Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Snakebite 50k Training Week #2

Monday: I was tagged on instagram by Beth over at Running with the Sunrise to post a yoga pose. Her pose was awesome. She did a video of an inverted headstand thing that looked so graceful and serene. I decided to go with a handstand because the Jayhawk was home to finally take a picture. When I was coming down from it, my calf cramped and I fell over (no seriously, I did) and in all my gracefulness, managed to scrape/bruise the crap out of my arm while falling over. Yes, I was injured while yoga-ing. To add insult to my feeble injury, my handstand is too tall to crop to instagram, so I ended up posting with the back bend I've been working on. Who says yoga is low impact and stress free? Next time I am going with Child's pose.
Planned: Rest  Actual: 25 minutes of living room yoga
 When yoga attacks.
Tuesday: As evident from the story above, I've been having calf trouble again lately. I tend to get a lot of tightness and knots in my calves, but recently I've been getting spontaneous cramping as well when at rest. I've been working on stretching and rolling them daily to reduce the tightness and increase the flexibility. As luck would have it, I also came across a yoga challenge specifically focused on calves for runners! I am a little nervous to start posting in it because others have artistic and lovely photos, while I am struggling just to achieve the poses (you can really see how tight my calves are in some of the photos) but I figured it was a good challenge for myself and a great way to learn new poses specifically for my calves.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (9:10/mile); Foam rolling; light yoga

Wednesday: Ug. That is the best description I have for this run. Ug. I left my office a little later than usual and didn't have my pre-run snack. On top of that, I didn't bring any fuel with me (I did bring water/electrolytes). Yes, I know better. My energy felt low throughout the run and the humidity was really bothering my breathing. I never felt strong during this run and by then end I felt dehydrated  and overheated. I may have to start carrying my hydration pack on hot afternoons instead of just my handheld. Overall it didn't bother me mentally too much. I was kind of overdue for a hard run and it definitely reminds me I need to take hydration and fueling seriously on every run, not just long runs.
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 8 miles (9:34/mile)
With all the rain we've had this spring, Atlanta is very green!
Thursday: A world of difference. Though the pace isn't anything impressive, this run felt 10x better than Wednesday's. I made sure to heavily pre-hydrate an hour or so before heading to the gym and I really noticed the difference.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (9:07/mile)

Friday: Is there a better feeling that a sunny Friday night to kick off a 3 day weekend?
Planned: Rest  Actual: Light yoga

Saturday: Joined the Jayhawk on his long run. I didn't get to finish out my miles because we were in a rush to get an open house for a place we really want to rent. Turns out house renting is a highly competitive sport and there were already 5 other families there when we got there!
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 8.1 miles (10:58/mile)

Sunday: Got in a quick 3 to make up for yesterday's mileage before meeting a group for a 5 mile run. Though we met at our usually coffee spot, we dusted off an old, rather hilly route through the Little 5 neighborhood. This may have been my fault because earlier in the week I asked the route designer if we would be having hills for breakfast. After taking 2 weeks with easy pace, the challenge of some hills was a nice change.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 3 miles (9:06/mile); 5.4 miles (10:22/mile)
Planned: 34 miles
Actual: 34.5 miles
How was your week? Any exciting plans for the 3 day weekend?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Roll out: Basic Foam Roller Exercises for Recovery

