Category Archives: running

Remember this?

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So remember that one time when I registered for a half marathon? Have no fear, folks, it’s still on. There has, however, been a little glitch in the training for said half marathon. This glitch is known as plantar fasciitis.

That’s right, for the past five weeks I have been down for the count when it comes to running….and walking….pretty much any kind of weight bearing activity.

As you can probably imagine, this has greatly impacted my training schedule. Last week was the first week that my foot felt like it could be used again in a normal fashion. I am happy to announce that I am running free of pain once again. 🙂

Battling any kind of injury is hard. Battling an injury while in the midst of training for something can be especially devasting. So what’s a gal (or guy) to do when something like that happens? 

1.) Well first off, try not to fret too much. Eh hem, Lebron, get it together dude. It’s gonna be okay.

2.)  Follow the R.I.C.E. method:

In case you need a picture play-by-play….

        A.) REST

        B.) ICE

 

        C.) COMPRESSION

          D.) ELEVATION

 

3.) I know some people aren’t keen on medicating certain things, but I’m an advocate taking anti-inflamatories to limit the swelling, as long as the directions for taking the medication are followed correctly. So what type of med’s are the best?

No, no, no…I’m not talking about THAT kind of medication….although that would work to superficially lessen the pain. 🙂 The best med’s are Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (Naproxen). 

Following the R.I.C.E. method is the first form of treatment that any physician would recommend. Most of the time this form of treatment works, but there are instances where more medical attention is necessary, e.g, surgery.

The important thing is to give yourself adequate time to heal. The human body is amazing and you’d be surprised what it can do if you just let it do it’s thang.

All in all, it sucks that this injury happened right when I was supposed to begin training for my half. All I can do is suck it up and be extra diligent with my training going forward. Being physically able to perform is essential to most sports, but I feel like the mental component is half the battle when it comes to running especially. That’s what I’m going to be focusing on during the remainder of my training. Hopefully by the end of my training and after the race, this is what I’ll be like…

….except it will have my face….and not a man’s body…?? You get what I’m saying….

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The best day of the year!!!!!!!!

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I woke up this morning feeling like this:

OMG SO EXCITED CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUT AND RUN TONIGHT I LOVE RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you know why? Because it’s National Running Day!!!! Yippee!! A day for celebrating one of my most favorite things in the world! So get outta bed, lace up your shoes and GETCHA RUN ON!! 😀

 

See you tonight with my NYC: Day Two recap and pics! Happy Running!

Let’s HIIT it!

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Hello! Happy Thriday! I’m leaving for NYC bright and early tomorrow morning, so today is my Friday! 😀

I’m so excited to be going to NYC, but thought I’d check-in and do a little blogging before jetting off. I probably won’t be posting while I’m out of town, but rest assured dear friends, I’ll have plenty of pics from my travels. No worries! 😉

Today though, I’d like to talk to you about one of my favorite methods of training: HIIT!

No, not that kind of hit, the other kind. 😀

I’m sure most of you know what this is, or have at least heard of it. If not, here is a little run down of what HIIT training is all about!

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training, is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.

I LOVE me some HIIT workouts! My HIIT workouts run around 20 minutes long. This is a cardio-driven workout routine, but don’t think you’re limited to just the treadmill if you want to do one! I also enjoy doing HIIT routines on the bikes and elliptical’s in the gym.

Below is an example of what a typical HIIT routine will look like with respect to the level of intensity and duration:

Beginner

Hiit Training 3

Hiit Training 1

Intermediate

Hiit Training 2

Advanced

Hiit Training 2

Hiit workout 1

Hiit Training 3

(Source)

These workouts are short, but man-oh-man are they effective! I usually combine my HIIT days with my strength training days.

Another slightly different approach to the traditional HIIT routine is the Tabata method. Commonly called “the single most effective type of high intensity interval training”, Tabata uses 20 seconds of super-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times for a duration of four minutes. Yeah you read that right, FOUR MINUTES AND YOU’RE DONE! 😀 Don’t be fooled by the short duration though, this method will totally kick your butt and leave you in a pool of tears sweat on the floor.

The secret to making this type of training effective though, it to go all out in those intense phases. You’ve GOT to push yourself! No pain, no gain! Remember, exercise isn’t supposed to be comfortable. If it were, everyone would do it, and we know not everyone does.

Tabata is especially useful with weights. Kettlebells, for example, are great tools to use during your tabata routine. Other exercises such as front squats or the push press are good too! Case in point, just be sure to use something that will work your biggest muscle groups, otherwise you won’t see that much benefit.

Finally, make sure that you allow your body adequate rest after you do a HIIT or Tabata routine. If you can do these routines everyday (especially the Tabata), you’re not doing them correctly.

