Sunday, January 27, 2013

Don't Give Up, 5 Ways to Avoid Injury & Lots of Links

Apparently I was due for some sleep this morning, seeing as I slept in an hour past my alarm. It felt good to lay in bed bundled up in my blankets, but of course the first thing that popped into my mind was my scheduled five mile run for today. Does anybody else ever dream that they have already completed their run, then wake up super confused? This happens to me often, but I know that I have to get out there and do it anyway. I would get nowhere if I believed that I somehow did my run while I was sleeping! As much as I wanted to lay in bed for the whole entire morning (it was 8:46AM when I woke up), I dragged myself out of bed and made some oatmeal, then headed out for my run just after 10AM.

And wow, that first mile was a killer. Since I have done all my runs on the treadmill this week, I started off slow and sluggish. I looked down at my Garmin and thought, "Wow, I suck. Why am I so slow!? What is happening!? I thought I was doing so well with speed! I was getting faster, and now THIS!? Ugh, better turn around after this stop sign." However, I noticed that I got faster as each mile passed. I still felt full from breakfast, and I had a nagging headache that is still annoying me (I hope this isn't the start of a cold!), but I pushed through anyway. I ran up some steep hills, then down some steep hills, and in the end I completed five miles with an average of 8:39 per mile. Oh, okay. I can live with that!

(Can you tell I worry about things for nothing?)

So, after my run I drank a big glass of water with a Nuun hydration tablet, then foam rolled and stretched for a good 20 minutes. Do you foam roll and stretch regularly? If not, you probably should. Just throwin' that out there.

Total mileage for the month: 106 miles

5 Ways to Avoid Injury:

1. Foam rolling: It hurts so good! It helps keep your muscles flexible and works out any stiffness in the legs. Foam rolling can help prevent common injuries in runners, one of the biggest being IT band issues. The more you foam roll, the easier it is each time, and the happier your legs will feel!

2. Stretch: Like foam rolling, stretching helps keep your muscles flexible and wards off stiffness. One of the best ways to add stretching into your routine is after a run and through yoga. Many yoga poses like downward dog help stretch out major muscles you use during running. Be sure to pay attention to your quads and hips, as well. When you are running, it is easy for your hip flexors to become stiff, so be sure to stretch them out to prevent injury!

3. Ice baths: After a long run, your muscles get tiny tears in them and can become inflamed. The soreness sets in, and the next thing you know, you're walking around like you are 150 years old. Ice baths are a form of Cryotherapy (because you feel like crying the whole time. No, I'm kidding. It means cold therapy), which constricts blood vessels and lowers metabolic activity, therefor reducing swelling and muscle tissue breakdown. Harmful metabolic debris is flushed out during the ice bath, too. The best thing to do during an ice bath is to bundle up with a couple layers on top (I go for a long sleeved shirt and a thick sweater or fabric jacket), plus a hot cup of tea. You may want to wear a pair of shorts and socks, too. Make sure the water is super cold (or add bags of ice to make it even COLDER) and up to your waist. Then hang out for 15-20 minutes. Brrr!

4. Icing: Similar to the ice baths, you can also get a similar effect from icing with ice packs (I am doing that right now)! Bags of frozen fruits and veggies work as well, or hashbrowns and whatever else you can find. I generally ice my hamstrings, quads, and the area around my knees for about 20 minutes, or longer if I am doing something like, say, writing a blog post or creepin' around on Facebook (hey, you do it too).

5. SLEEP! This goes without much explanation. Your body repairs itself while you are sleeping, so be sure to take the time and get a good night's rest, especially after a hard work out. Don't skimp on sleep or else you will suffer and not reap the benefits of your hard work!

Any big plans for this lovely Sunday? I am hanging out at home for now, but my sister's birthday is coming up, and I need to get her a gift! Fortunately, she has made a list of some ideas, so I won't be blindly guessing. She is pretty easy to shop for though since we are fairly similar! But first, I must finish this coffee!

Links of Interest:

Treadmill Tips via Fitsugar

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