Alright folks, let's talk recovery, specifically, foam rolling's role.  We all know we should do it.  We all talk about doing it, but no one ever seems to mention exactly what are they are doing when they "roll out" other than flailing around on the living room floor while the family tries to watch T.V. Just me?
Apparently beer isn't required for proper rolling, but I find it enhances the experience.
With my recent increase in mileage, I've been working hard to rekindle my relationship with my foam roller. My current training plan asks a lot of my body and I need to take recovery seriously. So when I got an email last week from Angela asking for a little foam roller guidance as her husband got her one for Christmas, I figured I'd explain what it is I do with mine during recovery and see what are your favorite exercises as well. I'm always up for learning new tricks.
Our roller stays in the living room right next to the dog toys so it can taunt me when I don't use it enough.
First off Angela, props to your husband for giving you an excellent gift. For our first Christmas, the Jayhawk gave me a coffee maker. While both are incredibly functional and useful gifts, the foam roller can actually make you a better, less injury prone runner, while the coffee maker just feeds my daily caffeine need.
In the Jayhawk's defense, I use the coffee maker everyday.
We all know stretching is important, but there are certain spots and knots that stretching just won't fix. Here is where massage and foam rolling come into play. Since my budget doesn't allow for weekly trips to the masseuse, I use my foam roller to stretch out muscles and soft tissues, break up scar tissue, and relieve knots/trigger points. I aim to have 2-3 good sessions a week (20-30 min each) and additionally roll out troublesome spots as needed. I usually roll after my run when my muscles are warm or after walking the dog on recovery days.
Come here often? Not as often as I should.
Let's start with the basics. The best was to roll is to slowly roll the muscle of interest across the foam roller while using your body weight to apply pressure. When you hit a knot or tender point, hold it. No, it doesn't feel awesome, but the combination of body weight and gentle pressure helps to release muscle tension and stretch out tight spots. The foam roller can be used to roll out any muscle, but it's all about getting in the right position to access that muscle. I mainly roll my legs, butt, and back so here are a few of my favorites that I frequently focus on.
Butt off the ground, majority of body weight on the leg on the roller.
I usually start by getting in the crab-walk position (you remember from grade school). This is a great position to get all the muscles on your backside (calves, hamstrings, butt, etc). You can roll both legs at once, but I find I can isolate spots better by doing each leg individually. I slowly roll through each muscle while keeping the majority of my body weight on the muscle of interest. It really helps get a deeper massage. Rotating my legs gets different muscles in the calf (or thigh) and access to different spots. To access the quads, I just flip over to the push-up position and do the same thing.
Each one of these positions will get different muscles or different angles to help get everything rolled out.
Rolling out the IT band is another great use of the foam roller. It takes a little practice to get in the right position, but I find crossing over the non-rolling leg really helps to stabilize your body. I start just above the knee and go through just below the hip.
This can also roll out hips.
Angela, I hope that helps get you started! For this post I focused on recovery in particular, but the foam roller can also be used for strength training as well. If people are interested, I can put together a post on exercises for strength. Just let me know if that would be helpful!

Ok, your turn. Do you foam roll? What are your favorite recovery exercises with the foam roller?

Resources for further reading:
How to use a foam roller-Good basics with photos
Runner's Worlds Rolling Tips-Info on specific muscles and types of rollers

Monday, May 18, 2015

Snakebite 50k Training Week #1

Monday: It's always weird to start a training plan with a rest day, but it's a good confidence booster knowing that you are nailing 100% of your mileage after the first day.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Stuck to the treadmill for my first actual day of training. My goal it to keep most of my runs easy for the first few weeks of my training plan to allow my body time to adjust to the increased mileage and introduce speed and hill workouts after that. I probably should try to keep it a hair easier, but I get bored on the treadmill after a while.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (9:07/mile)

Wednesday: First 'hotter' run of the year (85ish). Though I've been working on staying hydrated, it will take a few hotter runs for my body to start increasing my plasma volume (there is some good nerdiness for you). I headed down to Lullwater Park near work for a few laps around the reservoir. It's a mostly flat loop, with a 1k hill in/out of the park (down on the way in, up on the way out). When I got home, I focused on rolling and stretching my hips and behind. Just trying to stay on top of any tightness and work on flexibility.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 6.1 miles (9:30/mile); 25 minutes light yoga; foam rolling
I ran so fast, I was blurry. Ok, not really.
Thursday: I went back inside on the treadmill not because of the heat, but because of my schedule. It was easier and a bit faster to just knock out the miles inside. Overall, it was a good run, but I need to refresh my play lists. It's getting a little to predictable when you know your mileage based on the song playing.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (9:07/mile)

Friday: I was so happy when Friday arrived. Why do weeks feel longer after some time off? I celebrated Friday by trying out Fascist Pig Ale from Finch's Beer CO. in Chicago. There is a lot going on in this beer and it's very flavorful for an ale. It has a strong malt flavor and is more complex like a IPA, not light like a pale ale. Definitely a sipping beer and I only had one.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest
Beer of the week: Fascist Pig Ale
Saturday: I woke up at 3am sick as a dog (migraine with nausea). No, it wasn't from the 1 beer I drank on Friday. I had hoped it would pass and I could shift my run to the afternoon, but eventually I had to admit I didn't feel well and take the day off. Boo. There goes the perfect week.
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 30 minutes yoga

Sunday: Feeling somewhat back to normal, I met up with a group for a 6 mile run. The pace was easy and it was the perfect way to get the legs moving again.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 6 miles (10:25/mile)

Not the perfect start to training, but overall my legs felt good and keeping the pace light helped ease into the increased mileage. I did a solid job on incorporating more stretching and yoga, but haven't added in strength work yet. Baby steps!

How was your week? What is your favorite rest day activity?
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