Form. Form. Form. Running form is soooo incredibly important!! I cannot emphasize this enough! A lot of running pains occur because of improper form! Whenever I run, I keep a mental checklist of what my body should be doing. Sometimes I slip, especially when I’m tired, and my body lets me know if I’m not running properly. Yes, knee pain, I feel you, I’m heel striking again aren’t I?
Keeping proper form is not complicated, but sometimes it doesn’t come naturally. My natural tendency is to over stride and heel strike. This is a waste of energy, puts the brakes on every step, and is really hard on the knees. I had to train myself to have a mid foot strike. It was so awkward at first, but with lots of focus, it’s now second nature. I even bought special shoes that encourage a mid foot strike. They are a zero drop shoe, and I cannot recommend them enough! They are wonderful!
Let’s talk about one of my favorite things, SHOES! And not just any shoes- running shoes. When it comes to running shoes, there are millions of options. How in the world are you supposed to know what is best for YOU? The perfect shoe has more to do with your running style and the shape of your feet than the design or logo. A little advanced knowledge of your running style and feet will help you narrow in on the perfect shoe with just a little bit of trial and error.Continue reading
Heel pain, one of THE worst running pains ever. Many runners are WAY too familiar with the ligament known as the plantar fascia. While training for my second marathon, I suddenly started feeling that pain in the heel on the bottom of the foot. I didn’t realize what it was at first, so I initially ran through the pain. BAD IDEA!! Once I realized what the pain was, I stopped my training and let my foot heal. When the pain went away, I started running again, but the pain started to come back. I knew that I needed to find what was causing the pain. Then, I learned an easy trick, and the pain was immediately gone and has never been back. I share this trick with every one I know, and so far 100% success rate. Continue reading
One of the worst things that can happen on a run is a side ache! No matter what your distance, side aches can creep up and attempt to sabotage your run. With a few strategies, you can prevent side aches and learn how to get rid of them mid run.Continue reading
Here’s to half marathon training, sort of. Ha ha. I don’t have a race selected, there are none in my town and travel right now is out of the question, but I’m still training. I’m really trying to improve my speed to qualify for Boston and since I’ve hit my goal for the 5K, I’d like to focus on the half marathon next. Which is kind of a big jump, but I’m going for it!Continue reading
Running seems like such an easy sport, right? Just grab your shoes and go! But once you get started, you might suddenly realize that it’s not so easy. What’s that pain in my knee? I’m so exhausted! My feet hurt. It hurts to walk down stairs. I get side aches. What’s a runner to do?
Here’s 10 mistakes runners make and how to avoid them
Too much too soon
Not taking rest days
Not cross training
Other shoes you wear
Not moving post workout
Eating new foods before a run
Starting too fast
Too Much Too Soon
You’ve just signed up for a race, and you start running every day. You’re so excited and motivated you run more and more miles. Suddenly, you have shin splints, your IT band hurts, your hip hurts, what is happening??
Your body needs time to adjust to running. Take it slow, slower than you feel like you should. Most training plans encourage you to be running consistently for 3 months before you start training. The general rule is to increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week. Be conservative, take breaks, don’t be afraid to walk!
Over striding is landing heel first with your legs out in front of you. Unbeknownst to me, I had this problem for years! I had severe knee pain that I just couldn’t quit. I finally went to a running coach and learned the cause- over striding.
Over striding wastes energy, adds extra pressure on your knees, can cause runners knee, and shin splints.
The solution, land on your mid foot with your feet underneath your body. Practice running with light quick feet.
This includes slouching, swinging the arms too much, clenching your fists, over striding, and twisting the upper body.
Your back should be straight (poke your chest out), and you should have a slight lean from the ankles, not the waist! Your upper body should not twist and your arms should never cross the mid line of your body. Keep your hands and shoulders relaxed- don’t waste your energy and create tension by making fists and hunching your shoulders.
This one can be tricky. Breathing improperly can lead to side aches and lightheadedness.
My high school cross country coach clued me into the secret of matching your breathing to your stride. It’s a little bit different for everyone. I breathe in 3 steps and breathe out 3 steps, some runners breathe in 3 and out 2. Play around with different rhythms and find what works for you.
Take deep breaths from your belly, avoid shallow breathing.
Not Taking Rest Days
Your body NEEDS to rest! Even if you feel energized, still rest. Otherwise, after weeks of training, you will have more injuries and less energy. Be kind to your body!
