Injury Prevention 102

Nope, you read that correctly. I’m calling this “Injury Prevention 102” because there are things I do every run that not only protect my body from sprained ankles or whacked out backs and inflammation, but from chafing, stomach issues and more. Because let’s face it, any sort of pain, whether internal or external, can be considered injury – especially if there’s ways to stop it. From the obvious to the not-so, here’s a few tips to prevent injury while running:

  1. Vaseline is your bestie. Your BFF. Your Soul Sistah. Before a run, rub it anywhere and everywhere that bounces, jiggles or rubs – no shame. Chafing is a bitch and unlike post-run exhaustion, it can hang around for days.
  2. Drink lots of electrolytes, before and after longer runs. Your stomach bounces around quite a bit when that mileage starts to rack up which will have a bad effect on you as soon as mile three. Try Nuun hydration tabs – one the night before, one before your run starts and if you’re feeling any sort of stomach pain, one after. Aside from that, extra electrolytes will keep you from dehydrating during your run.
  3. Eat more food. Pre-run, get your good carbs and fats, post-run, get your protein. When your body loses energy – which food provides naturally for us – you’ll become sluggish, lose form, lose focus, maybe even get light-headed.
  4. Post-run may be the most important part of your run. Take the time to stretch – and stretch everything. My favorites include pigeon pose and forward lunging into my hips. (There’s probably a simpler term for that but I like to be descriptive… yeah, that’s it.) If anything feels particularly sore, ice it. Take an Epsom Bath. Foam roll. Then stretch some more. Spoil that body – it carried you far.
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Race Day Do’s and Don’ts

I’m not an elitist or snobby runner by any means but I do get anxiety over race day faux pas. Few things can be more frustrating than when someone breaks common courtesy or protocol during a race – it just kills your vibe, man. Granted, if you’re signing on to a race of five to ten thousand people, you just have to know these things are going to happen, but while running at the Star Wars Half Marathon last weekend, I couldn’t help but feel I must do my due diligence and teach at least one person how to save the world. Or just get someone to lessen my anxiety. I’m pretty sure I got through an entire mile just by listing out my pet peeves of life. Don’t judge me… running is emotional. And also… don’t be a Racehole.

5 Courtesies to Keep in Mind When Running a Race:

  • Walking is okay! But please stay to the right so those still running don’t have to weave in and out of walkers. Keep this in mind at water stations as well – not everyone will stop.
  • Hang on to your trash! Whether it’s your GU Energy Shots or aid station water cups, don’t be a Littering Larry. Hold on tight till you pass a trash can or stash it in your fanny pack until you cross the finish line.
  • No sudden stops! Just like walking – having to stop is quite alright. Put your hand up to let the people behind you know you are getting ready to halt.  Running is not a contact sport and we are not trained to tackle. It could get ugly!
  • Avoid aid station greed! Chances are the aid stations have tons of people ready and willing to hand out water or electrolytes. Look behind you before heading to one side and don’t grab the first cup you see. Move forward to someone looking for a friend (this will also get you through faster and back on your way.) Be sure to thank the volunteers that want you to get to the finish line hydrated and full-spirited. And don’t be a Littering Larry!!!
  • Watch your surroundings! Perhaps most importantly – be aware of the other runners on the course. If you nudge someone, turn and apologize. If you feel someone wanting to pass, let them. If someone trips, pick them up. If someone needs encouragement, cheer them on. Remember – we all want to get that medal at the end so whether we know each other or not, we’re in it together.

Why Shakira and I are Soul Sisters

After a few months of painful strides, it took a trip to my primary care doctor and a physical therapist to discover that like Shakira, my Hips Don’t Lie. Hilarity aside, they then proceeded to tell me the worst thing you could ever tell a person like me: “You have to take a break from running.”

Oh baby when you talk like that, you make a runner go mad.

Greetings, this blog comes to you from my bathtub where I’m currently indulging in a hot bath with Dr. Teal’s Pre and Post Workout Epsom Salt. Sorry, no basic white girl pictures of my legs will be included in this post.

The pain was a mixture of Bursitis (inflammation in my hips) and having run my body out of sync. While pounding your feet on the pavement is very rough on the body, my injuries could have been avoided had I been paying better attention to my recovery. IE, I wasn’t stretching enough and quite possibly, wasn’t hydrating right, nourishing properly or rewarding my body with the right things. After a few months of physical therapy, trips to the chiropractor and solely upper body workouts, I was ready to get back on the streets and rack up my mileage, but not without a few extra precautionary recovery practices. My favorite? A twenty minute Epsom Salt bath three to four times a week.

