Wednesday, April 10, 2013


It's funny that exactly 2 months ago today decided that I needed a break from running/training and now here I am super pumped to log miles and get stronger again.  I was planning a much longer break originally, but I'm feeling good and am looking forward to my training runs.

Yesterday afternoon I did 3 miles on my own, and then met up with some friends to do 3 more.  We went off our usual path to tackled a CRAZY hill. I "ran" the whole hill, but walking probably would have been faster.

I'm trying to be very careful with my running though because last time I started upping my mileage I got crazy shin splints. 

There's tons of info out there regarding preventing running injuries, so don't just take my word for it - do your own research.  But I've put together a little acronym for what I do to prevent injury. You may have heard of R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for when you're already injured, but if you're looking to prevent injury I recommend FWISMS (not nearly as catchy, unfortunately.)

F - Foam Roll. Oh, it hurts so good.

When I'm starting to run several times a week I try to roll every day, but at least after every workout. It's not hard and doesn't take that long, so it's a great evening activity while I watch TV. When I first started foam rolling I just rolled around on it where it hurt.  But after doing more research and talking to my physical therapist friend, you're supposed to roll until you find a tight spot then hold pressure there for about 20-30 seconds, or as long as you can stand it.  I start with my hips, then roll lower down my outer thigh, then I move to my glutes, and finish with my calves. I used to have terrible IT band issues that are now non-existent because of foam rolling my hips.  Focusing on the calves helps with the shins so these days that's where I spend most of my time. This is a good video from Runner's World.

You can find foam rollers in most sporting stores. Here's one from Amazon for like $11
W - Water.  Seems obvious but is sooooo important for recovery.  I don't know about ya'll but I sweat BUCKETS. (I'm gonna make a gif one of these days of me squeezing out my headband after a workout just to freak you out). Drinking water replaces what you lost in sweat, but it also aids in muscle repair.

I - Ice. Icing is a little harder because it involves sitting still (which isn't something I do often) but it's very helpful for fighting injuries.  Muscles swell up when you work them and ice keeps inflammation down and can prevent muscles from getting overly aggravated. Sometimes I ice as I'm going to sleep.  I use the reusable ice packs and figure they'll stay long enough before I move in my sleep and knock them off.   If you're daring - try an ice bath.  It's not as hard as it seems and gets all those leg muscles at once.  I wrote about ice baths here, if you want more info.

S- Stretch.  I can't believe how many people neglect stretching (yeah husband, I'm talking about you). I start my workout by jogging for about 2 minutes at an easy pace and then pull over to stretch for a couple minutes.  Then after my workout I try to dedicate at least 5 minutes to cool down stretches. Then later, I usually end up incorporating stretching into my foam rolling routine.  I've found that if I'm ever sitting on the floor, I can't help but start to stretch, so if I'm already on the floor foam rolling, it's a good transition. Try it.
This is me stretching... yeah right, I wish. Source: Lululemon Blog

M - Massage.  I get this done two ways.  I use the massage "stick" that I purchased at a race expo (a little pricey - but totally worth it).
This is the Sprinter Stick which is the one I use.  It doesn't have much bend and can really get into those tough places.  Plus, it's not super long so it's easier to travel with than my foam roller
Donny also has a very gracious standing offer to dig his elbows into my hips whenever I want as well. The two areas that I focus on most with massage are my calves and hips. It's pretty much the most painful thing I've ever felt - but if you're hips are hurting when you run - it's worth it. When something starts to hurt while you're running you tend to change your form and put undo strain on other parts of your body. By working out those potential knots before they become bigger issues, you're protecting your form and overall performance.
finding time to ice and foam roll at my desk

S - Strengthening. Runners are notoriously bad about strength training - but it's actually very important to preventing injuries.  When running we engage tons of muscles, but we don't necessarily strengthen all those muscles.  The gluteus medius is one of those muscles.  It gets worked while running, but it's a little harder to target.  Doing specific exercises for a few minutes a week on these areas can strengthen your body overall and protect it from overuse and poor form injuries.  Here's a great exercise that I do regularly.

So there you have it, FWISMS.

And remember - I'm not a professional and am only speaking from personal experience. Do your own research, and always, consult with a doctor before starting any new fitness routine or exercises.

1 comment:

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