Running & Injury City.

Let’s talk about running.

I’m not doing any of it right now. Boo. I feel like I’ve been in injury city lately. Can we all have a giant injury pity party? I think I need one. And I know most of you runners have dealt with injuries at one point or another.

They suck.

I’ve had a nagging foot injury that crept up last month after my Tar Heel 10-Miler that has gradually gotten more painful. One of these days I will actually make it to the doctor but until then I’ll just be bratty and complain about it.

I have to admit, I’m pretty terrible at dealing with injuries. Mostly, I’m just stubborn and continue running/dancing/exercising despite the pain which inevitably makes things worse. Funny how that works. True story: my senior year of high school I tore my hamstring during dance class and didn’t notice for 3 days, I guess I had some serious endorphins rushing through my system?

Even though I’m still a little (okay a lot) stubborn when it comes to exercise, I’m slowly that rest and recovery is critical to not getting injured, and that doing plyo on a hurt foot is a really terrible idea. Between dealing with tendonitis and now my foot, these injuries are really cramping my style. I miss running and I’ve only got a small window of time before things get unbearably hot here in NC.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post other than I’d love to hear your injury stories and how you dealt with it, because obviously I’m not doing a very good job with mine. Any tips for injury prevention/how to not go crazy without running? Tina actually just posted a great post about the benefits of injuries and she brings up a lot of great points about how injuries force you to listen to your body, try new things and train smarter.

Here’s my I-refuse-to-get-injured-again game plan:

  1. Go to the doctor – I’m only resisting it because I’m pretty sure it’s going to go like this: “Ice it and take some naproxen sodium”. I know there’s really not much they can do, but I hate paying for a doctor’s visit just to hear that. And why are doctors visits so expensive? Lame.
  2. Stretch, stretch and stretch again – sometimes I’m really on the ball about stretching and sometimes I really stink at. I want to get more consistent with it. I’ve been neglecting yoga like crazy lately and I can tell my muscles seriously hate me for it. Sorry muscles.
  3. Foam roll my little heart out – Along with yoga, I’ve been neglecting my foam roller, I busted it out the other day and my muscles were crazy tight. Sorry again muscles.
  4. Drink more water – a well hydrated body is a happy body.
  5. Strength training – as much as I hate lunges (I’m pretty sure they qualify as torture) strong and balanced muscles help prevent injuries. Luckily, Best Body Bootcamp has been helping me in this area.
  6. Sleep – it’s essential for recovery, and even though I suck at getting enough sleep, I’m trying to make a really effort to get my 7 hours every night.
  7. Build up mileage slowly – When I can run again. I thought I was already adding pretty slowly, but it’s pretty clear my needs some time to adjust to longer distances because my injuries tend to happen when I’m training for races.
  8. Lots and lots of spin classes – I’m addicted to that post-cardio endorphin rush, so I will be hitting up plenty of spin classes to get my fill of endorphins in a low impact way.

Speedster.

I actually went to a 6AM spin class this morning, my favorite instructor ended up subbing for the class AND we ended class with tabatas to Macklemore and I think that was the fastest I’ve ever pedaled. Best way to end a spin class everrrrr.

Have you ever dealt with injuries? If not I’m super jealous and you need to spill your secrets ASAP.

If so, how did you keep yourself from going crazy?

Are you a fan of spin?

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Pilates: The First Four

We’ve gone over the benefits, a little history, principles and form so now it’s time for the good stuff, the moves!

Starting Your Workout

You can start a Pilates workout in one of two ways, you can eager beaver right into The Hundred, or you can starting with a little breath work/centering.

Personally, I’m a fan of the second. I find I enjoy the workout if I take a couple minutes to bring my focus inward, concentrate on my breathing and just de-stress from my day before I hop into some ab work, so that’s what I usually teach. But, it’s perfectly fine jump right into things as long as you’re body is warm. Pilates and cold muscles are a bad mix, actually cold muscles and anything are a bad mix, don’t skip your warm ups.

The Hundred

In classical Pilates, the hundred is always first, it gets the blood circulating, builds some heat and it certainly wakes that core up!

Prepare for The Hundred by lying on your back with your feet planted on the ground and your knees pointed towards the ceiling and your arms stretched out beside you.

Sinking your belly button towards your spine, lift your head and shoulders off the mat, bring your gaze to the navel to prevent strain on the neck. Lift the arms slightly off the ground to either side of you and begin to pump them up and down.

Inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts, repeat 10 times (5+5 x 10=100!)

Modifications:

  • For a greater challenge, bring the knees to a table top position:

    or straighten your legs towards the ceiling:

  • Or if your if hard core you can start to lower the legs towards the floor, making sure your lower back stays glued to the mat.

Reminders

  • Remember to sink your belly button down towards your spine with every exhale
  • Keep the shoulders pulled down the back, don’t let them creep up near the shoulders

The Roll Up

Start laying on your back with your feet planted on your mat and your arms reaching over head, focus on closing the gap between your lower back and the mat, engaging the core and releasing through the quads and hip flexors. Inhale as you slightly lift your head and arms up off the mat bringing your gaze towards your navel, as you exhale roll all the way up to sitting keeping your feet planted on the mat – don’t use momentum.

Once you get to the top inhale as you straighten your legs and your reach the arms towards the ceiling growing tall through the spine, as you exhale fold forwards reaching towards the toes. An inhale brings you back up and exhale as you roll slowly down to your back feeling each vertebrae press into to the mat as you lower down.