As noted above, Dr. Teal’s is my favorite brand as it’s easy to find and often comes with some extras, like great smells or added ingredients for more relaxation. The Pre and Post Workout mix is my favorite, followed by Lavender and Mint. Epsom Salt is high in magnesium which wards off heart disease, stroke, stress-related illness and more (editor’s note: unless ‘love’ is a specialty, I am not a doctor). For athletes, epsom salt baths are great for reducing inflammation, increasing joint mobility, easing muscle pain,  and mood elevating. Better mood = better workout. Plus, it will remove toxins from your muscles which could cause a delay in recovery.

Personally, I think Epsom baths are overlooked all too often, so when someone tells me they are struggling from sore muscles, I give them this simple remedy.

Extra pro-tip: Evoke Fitness once shared with us that drinking a 4oz glass of red wine was equivalent to a one hour workout. So, pour yourself a glass, workout and wind down all at the same time! If it weren’t for the fact that it’s Race Week, I would definitely be sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon right now.

So next time you’re doing the waddle from a brutal training session, dive in! Well… not head first and you can go suit-less, but… you get the point.

Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell…

Over the weekend, I took a break from training and instead participated in a 5K fun run ahead of a night of holiday debauchery – the Santa Dash. Unintentionally, I ran my fastest 5K in three years: 29:48. As I rounded the corner of the last half mile, my pace was such that I wanted to ‘kill’ everyone in my path and see how strong I could finish. (PS; ‘kill’ in the running world simply means you passed another runner and I slayed.)

I felt awesome. I ended up finishing #36 overall and walked back to my car reflecting on my running journey and how I never thought ‘just a 5k’ would be like ‘just brushing my teeth.’ Seamless, easy, routine, but not twice daily.

I should note for those that don’t know, I used to be really, really overweight. Running was one of the many life changes I’ve made that helped me shed 75 pounds (depending on the day). I played soccer for eight years as a kid, but perfected my position at Goalie so I wouldn’t have to run. When I got to high school, I quit during the first day of tryouts because they wanted me to run a mile as my warm up. 

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Couch to 5k. Every other day, I’d spend my lunch break at the gym (and the rest of the afternoon smelly… note to self, future blog post: tricks to working out on a lunch break and not return looking like a hot mess.) The app does just as it pretty much says – helps you go from not running at all, to completing 3.1 miles (or 30 minutes) without stopping. The first few weeks went by pretty quickly and soon enough I was consecutively running 10 minutes, 20 minutes, one mile, two miles, three miles… I was unstoppable. And, I was hooked – as noted by all the different 5K Fun Runs I was signing up for.

How it works:

  • 3 times a week
  • 30 minutes to include: warm-up, walk/run combo, cool down
  • Each week, total running-to-walking ratio increases until you can run 30 minutes straight
  • The app will queue you when to run and when to walk
  • Voila! You can even create your own playlist to go along.

So, to all those who cringe at a mile, or to just running from your car to the front door during a rainstorm, my advice to you – there’s an app for that.

8 Ways to Get Through an 8 Mile Run

Training runs greater than a 10K are what start to get my nerves going. Can I do it? Ugh, it’s so far. Procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. Nonetheless, it needs to be done to get closer to that end goal. Today’s mileage: 8 miles. Course: Double Diamond to Double R, to South Meadows, to Veterans, to Steamboat Pkwy and finally back to Double Diamond. A perfect 8 miles.  Here’s how I often survive the trek:

  1. Listen to a Podcast. Today was actually the first time I chose chatter over tunes. Thanks to The Nerdist, Chris Hardwick, Daniel Radcliffe, Allison Tolman and Kelly Carlin, I found myself laughing through 90 minutes of frigid cold pavement pounding.
  2. Brush up on your boy band dance moves. My playlists are known to have a few Nsync and BSB tunes so if you ever see me out on a run, don’t take it personal if I’m motioning and mouthing “Bye, Bye, Bye.”
  3. Plan an errand mid-course. Something quick like making a deposit at the bank. Jog up to the ATM, do what you need, and keep on going. Long runs take time – gearing up, stretching, recovery and of course the actual run — so take advantage of where your feet are taking you and double dip.
  4. Stare at something pretty and zone out.
  5. Count how many times you almost get hit by a car because the driver is texting. Spend a quarter of a mile cursing them.
  6. Use a gel for an energy boost half way through. In the past, I’ve used Cliff Blocks, but might have gotten too used to them as they no longer have an effect on me. Right now, I’m testing out a GU variety pack I ordered off of Amazon and find that I prefer the fruity ones over desserty ones.
  7. Channel your inner B. Rabbit and have a rap battle with yourself. If your trail is secluded enough, don’t hesitate to belt that ish out. (Side tip: if you can’t rap/talk aloud without huffing and puffing, you’re running too fast.)
  8. Run with a friend. It never hurts to have someone along the way to motivate you. Even if you both have your headphones in, their presence alone keeps you on pace, focused and finished in no time.