A new perspective

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Table Rock 30K

There are thousands of reasons why I run. It’s my alone time. It’s my social time. It’s my chance to connect with nature. It exhausts me. It energizes me. It gives me confidence and it makes me doubt myself. It makes me feel alive. Heart beating in my throat, legs screaming, sweat stinging my eyes, gasping for breath to fill my lungs. There is no truer expression of celebrating my body than by pushing it to its limits.

But therein lies the problem: my body has limits. I’ve toed that fine line a few times over the past couple years but have avoided serious injury since February of 2013. I do all the right stuff. I strength train. I take rest days. I do yoga and eat lots of anti-inflammatory foods and sleep 8 hours a night. I try to listen to my body, even if it is telling me the exact opposite of what I want to hear. Recently my body has been talking loudly and I’ve had to make some tough decisions based on what it’s been telling me. It’s been a few months since my last blog, so let me bring you up to speed. Buckle up. Continue reading

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Surviving Injury

 

hike

This guy will hike with you ANY TIME.

Okay, so your doctor has put the final nail in your running coffin and has said those dreaded words, “stop running.” Great. Now what? Well, you have a couple options. You can sulk on the couch while binging on ice cream and Netflix, cursing the running gods for allowing this to happen, or you can make the best of your downtime and become a regular at the gym. Your body, and your friends, will appreciate the latter much more. I’ll lay out your best options below.

Cardio

Can you walk? Then go walk. Hike. Find some steep hills and power your butt up it. Get on the treadmill and crank the incline to 15%. This is especially useful if you have a trail race on the calendar.

Can’t walk? Then bike. Go outside if you aren’t too afraid of crazy-ass drivers and clip-in shoes (like me). Get on the spin bike if you are. Explore the cult of SoulCycle. We are just chasing that endorphin fix, after all. Continue reading

Why Me?! Running Injury Guide: Shin Splints

This is the first post in a new series I’m writing, called the “Why Me?! Running Injury Guide.” Injury is a sad reality of competitive running, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your training. If you take a proactive approach by finding out the true cause of the pain, instead of just treating the symptoms and taking time off like the doc prescribes, you will come back stronger and less likely to get injured again. Throughout this series I will explore the most common running injuries, their potential causes, and how to rehab yourself. Now, if your foot falls off or if bone is poking through the skin, go see a doctor. But more often than not, a reduction in volume, some mobility and strength work, and a slow return to running will get you through recovery road. As always, please feel free to contact me with questions about specific injuries. I’m happy to help a fellow runner in need!

First up, the dreaded shin splints… 
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Pills, Powders, and Bars: my supplement list

Protein, brah! #gainz

Protein, bro! #gainz

Americans spend a LOT of money on supplements. Over $28 billion a year, to be exact. The appeal is strong. Why eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables when you can pop a pill instead? Runners in particular are susceptible to bullshit claims from companies. You mean to tell me I can run faster and increase my VO2max and create more ATP just by taking this very expensive pill three times a day? I’m sold! I’ll take any advantage I can get.

It’s pretty well known now that most supplements are full of garbage. At worst, you are ingesting cheap filler with potentially allergy-causing ingredients not listed on the label. At best, you’ll have very expensive neon pee.

Don’t get me wrong, I take plenty of supplements. But I’ve done my research and found some good tried and true products that improve my running, energy, and recovery. I try to eat a varied diet with lots of organic veggies, fruits, and meat but sometimes you just don’t want to snack on carrot sticks in the middle of a 20 miler.

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Taper Tips

We made it. Just three weeks until the Boston Marathon!!! In past marathon training cycles, my taper has ranged from three weeks to just a few days, with varying results. This time around I’ll be trying out a two-week reduction in volume. It’s a tricky thing to get right. Taper for too long, and you risk losing fitness and dealing with flat legs. Taper for not long enough, and you won’t be rested appropriately to crush it on race day.

Here are my best taper tips gained from experience (written mostly to distract myself from my own taper insanity). Please share with me your favorite ways for making it through the hardest ‘easy’ part of training!

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Why You Need an Off Season

“Nobody takes an off season out here.” My manager made this off-the-cuff remark to me the other day. And he’s right. Maybe it’s our perfect-for-running, year round, moderate temperatures or our general Type A attitudes, but most athletes I know train consistently throughout the winter (or, I should say, “winter”). We fear losing months of hard earned fitness, but with that we sacrifice the opportunity to rest and heal our bodies.

I raced a lot this year, and hit all my goals in my A races. It was totally successful from a training standpoint, but I could feel the burnout creeping in towards the end of the season. Minor niggles turned into little annoying injuries. I was tired all the time and my appetite was all over the place. Sometimes I was so hungry I could eat my own arm, and other times I just couldn’t be bothered to make food (that’s how I knew something was up. I’m always hungry.) My sleep was inconsistent. My heart rate always seemed high. All signs pointing to overtraining. So now that my 50 mile race is over, I’m taking my first ever dedicated off season. And I am actually enjoying it! I took an entire week off from all exercise, and now I’m going to yoga a few times a week, I’ve gotten back on my bike, and I’m planning some hikes with friends. I’m doing all the stuff that got squeezed out of my life when I was putting in 60-70 mile weeks.

I know the overachiever in you doesn’t believe me that taking time off will benefit you in the long run, so here are a few reasons why your 2015 self will thank you.

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