelvis is out of line which in turn pulls my muscles out of line, puts strains on my ligaments and causes pain as I do cardio or other specific strengthening exercises. He worked for a while on pulling, pushing and moving my leg to try and get any parts that may have shifted back into place. He left me with this advice: Do hip flexor exercises, start back with light cardio and strength training, and come back to see him in a week.

Three “experts,” three different ideas of where I should go from here. So where do I go? What can I do to be smart and get back to running again? Here’s what I’m going to do: Light cardio, strength training, stretching, ice and heat. My main problem is that I get so excited to workout that I do too much too fast and end up worse than when I began. So this time I’m going to work at being smart, starting slow and stopping before the pain starts rather than when it starts.

Wish me luck! 😀

Going Long

hillrunningMy goal is to run a half-marathon this fall. After my injury heals, and I’m sure it will, I plan on tackling a training plan that will get me back on the road and on my way to running a successful half. Tomorrow is my visit with the sports medicine doc where I’m hopeful that I can get the tools needed to run again. It’s not going to be an easy road, but I’m a runner. I’m strong. I’m motivated. I’ll tackle each hill one at a time until I’ve conquered them all.

Next up: finding the perfect plan to promote healthy running! 🙂

Just Keep Swimming

train-for-swim  I recently talked with someone at my local running store about my hip flexor injury, lamenting the fact that I haven’t been able to run without exacerbating it. She gave me the contact info of a local sports physical therapist that she said was excellent and went on to say that she tore her hip flexor so she knows what I’m going through. It was great to talk with someone who actually went through what I’m going through now. She recommended swimming, saying that it not only kept her from going crazy while she couldn’t run, but that it kept her in good cardio shape and brought her back to running in three months.

While three months seems like a long time, my goal is to be a life-long runner so I want to recovery the right way and if that means taking more time to strengthen my muscles and prevent future injuries then so be it. The woman went on to say that her therapist recommended one-leg bridges (a favorite pilates move of mine actually). She said to do three sets with ten leg-lifts on each side every day. A pain in the butt (ha!), but strengthening the glutes, strengthens the hips, both of which are common weak areas for women so it’s good to focus on those muscles anyway.

I’ve been in the gym a lot, doing pilates and lifting weights, working on my core and legs especially. My body has definitely grown tighter and stronger, although I haven’t seen much, if any, improvement in my hip flexor. So my new goal is to contact a sports therapist and jump in the pool as much as I can. I’m not going to give up. I will run again. Like Dory says – Just keep swimming! 🙂

Happy running!

Pilates Power

PilatesEvery time I read up on great exercises I can do to improve my running and come back from my injury I come across moves that I typically do in my pilates class. The only problem is I hadn’t gone to pilates in weeks. Knowing that every week that passed that I skipped my pilates class was a missed opportunity to improve on these areas, yesterday I decided I had to go to class that evening. I threw on my workout clothes, laced up my sneakers, grabbed my mat, and headed out.

I’d forgotten how refreshing going to class was. I felt rejuvenated head-to-toe. And sore! But a good sore, letting me know the exercises were working all the right muscles. It also reminded me how much I appreciate all the camaraderie and support I find there. My instructor is wonderful. Super sweet and encouraging with such a positive energy it’s impossible not to smile even when she’s pushing us through difficult movements. My fellow pilates goers were also quick to give me words of encouragement. I’m already excited to go back. I’ll be back to running before I know it! 🙂

 

On the Mend?

runstrongToday my hip flexor felt a lot better. I’m hoping that it’s not temporary, but that it’s truly on the mend. Every day I think of ways to expedite the healing process and get back on the road running. Yesterday I focused on my legs and, because it wasn’t causing me any pain, worked them to fatigue – i.e. I did exercises until my legs felt like jelly.

I researched leg exercises that might help me strength the weak areas of my legs – namely, my glutes and hip abductors and aductors. These included side squats, split squats, and hip ab/ad machine. The side squats were especially challenging, but I stuck them out because they focus on all the areas of my legs that are the weakest.

I don’t know if it’s strange or not but I feel like I’ve gotten a good leg workout if it hurts to sit down or walk down stairs the next couple of days. 🙂

I’ve also been laying off any cardio – SO, SO, SO hard to do! – until my legs get to a point where I can run without pain. I really think it’s been helping, so as hard as it is, I just keep reminding myself that it’s all for the long term benefits.

Happy running! 🙂

 

Beating the Running Blues

sadrunnerEvery so often an injury will derail me from my running goals. Because running has become so much of my identity I rely heavily on being able to run to find peace of mind emotionally, physically and mentally. When I can’t run it really affects me on my many levels. Lately I’ve been faced with this challenge and have been forced, or, thinking positively, given the opportunity, to find ways to cope with not being able to run.

So instead of getting depressed and mopey, here, after much self-reflection, are:

Runner Sami’s Tips for Beating the Running Blues

1. Use the time off to become a stronger runner – Find cross-training activities that won’t exacerbate your injury. Biking, swimming, pilates, yoga, and strength training are all great ways to build up muscles that will help keep you injury-free in the future.

2. Invest in other areas of your life – Because running is my positive outlet, it’s important to reroute those energies into other outlets while running is on the back burner. Find ways to invest your time that make you happy. Writing, catching up with friends, spending time with my family, or planning a trip are some things I have found help rejuvenate me when I’m not able to run.

3. Read about running – For some people this might be too painful, but I’ve found that reading about running helps me feel like I’m still involved in becoming a better runner. Books or articles about running help me focus on positive ways to help my recovery. There are always ways I can better myself as a runner and it’s fun to read about interesting races I can sign up for once I’m at full running capacity again!

4. Be an active participant in your recovery – You’re not alone. There are a lot of resources online through blogs, social media sites like dailymile.com, or websites like runnersworld.com for runners looking for support or providing helpful tips and strategies for those coming back from injuries. Finding answers and lending support to others are great ways to aid in recovery.

5. Eat healthy, be happy – When I can’t run my mind automatically starts to dwell on all those extra pounds that are going to fly onto my body. Even if this is not realistic, eating healthy helps me keep a happy frame of mind until I can go back to burning the calories I’m used to burning. And eating healthy is always a great habit for helping me become a stronger runner.

Happy running! 😀