Recent Workouts (April 24th-May 3rd)

Since I’m not training for anything these days, I thought I would just post my workouts since my last check-in (which was when I talked about my race recovery).

Thursday 4/24: 3.71 miles easy and Runner’s Core DVD

Friday 4/25: 3 miles on treadmill, Body Pump (Sometimes its just easier to do a little run on the treadmill before and after the class, even though I will always prefer running outside)

Saturday 4/26: 6.44 miles and Runner’s Core DVD. I was planning to do 8 but just wasn’t feeling it, so I figured there was no reason to keep going.

IMG_2433[1]Sunday 4/27: 30 minutes easy reflexion yoga

Monday 4/28: 4.1 miles in the AM, Body Pump in the PM

Tuesday 4/29: 3.5 miles, Runner’s Core DVD and 60 minutes hot vinyasa in PM

Wednesday 4/30:  25 minutes elliptical, body pump, cx works

Thursday 5/1: 5.11 miles

IMG_2495 after the rain

Friday 5/2: 3.35 miles on treadmill, Body Pump, 75 minute vinyasa yoga in PM

IMG_2504

  Saturday 5/3:  10 miles and Runner’s Core DVD

IMG_2514

I am also doing PT moves that my chiropractor has shown me 5 times a day. The goal is 20 repetitions each time, for a total of 100 a day. It’s tough to get it in that often but I have been trying my best. I usually do it once before my morning workout and once right after, and then as soon as I get home from work, and twice in the evening. He also wants me doing single leg balances for 15 seconds at a time for a total of about 10 minutes a day…some of them with my eyes closed.

I tried to take pictures to demonstrate…it was really difficult:

IMG_2530[1]IMG_2542[1]

You lift your knee slightly above your hip, slightly bend your standing leg, lean forward slightly and squeeze your abs and standing glute. This is really hard for me to do with my eyes closed!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

What kind of workouts have you been doing lately?

My First “Thinking Out Loud” Post

I have been reading posts linked to ‘Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud” hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons but have never joined in. Since I have a bunch of random thoughts going on today, I thought it would be a great day to try it out!

1. I am trying to get back into doing more yoga- like going to real-life classes and doing more than 30 minutes at a time. I signed up for a 30 day membership at a nearby yoga studio, which means I can go as much as I want until May 29th. On Tuesday I took a 60 minute hot vinyasa class.  It felt really good to get in a deep stretch. I also noticed something amazing- my core felt way stronger than the last time I took yoga classes. (Note- I love the reflexion yoga classes that I have been doing, but they don’t challenge me as much as regular classes. And I tend to repeat the same videos, so of course its less challenging. It is really convenient, but lately I wanted something more.) So anyway, I was actually able to do crow pose!

Yoga Crow Pose

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It was crazy- I have never been able to do it before and on the first try it just kind of happened! And then something more amazing happened. I managed to pull off this pose (side crow):

source

So maybe all this core work is actually doing something?!

2. While the class was great and I felt like there were many good things happening, I felt really weird after. (Besides feeling like I was going to die because the room was so hot). I felt like I was all uneven walking home. I tried to explain this to my chiropractor last night, and he just looked at me like I was crazy and didn’t really address it. I think maybe I pulled something out of alignment when I was doing pigeon pose? Who knows. But my the next morning I felt fine. Maybe I just got such a deep stretch my body felt uneven because I had been living with such tight muscles for so long. I’m glad this is a “thinking out loud post”…it justifies the rambling that I just did.

3. Running lately has been mostly great. Since the marathon, I have taken it easy and there have been good days and not so good days. I try to just enjoy the good ones and stay positive when they aren’t good. Each week more of my runs have been good, so I feel like that shows progress.

brooks and pro (1)

I have also been doing more body pump classes and using the elliptical one day a week. I found that if I put it on a high resistance and high incline, and go backwards, it REALLY works my glutes. Strong glutes=a strong runner so I’ll do what I have to do.

4. I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon!

Photo

I decided to sign up last night because the price went up today. I still have a long time to figure it all out, so I’m not gonna think about it for now. I figure if I want to do another 16 week training cycle, I would start training on August 2nd.

Other than that, I still haven’t signed up for other races, but I’m starting to get the urge to do something. I am trying to wait until I REALLY want to do another race so that I don’t burn out of and get sick of running.

5. I don’t know how it rained as much as it did this week. Like, where does it all come from?! Yesterday it poured ALL day.There were flash flood warnings for about 6 hours and some roads were closed due to flooding.