Complete 3 to 5 repetitions.

Modifications:

  • For and extra challenge you can straighten your legs as you roll up down, as always remembering that Pilates stance!

Reminders

  • Think about closing the gap between your lower back and the mat at the beginning of each repetition, this will both engage your core and help your lower back.
  • Lower down slowly! The slower you go the harder your core will work.
  • Keep your feet/legs glued to the mat as you roll up, don’t let your legs do the work

Single Leg Circles

Lying on your back with your knees pointed up towards the ceiling, hug one knee in towards your chest.

I like to take a couple of seconds here to rock the leg from side to side before I start the actual exercise to help loosen up through the hip joint, we tend to unknowingly hold a lot of tension in our hips so taking time to loosen things up a little makes the exercise a little more enjoyable.

Extend your leg up towards the ceiling straightening as much as possible and really externally rotation that leg, you want to think about bringing that inner pants seam towards your face. Feel your triceps and shoulders press into the mat as you glue your belly button to your spine.

As you inhale bring the foot across the body and down, exhale and bring the leg straight back up towards your face, making an uppercase D shape with your leg. Complete 3 to 5 repetitions and reverse, inhaling as you lower the leg and exhale as you bring it back up and around.

Modifications

  • For a greater challenge, straighten the bottom leg

  • If you can’t straight your leg all the way, it’s perfectly fine to keep it bent, just be sure you’re still working that Pilates stance
  • You can bring the hands to the hips to help stabilize them

Reminders

  • Really turn out through the working leg, when you let the leg rotate inward the quad starts doing all the work instead of the hip joint.
  • Keep the hips stable through the entire exercise, if you’re having trouble keeping them still, make your movement smaller and trying bringing the hands to the hips.

Rolling Like  A Ball

Rolling Like a Ball is one of several Pilates rolling exercises, which I think are pretty fun.

To start, come to the top edge of your mat, making sure you have enough room behind you to rock back without rocking off your mat. With your feet flat on the floor in front of you, bring the insides of your feet together, leaving the knees just slightly apart. Place your hands on your hamstring and lean back until it feels as if you’re hanging on your hamstrings, bring a deep C-curve into your back.

Slowly walk your feet back until you find a balancing point on your sacrum, the wide, flat bone at the base of your spine, NOT your tail bone (ouch!).

As you inhale lean back and rock to the tips of your shoulder blades, exhale as you rock back up to your balancing point.

Complete 6 repetitions.

Modifications

  • You can place your hands on top of your shins for a little bit more of a balance challenge

Reminders

  • Only rock back to the tips of your should blades, DO NOT roll back on to your neck, bad things could happen.
  • Keep your elbows parallel to the ground, don’t let them droop towards your sides.
  • Try not to use momentum as you rock up, think about scooping the belly as you exhale to engage your core and use your core strength to bring up back up.
  • Make sure you keep a really deep C-curve in your back, it will help protect it and give you a nice little massage as you rock back and forth!

Disclaimer: I’m not a certified Pilates or group fitness instructor (though I hope to be soon!), though I have done training through my university it was not certified training. Please check with your doctor before beginning or changing your fitness routine.

Is it Easter yet?

The Monday back to school after a break always sucks. I’m ready to go back home so I can continue being a lazy bum, that sounds much more better than being a productive member of society. These next couple weeks are going to be cah-razy! I love when professors decide to have everything due at once, ha. Me an the library are going to become BFFs. 

How many days until Easter Break? Um, too many.

But the weather in Boone right now is gorgeous!

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Springtime in the mountains is beautiful. I need to make sometime for an outdoor run! It’s too pretty not to enjoy.

Speaking of runs, I had a not so great 3 mile run this morning. Eating a buttload of trail mix before a run is a terrible idea fyi. Pre-run fueling is clearly not my strong suit. But, I think I need to start switching things up  with my exercise routine. I go through phases where I’m obsessed with running and then I get sick of it and it sucks, and I think I’m in the sick of it phase right now. I’m going to try to work in some more yoga and and strength training, those are always a good way to mix things up!

I’m off to bed I’ve got an early morning!

Freaking Outtt.

I have to teach an audition class tomorrow for my Pilates teacher training and I’m soooo nervous! This basically decides if I get the job or not and I want to do a good job! Ah, I keep alternating between trying not to think about and obsessing over planning out every detail of the class. I’m sure I’ll do fine if I can manage to RELAX, but that’s easier said than done. Eep.

I started off the morning with a 3 mile run, it felt pretty good. My iPod was dead even though I charged it last night, but I think it’s really beneficial to run without music sometimes, I feel like I rely on it too much for motivation. My run was actually pretty speedy (for me) despite the lack of music, 3 miles in 31:30 (side note: let’s be friends on dailymile!), not too shabby. Then I proceeded the drink the most hippie-fied protein shake, pea protein powder+almond milk+cinnamon+mason jar+shake shake shake=delicious.

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I was on the phone with my boyfriend while I was drinking this and he told me I was ridiculous.

Tomorrow I’m hoping for a nice 2 mile OUTDOOR run tomorrow morning since it’s supposed to get up to 63, thank youuuu mother nature! I’m a total wimp and won’t run outside if it’s colder than like 55, my lungs hate me otherwise. Running around the indoor track is slowly driving me insane, 9 laps to a mile gets mind numbing. Anything is better than the treadmill though, not a fan.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Thursday! One more day til the weekend!