Posts Tagged ‘ Training ’

Running Behind

summer-runningI have been a total flake with my blog lately! My running has taken off and I’ve been loving every minute. I finished my first race back from my injury with a 10.35 minute pace. Not bad! Now I just need to work on improving my time and form. My next race is a 10k on September 29 that supports a local cancer center. After that I’ll have a 5k a month until February when I run my favorite Superbowl Sunday 4-miler. Fun!

It’s beyond amazing to be able to run again. And it inspires me too. Every hill and difficult mile I run, I remind myself how lucky I am to be running again and it pushes me to finish strong.

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Just Keep Swimming

train-for-swimย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

Intermediate Running

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A fellow blogger recently wrote about being classified as a beginning runner despite having run for close to a year. Said blogger also lamented about how there isn’t much information or support out there for people in between newbie running and those running longer (half marathons and beyond) distances.

So,ย Geek Fitness, this is for you.

What do you do if ย you’ve been running for a while and can run for prolonged periods, but aren’t quite at the point where you can, or want to, run longer distances? You’re happily running between these two categories and want support but can’t find it.

While there are plenty of resources involving intermediate training programs for longer races like half or full marathons, finding information for those running on an intermediate level can indeed be tricky. When I searched online and in various running books for any resources under the label of “intermediate running” I couldn’t find anything! Then I started thinking, what makes a runner fall into the intermediate category? Is it running more than twice a week? Or is it running at a certain pace? Is it when you’re ready to introduce hill or interval training into your routines? Or is it when you are ready to train for a 10k or another longer race? Because every person, and thus every runner, is different, then those questions are unique to each individual runner. And when you can answer that question, you’ll ย start to find there are many resources out there that will provide support for intermediate runners.

As I can’t answer that question for anyone else except myself, I’ll do just that. I actually consider myself, happily, to be an intermediate runner still despite having run for about ten years and having half marathons, 10ks, and many 5ks under my belt. The reason I place myself in that category is because I don’t run intervals, do speedwork, extensive hill training, or time my splits, nor do I want to. I don’t know my 5k PR and don’t feel bad about having no desire to ever run a marathon. I love running and I love reading about running and learning how to become a stronger runner, so I find topics that will help me do just that. So I started searching for articles and online resources for things that would help me improve as an intermediate runner like strength training exercises for runners, how to train safely without injury (still have a while before I master that one!), and the best way I can build my mileage each week. I can find like minds on websites like dailymile.com and by following my favorite running blogs like another mother runner.

I realized, thanks Geek Fitness, that there’s a lot of topics out there for intermediate runners, like myself, it just depends on what you’re interested in and where you want to go as a runner.

Happy running! ๐Ÿ˜€

Overcoming Injury

woman-leg-injury-mdnThere’s nothing more frustrating to me than a persistent injury. I know some people who can run miles and miles without a single injury. Sadly, I’m not one of those people. My injuries have ranged from mild to painful, a strained ankle tendon to a persistent IT injury. Recovery has taken anywhere from a few days (ankle) to months (IT band). My problem is not knowing what kind of treatment to do when. Do I use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate)? Or physical therapy? How long should I stop running? Do I have to stop running or can I run through the injury? Will that keep me from a full recovery?

I normally approach each injury head on, trying to do as much as can, pushing my limits, to try and figure out how serious my injury is. Obviously I wouldn’t do this for some super severe like a bad sprain or broken bone (neither of which I’ve had and hope never to deal with), but for the various strains and aggravations I’ve had that method is the best way I’ve found to deal with my injuries thus far.

And I’ve found that different injuries respond in different ways and recommendations I get from running experts or online running resources aren’t always the best fit for my body. For example, my IT band was injured because I did too much too fast and to get to a full recovery I had to stop running completely. Instead I focused on cross-training and found a roller. I began rolling out my IT band every day, along with my other muscles, and that was what got me to a full recovery.

Most recently I pulled my hip flexor. It’s been incredibly frustrating because I can’t run without pain and even walking has been hurting. I’ve tried different things and have found that the best exercises that work so far are strength training for the glutes and low abs (for some reason my hip flexor always feels better after I do those strengthening exercises) and using the Precor machine because it doesn’t have the same impact as running does. I would like to add water running to my recovery list as I feel like the Precor mimics that movement.

I’ll continue to work towards healing so I can run at full capacity again and try not to get frustrated at the time it takes. My ultimate goal is to run for my lifetime and if I have to stop running while I fully heal then that’s what I have to do!

Happy running! ๐Ÿ™‚