Thursday, May 10, 2012

Staying Healthy, body & soul

After fourteen and a half weeks of countless miles, numerous challenging and uncomfortable threshold workouts, heart pumping circuit workouts, sweat filled hot yoga classes, and more physical discomforts then I am willing to acknowledge, I'm now in the final 10 days before my goal race for the year. Months ago when I set the intention in my heart to train my brains out for a strong and speedy sub 1:25 half marathon finish on May 20th, I had no idea how challenging the journey ahead was going to be. 

I proclaimed my intentions, holding myself highly accountable.
Worked harder then I've ever worked for a PR in the past.
Tried workouts that have scared the mess out of me.
And have somehow managed to overcome countless frustrating obstacles.

The hardest thing about training for races is getting to the starting line healthy. Pushing the body to it's limits week in and week out can really wear a runner out if not too careful. Sometimes we don't know our limits until we reach them, and have to make the choice to dial back and potentially lose a bit of momentum or continue pressing onward and upward where the probability of hitting our breaking point most likely becomes our reality at the least unexpected moment.

For me, I made the decision years ago with my running that I would never sacrifice the guarantee of my long term health for the right now. It's more important for me to be running and healthy well into my elder years then it is to hit mileage numbers and force potentially harmful workouts for the short term right now picture. That decision has fared me well in the past several weeks when my training took an unexpected turn down that road we all hope to avoid, Injured Boulevard.

I've been extremely flexible with my training, where I've allowed plenty of detachment from any and all expectation.

I've taken the recovery my body has asked for when it has asked.

I've shaved off countless miles from my weeks in order to still get in quality workouts.

I've stayed positive and been faithful.

I've kept my eyes on the prize and know that there isn't just one way to get where we are headed.

I trust myself and the work that I've put it.

How I'm keeping myself healthy for the next 10 days:

  • Understanding my limits. Upping the intensity of my weeks this training cycle has caused my body to need more recovery time and less mileage, and that's okay. I'd rather run 65 mile weeks with quality workouts than 85 mile weeks that beat the hell out of me.
  • Foam rolling until I'm blue in the face. The Trigger Point roller was the best $40 investment I've ever made. Splurge and treat yourself to this magical invention, you won't regret it.

  •  Getting my stretch on to workout those knots and tightness out of my legs. While sweating your brains out in hot yoga doesn't provide the same endorphin high as running, it is a good time to tune into how the body is feeling and learn to appreciate it. If there is anything that will help train focus in time of discomfort it will be putting yourself in a 100 degree room at 100% humidity while trying to keep your body balanced, your breath controlled, and your mind clear from those thoughts which don't suit you.

  •  Compressing any and everything. Recently Pro Compression sent me a few pairs of their compression socks, and they have been my saving grace. These socks are made of some of the softest material ever, much easier to put on then some other brands, provide the right amount of compression without cutting off circulation, and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. I've worn these for some great workouts as well as just around the house for recovery where I rarely ever want to take them off.

If you are interested in trying out these bad boys, the folks at Pro Compression have been generous enough to offer a discount code for Chicago Runner Girl readers for 20% off all orders and free shipping. 

Use coupon code CRG20 when checking out for your 20% off
  • Being 100% flexible. Letting go of miles and workouts that may have the potential to harm my training in the long run has been my saving grace. Quality over quantity, always. There isn't only one way to get from point A to point B, and sometimes you have to be a bit more savvy and creative.
  • Focusing only on that which I can control while letting go of that which I cannot. I can control my attitude and the way I respond to challenges, and I'm choosing to be faithful and confident. Negative thoughts have no place in the mind of an athlete, and sometimes it's just best to let things go while not acknowledging the insignificant pieces of the puzzle.
How do you keep yourself healthy during training?

While Pro Compression did send me their compression socks free of charge out of the kindness of their heart, all opinions about their product are solely my own and reflect my own personal view point.


  1. Sounds like you are doing all that you can do! I am a big fan of the trigger roller and the stick. I also keep up with my strength/core training to try and stay healthy and fit overall, pay attention to my nutrition and try to rest as much as possible (even 20 minutes with my feet up in the middle of the day seems to help). Good luck!!!

  2. If Pro Compression is easy to put on I should check them out. I have a few pairs that feel just about impossible to get on (or off!).

    For how many minutes do you foam roll? I have been rolling each night. A long time ago, a sports med doc told me to just go back and forth a few times on each major muscle group. I wonder if I should go by minutes instead.

    So excited for your race! I wish I could come cheer you on (we are out of town next weekend... :( ).

  3. Sounds like youve got all the bases covered! All the best with the goal race.

  4. Keep on doing what you are doing because it sounds like it is working! Wishing you a FAST race with the wind at your back the ENTIRE time:)

  5. That is such a great deal! Thanks for posting!! How long is the deal good for?

  6. 10 days until the best race of your life (to date!)...
    You've got this!

    Foam rolling is one thing I should try and do more than I do. And even my hubby's unprofessional massages are probably better than the foam roller :)

    Rest/sleep are key for recover, and hard to come by. In a taper I might sleep in in the morning and just hit a few miles at night so that I get plenty of sleep instead of the night-time movies, etc..

    Britt, I think you are doing all you can do and it all makes sense to me. I can't wait to see how you do!

  7. I love my roller! I also love my Moji palm for traveling!

  8. Quality over quantity- truer words have never been said. You are doing everything right- and I really hope youre back to 100% next week. I think I need to get one of the GRID rollers.. I have a cheap one (looks like a pool fun noodle) and use it all of the time but want a stronger one to really dig into my muscles.

    As for training more than 3 months and getting to the start healthy, well I am at a loss. Havent been able to achieve that yet, but hopefully this will be the year! :) I take loads of Emergen-C to remain healthy- but doesnt help with injuries :(

  9. I wish I had the answer to the above question. You are so right about the hardest part of training being getting to the race healthy. I am about 4 weeks away from my goal half marathon and my shins have been bothering me for the past couple days. I have cut back a lot this week and I'm just hoping they don't get worse :(

  10. "they don't give gold medals away for training" and overly kicking ur own butt in the end only bites u in the butt if u can't see the rewards come race day! :P u've done an awesome job of running and training intuitively and being smart...i'm SOOO excited for ur upcoming race, have confidence and trust in urself because u have worked hard and are ready to rock it! :)

  11. You are such a smart runner! We all can learn from you.

    I do yoga once/week, get massages or acupuncture when needed, and always put on compression socks post long runs. Seems to be working for me so far. I have given up traditional stretching, however, and my body is happier for it.

  12. Yes! Magellan Half for me tomorrow! :)

  13. It sounds like you've been doing everything to the best of your ability. You've done the work. I can't wait to read how you succeed!

  14. //While Pro Compression did send me their compression socks free of charge out of the kindness of their heart//

    Oh please. It has nothing to do with "kindness." It's called MARKETING.