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.