IMG_2494[1] part of the harbor was flooded this morning

There was even a sinkhole in Baltimore city!

Street 3

source

6. Thank you guys for the feedback about my blog! I think my plan will be to keep everything the same but just move to self-hosted. I appreciate everyone who offered their help- I may need it! I am trying to get a sense of what I am doing before I begin the process.

7. My resistance bands keep breaking. I talked about how I am trying to work on my glute strength, and there are several exercises that I am supposed to do 5 times a day. Well I have gone through about 5 bands now and its really frustrating!

IMG_1749[1]

Does anyone know of an awesome band (the small kind that fits around your ankles) that won’t break?

8. I know I said I rarely talk about wine on this blog. Well I am about to have some tonight, so I thought I would bring it up. We have about 10 bottles of red in our apartment because that is what we have been drinking all winter. I stopped on my way home from work and picked up two bottles of white (sauvignon blanc) to keep in the fridge. Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been craving white more. So, the question is, on this warm but rainy evening, do we drink red or white?

Rob just came home and told me red, so that guess that’s what it will be!

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Thanks, Amanda, for hosting the link up!

Do you take yoga classes at a studio? Can you do crow pose, and if so, how long did it take you to learn?

What races are you doing in the next few months?

Have you ever seen a sinkhole in real life? I haven’t, but the pictures look pretty scary!

I’ll ask again- any resistance band recommendations?

Wine preference- red, white, or both? For me, its both, but when its hot out I prefer white.

My First “Thinking Out Loud” Post

I have been reading posts linked to ‘Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud” hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons but have never joined in. Since I have a bunch of random thoughts going on today, I thought it would be a great day to try it out!

1. I am trying to get back into doing more yoga- like going to real-life classes and doing more than 30 minutes at a time. I signed up for a 30 day membership at a nearby yoga studio, which means I can go as much as I want until May 29th. On Tuesday I took a 60 minute hot vinyasa class.  It felt really good to get in a deep stretch. I also noticed something amazing- my core felt way stronger than the last time I took yoga classes. (Note- I love the reflexion yoga classes that I have been doing, but they don’t challenge me as much as regular classes. And I tend to repeat the same videos, so of course its less challenging. It is really convenient, but lately I wanted something more.) So anyway, I was actually able to do crow pose!

Yoga Crow Pose

source

It was crazy- I have never been able to do it before and on the first try it just kind of happened! And then something more amazing happened. I managed to pull off this pose (side crow):

source

So maybe all this core work is actually doing something?!

2. While the class was great and I felt like there were many good things happening, I felt really weird after. (Besides feeling like I was going to die because the room was so hot). I felt like I was all uneven walking home. I tried to explain this to my chiropractor last night, and he just looked at me like I was crazy and didn’t really address it. I think maybe I pulled something out of alignment when I was doing pigeon pose? Who knows. But my the next morning I felt fine. Maybe I just got such a deep stretch my body felt uneven because I had been living with such tight muscles for so long. I’m glad this is a “thinking out loud post”…it justifies the rambling that I just did.

3. Running lately has been mostly great. Since the marathon, I have taken it easy and there have been good days and not so good days. I try to just enjoy the good ones and stay positive when they aren’t good. Each week more of my runs have been good, so I feel like that shows progress.

brooks and pro (1)

I have also been doing more body pump classes and using the elliptical one day a week. I found that if I put it on a high resistance and high incline, and go backwards, it REALLY works my glutes. Strong glutes=a strong runner so I’ll do what I have to do.

4. I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon!

Photo

I decided to sign up last night because the price went up today. I still have a long time to figure it all out, so I’m not gonna think about it for now. I figure if I want to do another 16 week training cycle, I would start training on August 2nd.

Other than that, I still haven’t signed up for other races, but I’m starting to get the urge to do something. I am trying to wait until I REALLY want to do another race so that I don’t burn out of and get sick of running.

5. I don’t know how it rained as much as it did this week. Like, where does it all come from?! Yesterday it poured ALL day.There were flash flood warnings for about 6 hours and some roads were closed due to flooding.

IMG_2494[1] part of the harbor was flooded this morning

There was even a sinkhole in Baltimore city!

Street 3

source

6. Thank you guys for the feedback about my blog! I think my plan will be to keep everything the same but just move to self-hosted. I appreciate everyone who offered their help- I may need it! I am trying to get a sense of what I am doing before I begin the process.