Not Cross Training
Runners who do nothing but run are more likely to have injuries. The more you run, the more you strengthen your running muscles. If all you do is run, this can create an imbalance as some muscles get strong and others get weak, which can cause problems like runners knee.
The solution, cross train and strength train every week to maintain balance within your body.
Other Shoes You Wear
Hard soled shoes like ballet flats and flip flops are more likely to lead to plantar fasciitis, an enemy to all runners.
The solution, wear proper foot wear with cushion throughout the day.
Not Moving Post Workout
Keep the blood flowing after a run with walking, gentle stretching, and foam rolling. This will help with stiffness and soreness! You may not feel like moving because you are so tired, but remember, motion is the lotion.
Eating New Foods Before A Run
Just don’t, don’t even try. Nothing is worse than having the runs on your run. Figure out your foods while you train and don’t try anything new on race day.
Starting Too Fast
If you plan to run a certain pace, start at or below that pace. Don’t let the excitement at the starting line push you to go faster. My last marathon I started running with the 9 mile pace group- unfortunately they started at an 8:30 pace. I felt fine for the first 10 or so miles, but couldn’t maintain and eventually fell behind. Save your energy for the end of the race when you will really need it.
Did you know the average adult body is 50-65% water? No wonder we hear so much about the advantages of drinking water. Even with knowing how important it is to drink water every day, I still struggle to get my 8 glasses. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to guzzle more H2O. Here’s the tricks I’ve found to help:
5 Tips To Drink More Water
Drink through a straw- I’m not sure why, but I drink way more water if I sip it through a straw.
Add fruits, veggies, and herbs- My favorite combo is strawberries and lemons!
Take a water bottle with you- whenever you leave the house, bring along your favorite water bottle.
Add flavor packs- I always pick ones sweetened with stevia-no aspartame or sucralose.
Track it- Use an app, mark your bottles, set reminders, etc.
Hydration is especially important if you like to exercise in the morning. Early morning runners- I’m talking to you!! Your body is dehydrated after sleeping, and proper hydration can improve the quality of your workout. Warm lemon water is a perfect way to start off the day!
Here’s some other benefits to drinking enough water:
Helps with headaches
Aids in digestion
Here’s to running further, feeling better, and drinking more water!
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much running has helped me keep sanity as a stay at home mom. And not just sanity, running has helped me feel grounded. Let’s be completely honest here, being a SAHM is tough, and not just because you are taking care of kids all the time- it’s lonely, isolating, and sometimes unfulfilling- and then there’s the guilt for feeling this way, right? Because being a SAHM is such a blessing- so where’s the happiness?
In The Beginning….
When my husband and I were engaged, we talked a lot about our future-classic, I know. We were going to be an unstoppable team that would change the world together. We were co-captains of our own destiny. We were motivated, we had dreams, and we were pumped! After we got married, we both worked hard, we both graduated from college, and the world was ours to conquer.
Then, the most amazing thing happened- I got pregnant! We were so excited, we made plans for me to stay at home with our new baby- and honestly, it was exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t imagine not being with my baby all the time. After the baby was born- it was bliss, and then reality sunk in. This baby ruled my life. It was joyful and tiring. I kissed my husband good bye every morning and watched as he left for an accomplishing and successful day. He interacted with people. He had lunch dates. He helped improve other people’s lives. HE LEFT THE HOUSE! I wasn’t used to staying inside all the time but taking a newborn- my very first- out in public was scary not to mention dangerous, I mean what kind of germs would my sweet vulnerable baby pick up out there? I was hardly getting any sleep at night and sleeping whenever I could during the day. My house was a mess, I constantly felt groggy and gross. And nine months later, I was pregnant again. I’ll be honest here- I cried. I wasn’t ready for another baby when I already HAD a baby!
I sat at home and watched as my husband went on to get two master’s degrees. Of course this left me at home alone even more while he juggled work and school. Then, the feelings of jealousy came. I suddenly felt like we were no longer co-captains, I had been sidelined and was suddenly the cheerleader while my husband continued to be the star. I know life wasn’t easy for him either, working full time and doing school full time, but to me, at least he was feeling accomplished, at least he was working towards something that had an end, and at least he was out in the world achieving his dreams. Not wanting to seem ungrateful and feeling guilty for my feelings, after all he was doing this so I could stay home with our kids, I kept everything inside. And then, before I knew it, I had four kids ages 4 and under.