I hope after you’ve read this post, you will share the same sentiments as my little friend here. 😀

Build a Better Base

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Good morning, loves! Last week was pretty exciting for me. I signed up for my first half marathon. I’ve run a few races here and there over the past year, and have plenty more in the works within the next coming months, but this will be my first half. 13.1 miles of sweat, pain, and mental determination.

I approach most races with a fairly nonchalant attitude of  “I’d be happy with just finishing”. This time though, it’s different. I really want to train to the best of my ability so I can go out there, push my body to the limit (without dying, of course – that would be no bueno), and kick ass! In order to do that though, I need to prepare my body for running 13.1 miles.

I know I can do that. Once I set my mind to something, I usually accomplish it. I’m stubborn like that. 😉

In order to make that 13.1 my bitch, I’ve developed a plan. It’s nothing extraordinary or different from what any other runner would do, but it’s a plan and I’m proud of myself for thinking ahead instead of just going out there and “wingin’ it” like I usually do.

Planning = good 😀

Procrastination = bad 😦

With that being said, what is my genius plan-of-attack? Well, it’s really quite simple.

I’m going to follow Hal Higdon‘s intermediate half-marathon training plan. This is a pretty standard twelve week plan that encompasses longer distance runs on the weekends, tempo and pacing runs, a few prep races of varying distances, strength training, and some speed work for good measure.

I chose the intermediate plan as opposed to the Novice 1 or 2 because I already run 15-20 miles per week (That’s a typical week, one in which I’m NOT a lazy bum….cough…*last week*…cough, cough) and already have a semi-solid base.

What I AM going to do a little differently though, is really use these next 8 weeks to build my base. Runner’s World had an excellent article out called “Build Your Best Training Base” which emphasized focusing on building a strong base PRIOR to actually starting your training.

This is what it will look like:

Day 1
Long run 45 to 90 minutes at what coach Jenny Spangler calls “a slight level of discomfort,” or a moderate effort

Day 2
Rest, cross-train, or do a short, easy run

Day 3
Run 20 to 60 minutes at a moderate effort

Day 4
Long fartlek 3 or 4 3-minute surges at a 10-K to 10-mile effort, with 3 minutes easy running between fast segments

Day 5
Rest, cross-train, or short, easy run

Day 6
Hills 45 to 60 seconds at a hard effort; start with 4 repeats, build to 8 to 10; walk or jog downhill between repeats

Day 7
Rest

Day 8
Long run 45 to 90 minutes at an easy, conversational pace

Day 9
Rest, cross-train, or do a short, easy run

Day 10
Run 20 to 60 minutes at a moderate effort

Day 11
Short fartlek 10 to 15 minutes of 30-second to 2-minute bursts at a hard effort; recovery is equal to the duration of each fast segment

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Rest or Run 20 to 60 minutes at a moderate effort

Day 14
Long tempo (or race): 20 to 40 minutes at half-marathon to marathon effort; 5-K or 10-K at a brisk but controlled pace

(Source)

I’m going to follow this two-week block with one week of moderate runs. I will repeat the three-week sequence two or three times for a total of six to nine weeks of base training.

Did you follow that? Sounds intense, doesn’t it? It sounds like music to my ears (and shins)! Building a good base will allow me to step up my workouts when half training officially begins.

It’s kinda weird how excited I am for this. It’s gonna be AWESOME! 😀

So you wanna be a runner…

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Good morning!! Happy Saturday! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far! Today, Ryan and I have a wedding to go to. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty of awesome pics up tomorrow but in the meantime, I’d like to talk to you guys about something near and dear to my heart…running!

So you’ve been noticing a lot of hype surrounding this thing called jogging….or is it yogging? (name that movie!)… We’ll just say running. Winking smile  It’s no secret that I love to run, and I’m willing to share my love of running with anyone who will listen. If you’ve been considering branching out, and taking the oh-so-scary leap off of the elliptical and onto the pavement or treadmill, then there are a few things that every new runner should know about.

1.) Invest in a good pair of shoes – I strongly suggest going to a specialty store, like a Fleet Feet, and getting properly fitted for shoes. Trust me, this makes all the difference in the world. If you don’t have the right shoes, you might as well just lay down and ask for an injury.

2.) Watch your form – stand tall when you run. Hunching over will prevent you from being able to breathe properly and will result in fatigue. Keeping your eyes focused on the horizon will help!

3.) Don’t waste energy – I see sooo many runners criss-crossing their arms in front of them while running, thinking it will help them go faster and run longer. In reality, it doesn’t – this is a waste of precious energy. Pump your arms, but strive to keep your hands “soft” and your arms pumping by your side.

