January 30, 2017

What Will Make Me a Better, Faster Stronger Athlete in 2017

Hello! I'm still moving along on my return to running plan and am up to running TWO WHOLE MILES. Yes, sarcastically because I have had a couple runs this week where I just want to keep going, but then my mind is like BUT THE PLAN and then I think about how I don't want to be injured or in a boot again so I stop. Being able to run 2 miles is way better than 0 miles. I am still trying to work on changing my running form which is proving to be hard and might not happen, but at least there are things I think of like squeezing my booty to engage my glutes every so often and lean forward a bit to prevent over striding.  

I have been really wary of registering for races even though I have 2 half marathons on the books in the spring because coming back from the injury and getting my mileage up is a slow process. Therefore I am still thinking about 2017 goals (besides not getting injured) as well as what I want to accomplish outside of fitness. So that post will be later. 

There are things I have been doing that I want to continue with as my mileage slowly but surely increases to make me a [harder] better, faster, stronger athlete.  

Yoga

I was always on this blog talking about how I need to do more yoga and how yoga is so great for runners. Finally completing Yoga Sculpt teacher training at CorePower Yoga and then starting to teach at the Harbor Point studio has been a little blessing. It gave me a nice outlet when I was in the boot and couldn't run. Also teaching has made me do yoga more besides the obvious reason. It helps that as an instructor I get free classes at CorePower (which is AMAZING), but it is also easier to practice on my own before or after I teach as well as take other classes when I am already at the studio. Besides the physical benefits, the mental and spiritual benefits for me have been missed and are much needed when I am busy with school and work. It's always good to be reminded to slow down, breathe, and stay present.  I am finally getting back into yoga and am loving it. 

corepoweryoga-federal-hill-whyiyoga

Stretching/ PT Exercises 

This one is kind of a no-brainer, but I need to carve out time at least 3x a week to continue with some of my theraband exercises from PT for my glutes and hips once I am no longer going on a regular basis. I also have been valuing a warm up and cooldown to my runs. For me that is walking a bit before and after a run. Stretching during the week is important to. I mostly stretched well after long runs during this past marathon training cycle, but taking the time multiple times during the week is so important. I like this quick stretching sequence from Runner's World. 

January 17, 2017

Injury Update #2: Stress Fracture Recovery Begins

In case you missed it, I was diagnosed with a 4th metatarsal stress fracture at the very end of October/beginning of November and survived almost 4 weeks in an Aircast boot doing pretty much zero exercise of any type. Yup, I did pretty much nothing besides a few workouts during my time recovering. 


injury-update-stress-fracture-recovery

What I'm Doing

Physical Therapy
Das boot came off in December after an X-Ray and getting the okay from my orthopedist. I wore an ortho sandal for 2 weeks after the boot to still offer some protection, but could at least get around better. Luckily I was not having any pain in my foot. 

The second week of December I began to see a physical therapist once a week as recommended by my orthopedist. A gait analysis was completed and the body mechanics of muscles involved in running were analyzed.  Not so shocking, but I found out I have weak hips (main problem) and weak glutes. ::whomp::whomp::


happy-gilmore-hips
But really though. Happy Gilmore, anyone?


Exercises
To help strengthen these muscles I was prescribed weekly exercises to do at therapy and at home daily during with a Theraband. Lots of variations on clamshells, squats, step-ups, lunges, and fire hydrants. This article from Runner's Connect has a nice set of exercises which includes some that I have been doing. These will continue to be a staple in my life to help prevent any injuries in the future. 

Theraband exercises are why PT is short for Pure Torture, right? Just hitting you with some rehabilitation professional jokes. 

Working on My Running Form
I'm always sweating and doing hard work when I'm at physical therapy. As a future occupational therapist and science nerd, getting my gait analyzed has been really awesome. It's also been a little depressing because I want to have this great running form and then look at the recording all slowed down of me on the treadmill and am like GEEZ, THAT LOOKS TERRIBLE.

I have been working on transitioning from a heel striker to a midfoot striker as well as trying to keep my feet underneath me during my stride instead of reaching out with my legs and overstriding. Overstriding increases the force put through my foot and increases injury potential so that's not good. 


overstriding-infographic1
This graphic I found makes it easier to visualize. {Source}

January 3, 2017

2016: A Year in Running & Beyond

Welcome to my 2016 year in review blog post. I know it's a bit cliche, but this is a really fun way for me to reflect on the year. I always forget all of the amazing adventures I went on, the races I ran, and fun I had this year.  It's nice to scroll through the photos on my computer and really spend time thinking about the past year before jumping into the next. I'm sharing a couple fun things that happened each month in 2016 running, fitness, and beyond!


2016: A Year in Running & Beyond

January
Snowzilla hit Baltimore in January bringing the best snow on record for the city. It was crazy.  I also started coaching at Charm City Run which was definitely challenging with lots of snow and ice on the ground!

baltimore-snowzilla-2016-blizzard

I also spent plenty of cold mornings running and working out with November Project Baltimore, which celebrated it's second birthday. 

november-project-baltimore-2birthday

February
Besides a lovely Valentine's Day dinner in with my boyfriend and some more running, I ran the Nuun Year Dash with a group of fellow Team Nuun runners and some cool people from Harlem Run. It was great to spread the Nuun love and run the FitFam virtual race in person! 

fitfam-underarmour-nuun-year-dash

March
March is always when lots of spring races start popping off despite the weather still being a crapshoot. I visited Asheville for the first time and ran the Asheville Half Marathon at the Biltmore Estate-a BEAUTIFUL race! 

biltmore-asheville-half-marathon-2016

Baltimore also held it's first Light City which was a lights festival with light art installations, performances, and events. 
 
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