The Early Years
Four kids broke me. I no longer had any control over anything. Everyday felt like chaos. I still struggled with jealous feelings of my husband’s experiences and success while I was at home covered in spit up, with no makeup on, and feeling gross. I was missing connection with the outside world and then feeling guilty for feeling unfulfilled. I mean, I had the best job in the world, right? I struggled with feeling lonely all day even though I was never alone. I would have all these ideas and no one to share them with. And the guilt!! I had been taught that being a mother was the greatest calling God could give a woman. This was what I was born to do, this was my calling in life, this was my greatest blessing, and it was, it truly was, but I’d look around and think, this can’t be it for me. I am capable of more! I can be a mother AND be more! I can contribute more to the world! I CAN!! I realized I needed to discover who I really was outside of being a wife and a mother. It wasn’t that I didn’t want motherhood, I just also wanted me. I didn’t know how to find ‘me’ in mom.
This is where running comes in. Running helped me discover me! I can set and achieve goals, I can be successful, I can push, and I can achieve something amazing. I can be amazing- amazing to myself and no one else.
Finding The ‘Me’
I’ve always loved running but during the 4 and half years of being pregnant, breast feeding, and then being pregnant again, I never got into a good routine. After my fourth baby, I was determined to get back into it. I wanted to run a marathon. I started running again. It was hard. I was out of shape. I had knee pain, something I had been struggling with for years, I felt awkward, but I kept at it. I met with a running specialist and fixed my knee. I ran a 10k- it was miserable! But I did it. I kept going, I kept running further and faster. With each step, my world seemed to settle around me. I felt grounded. Running became so cathartic for me. It was my time, my time to think, to ponder, to push, to be. I started training for my first marathon. I remember the first time I ran 11 miles. I felt amazing! I couldn’t believe my body was capable of such a thing. Each week I went further, and I was constantly surprised by what I could do! And then I ran 26.2 miles. I mean, WHAT? That is sooo far, but I did it! I DID IT!!!! I pushed my body and my mind further than I ever had, and I came out on top.
As running became a routine in my life, I noticed that things started to change. I no longer felt jealous of my husband. I felt accomplished. I felt a connection with people. I no longer felt lonely, even though I wasn’t necessarily around people more. I felt me. I was happy. I really started to love being at home with kids, and the guilt was gone. I really started to love life. I had found me.
Being True To Myself
I started to notice a pattern, whenever I started to feel off or depressed, I’d look around at my life, and think what am I doing or not doing that’s making me feel this way? I came up with a list that I call my Being True To Myself list. Whenever I start to feel off, I go to my list and double check that I am living true to myself. This is what is on my list: early bedtime, run/exercise, eat healthy whole foods, spiritual study, clean house, and having fun!! Without fail, every time I start to feel in a funk it is because I am not doing something on my list! So I adjust and life starts to feel better. Running is a crucial part of my list and living true to myself. Running is my me time and my peace time and my kick butt time! When I live true to myself, I am a better wife, a better mother, and a better person!
Find Your Thing
Running is my thing, but it may not be your thing. Find your thing. Find the thing that makes you shine for you. What makes you feel accomplished? Happy? Peace? What helps the world shift and settle around you? Find it and incorporate it into your life. It will bring you peace, and it will help you find you! Live true to yourself!
*Don’t get me wrong here, I love being a mother and have loved it since my first child was born. I have found joy during the whole journey; I was really good at stuffing those jealous and guilty feelings into a deep dark hole and not acknowledging them. In all honesty I was happy, but I still struggled with these feelings. I am eternally grateful for my husband and his hard work so I CAN stay home with my amazing kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
SAHM running mom
Featured on: via http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2017/01/busy-monday-251/
I recently read an article about Zach Bitter. Anyone know who he is? Zach is an ultra runner who set the American 100 mile record. He ran 100 miles in 11:47:21. This guy is pretty amazing. What’s even more amazing is that he ran this ON A TRACK. Talk about mind over matter! He ran 4 hours one direction, then switched directions for another 4 hours, and then switched again. This guy has some serious mental toughness.
Photo from http://running.competitor.com/2013/12/news/zach-bitter-ran-100-miles-in-less-than-12-hours_91741
Mind Over Matter
What exactly is the role of the brain during running? Tim Noakes, M.D., author of Lore of Running, has claimed that the brain allows or limits endurance performance rather than the body. His “central governor” theory states that “the brain is there to look after you and to make sure whatever you do, you do it safely.”