4.) One foot in front of the other – keep a careful eye on how your foot strikes the ground. This one is really important. Aim to strike the ground mid-foot. Don’t strike it with your heel, don’t strike it with your toes – mid-foot! Failing to do this may result in inefficient running and even injury. Often times, failing to strike properly will result in shin splints or even stress fractures. Sounds like a lot to think about, but have no fear! After a little bit of time, you won’t even have to pay attention to it…it will just be natural! Smile

The below table provides a quick-reference guide to the pros and cons of all three foot-strikes.

Foot-Strike Pro Con
Heel Stretches the calf muscles. Less stress on calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Contributes to over-striding, slower running, and poorer form.
Midfoot Better shock absorption due to a bent-leg. Contributes to better form, and faster running. Less stress on calf muscles, Achilles tendon, IT band. More stress on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.
Toe Less stress on knees and ankles. Reduced stride. Contributes to better form, and faster running Keeps calf muscle contracted, contributing to shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, and muscle pulls.

Image courtesy of RunningInjuryFree

5.) Mentality – honestly, one of the hardest things about running is the mental game that goes along with it. It’s just you, the road, and your thoughts out there. It can be easy to talk yourself into feeling fatigued and stopping. Trust me, I’ve struggled with this myself too. It truly does get better the more you run. Anytime I start feeling like I might want to stop, I just tell myself to stop being a sissy pants and MAN UP! Make that run your bitch! Winking smile

6.) Baby steps – everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? Start small and work your way up. When you’re first starting out, shoot to run for longer time at a comfortable pace – not necessarily longer distance. There are a multitude of free apps available that can help you do this. Once you’re able to run for a sustainable length of time, you can start building your distance. Couch to 5K and Couch to 10K are two free, easy to use apps, that work…but you need to stick with it!

7.) Perseverance! – Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your stamina! Finding a good start-up program and sticking to it are essential to being able to run longer distances without feeling like you’re going die on the side of the road. Just keep running! Open-mouthed smile

I hope this post serves as a good tool for those of you who are interested in taking the first step! If any of you have other suggestions that would be helpful to those new to the running scene, feel free to email me, or post a comment!

Happy running!!! Smile

Julie

Soooo tight…

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‘Ello, friends! Today, I’d like to talk to you about a new product that I’ve been trying out for the past couple weeks, and it has everything to do with running. I’m talking about compression, people. No, not support hose…even though in reality, it really is kinda sorta the same thing.

So why use compression?

“Every muscle cell needs energy in the form of oxygen. This is transported to the muscles via the blood. The better the blood flow in the arteries, the better the muscles are supplied – and precisely this supply can be positively influenced by compression.” – CEPCompression

Compression wear has been gaining momentum in the triathlete and running world because of its many perceived benefits. Among them are: energy, stamina, performance, increased blood circulation, stability of muscles and joints, preventative functions, alleviating shin splints, reduction of muscle trauma, etc. The list goes on and on.

My story:

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a girl named Julie….Okay, I can’t tell stories about myself in the third person, so here goes. 😉

As you know, I’ve taken a serious racing hiatus over the past couple years. I’ve run recreationally, but not seriously as I once did. There are a couple of reasons for this: I went from staying home with Riley to working full-time, I was finishing my MBA, and Ryan and I were building our house and all the fun stuff that goes with that.

I really missed running and decided that I needed some run-spiration. So I went and bought some new, brightly colored, running shoes.To my dismay, the simple act of buying new shoes would lead to even more painful problems. I almost immediately began to get shin splints, and they have plagued me ever since. That’s what I get for buying shoes for looks instead of paying attention to the actual shoe.

Upon investigation, I realized that the shoes I had bought were “stability” shoes instead of “neutral” shoes.   I know, I know…I should have paid attention – but I didn’t, and I paid for it. Every time I have run since, even after switching shoes and paying super close attention to my form, I’ve had shooting pains up and down the interior side of my tibia. I had it looked at by a doctor, and they determined it wasn’t a stress fracture (thank goodness!).

I had no choice but to suck it up, let myself heal as best I could, and try to approach running differently.

I switched back to my favorite running shoes, my beloved Mizuno Wave Riders, and started incorporating more rest days into my running routine to allow my legs to heal. I also started using these bad boys religiously. Every time I have run, I have worn these.

Image courtesy of CEPCompression

Disclaimer: I am not a paid representative of CEP, rather, this is just my personal experience while using their compression sleeves.

I really have noticed some amazing results just in the few short weeks that I’ve worn these! My shins no longer hurt when I run (other than the usual tightness that gets worked-out after my warm-up) and my legs feel so.much.stronger.

I like the sleeves in particular because I can’t even imagine putting these suckers on over my whole foot. They are crazy tight…but in a good way! 😀

So if you’ve been struggling with leg pain, shin-splints, lack of stability, etc, etc, GET UP, run/walk/skip/jump/drive to your local running store (or any store that carries LEGIT compression gear) and GETCHA SOME!!! 😉 Your legs will thank you.

…And they lived happily ever after. The End.