Noakes says that the brain holds us back from pushing past a certain point. “There’s a control mechanism to make sure that you reach the finish line not in a completely, utterly wilted state,” he claims. “You always have a little reserve.” In other words, you can always push a little harder.http://www.runnersworld.com/rt-web-exclusive/mind-over-matter
THIS article discusses the difference between mental fatigue and physical fatigue and how we sometimes confuse them. Researchers in the UK found that when a person is mentally fatigued, the perception of physical effort was much higher vs people who were not mentally fatigued. In other words, when a runner is mentally fatigued, they will feel like they hit their max effort sooner.
How To Apply This
All this information is fascinating. Our brain and what we think is so powerful!! What’s even more amazing is that we can train our brains. In order to improve running, we have to become comfortable with pushing limits and being uncomfortable. When I was training for my first marathon, I couldn’t imagine myself running those long distances, but slowly I kept adding on miles, week after week, until I was running 16-18 miles at a time. I was so amazed by what my body could do. Every time, I proved to myself, and my brain, that I was capable of way more than I thought. It’s amazing when you reach that point of doing more than you thought.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on speed work. After my tempo run on Wednesday, I still had about a mile to my car. I decided to finish at an easy easy pace. Once I’d settled into a comfortable pace, I checked my watch- I was running about a 9:30 mile. I remember when anything less than a 10 minute mile was fast for me, and now that pace was my slow easy pace. It reinforced to me that training hard and positive thinking are both necessary to a successful training plan and conquering those goals!!
So, memorize those mantras, surround yourself with motivational thoughts, channel the positive thinking, and reach those PRs!
This time of year is my favorite in California. The Fall weather is perfect with highs in the upper 60s and low to mid 70s. It seriously is the best running weather. I don’t have to wake up before the crack of dawn to get a run in before the unbearable and relentless heat strikes. I’ve been able to really focus on my training plan to increase my pace. In addition to the track repeats and tempo runs, I’ve been working on my flexibility and strength training- both will help improve my running (I hope).
By adding a few supplemental workouts every week, runners can improve their running. ocusing a few hours a week on non-running activities (like the ones listed below), you can take your running to the next level. Here’s a few examples of supplemental workouts and how they can boost your running.
Hill Sprints (I know, this IS a running workout.)
Now, I know, I just named your favorite workouts right? Ha ha, I mean who doesn’t love doing hill sprints? Hill sprints are a great way to add power to your legs. There is one hill on the trail close to my house that I dread every run, but guess what? We’ll be spending a lot of quality time together because it is my new sprinting hill. Start with a 10 min hill sprint workout once a week and slowly build it up over several weeks.
Strength training is crucial to any running or training plan. Even just 20 minutes a week can make a difference. Any runner who logs a lot of miles every week, needs strength training. My husband worked with an endocrinologist who tried to convince him that running is horrible for the body. She has treated several runners who had bone loss and lots of other problems. She said when someone starts to run a lot of miles, the body will do whatever it can to make itself lighter, including trying to lighten the bones. This can cause major problems later in life. Here’s the good news- all these problems can be prevented with weight training. When the body experiences consistent weight training, it makes the bones denser so they can be stronger and hold more weight. Weight training should be done at least once a week, but ideally three times a week. And let’s be honest, all pictures of the elite runners shows off their toned bodies. All that muscle did not come strictly from running.
According to Matt Fitzgerald, ““Plyometrics, or jumping exercise, is something that every runner should do and that most runners don’t do. Running is a form of jumping. Plyometrics isolates and exaggerates the jumping element in running and thereby improves running performance in a way that running itself does not.” Enough said.
Now onto yoga. I’ll be honest here, the only yoga I’ve ever done is the yoga workout in p90x. Does that even count? Flexibility is a major weakness of mine. I know yoga is a workout I need to start incorporating. Yoga helps to maintain balance in the body- especially in the muscles. Runners who only run will naturally create an imbalance with some muscles, this can cause problems, like runner’s knee. I’ve had runner’s knee- it’s no fun, no fun at all. I’m so not flexible, I’m a little nervous to join a yoga class, but if it will help my running, sign me up.
As with everything in life, running needs balance. These activities will help provide balance and as a natural result, more power and endurance. Happy running everyone! Check out this website for more info.