7. My resistance bands keep breaking. I talked about how I am trying to work on my glute strength, and there are several exercises that I am supposed to do 5 times a day. Well I have gone through about 5 bands now and its really frustrating!

IMG_1749[1]

Does anyone know of an awesome band (the small kind that fits around your ankles) that won’t break?

8. I know I said I rarely talk about wine on this blog. Well I am about to have some tonight, so I thought I would bring it up. We have about 10 bottles of red in our apartment because that is what we have been drinking all winter. I stopped on my way home from work and picked up two bottles of white (sauvignon blanc) to keep in the fridge. Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been craving white more. So, the question is, on this warm but rainy evening, do we drink red or white?

Rob just came home and told me red, so that guess that’s what it will be!

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Thanks, Amanda, for hosting the link up!

Do you take yoga classes at a studio? Can you do crow pose, and if so, how long did it take you to learn?

What races are you doing in the next few months?

Have you ever seen a sinkhole in real life? I haven’t, but the pictures look pretty scary!

I’ll ask again- any resistance band recommendations?

Wine preference- red, white, or both? For me, its both, but when its hot out I prefer white.

Raleigh Marathon Training Week 14 and Random Running Thoughts and Questions

Week of 3/23/14- 3/29/14

Sunday 3/23: Rest (started to feel knee pain)

Monday 3/24: Body Pump

Tuesday 3/25: Quick Strength for Runners Week 7 Part 1, 30 minutes Yoga

Wednesday 3/26: 60 Minutes Spin Class, CX Works (a 30 minute core class at my gym)

Thursday 3/27:  Quick Strength for Runners Week 7 Part 2

Friday 3/28: 3 miles easy (9:51 pace)

Saturday 3/29: 12 miles (8:36 pace)

Total: 15 miles

rain

rainy Saturday run

As you can see, I took 5 days off from running last week. Each day my knee felt a little better and by the time I tried running on Friday I had no pain. However, my hip/quad that was tight the day my knee started hurting was bothering my a little. It actually also bothered me after spinning on Wednesday, so I am kind of confused about it. However, it reminds me of how it felt around this time during my last marathon training cycle. What really confused me is it bothered me more during my easy 3 miles than on my harder 12 mile run the next day. I’m wondering if it has to do with my pace at all?

prerun

In fact, I felt really good on Saturday’s run. I’m sure all the time off that week helped alot. By the end my leg felt tight, but nothing that worried me too much.

postrun

I got a massage on Saturday afternoon, which felt amazing. My dad had a gift card to a spa that he got through work, and offered it to me a few weeks ago. Of course I jumped at the chance to get  a pre-marathon massage!

Over the past week as my mileage has gone down and my anxiety is going up, I have been coming up with many random thoughts and questions related to running. I figured I would share them and see if anyone else has thoughts about these topics.

Do you think that most people run better in a fall marathon or a spring marathon? I used to think that spring marathons were a better time of year for a race. However, I was thinking that by training through the summer heat, a fall marathon would feel easier. With a spring marathon you run the risk of training in the cold weather and then having a hot race day. (Or, you can’t train as you would like because of terrible winter weather, as many people have experienced this year).

What does “vertical oscillation” really mean for running form? I have been using the Garmin Forerunner 620 since November, and one of the things it tracks is vertical oscillation, which is how much up and down motion you have while running. The idea is that the less you move up and down the better you will be at conserving energy to move forward. This is the one area that apparently I am not on target with based on my watch. I have read that as your ground contact time improves that your vertical oscillation improves. As you can see below, I am on target with cadence and ground contact, but not vertical oscillation.

photo 3

photo 1

photo 2 

How do you really improve your resting heart race? I always feel like I wake up and my heart rate is already somewhat high. Even after a couple rest days I don’t see much improvement. I don’t track it with my heart rate monitor or anything, so maybe I should do that before I go assuming anything. During my runs it stays relatively low, so I’m not too worried, but its something I never quite understood.

I had many other thoughts this week, but none of them are coming to me right now! I can’t believe the marathon is in 11 days. It seemed so far away, and then it just snuck up on me! The plan from here on is to do everything I can to stay healthy and rested for race day.

I know I’m a little late, but how was your training last week?

Any thoughts on spring/fall marathons, heart rate, or vertical oscillation?

What do you do to get ready for a marathon?

Core Resources for Runners and Healthier PB Chocolate Chip Cake

Have you heard about the Core and Cake Party?! Check out The Arty Runnerchick’s website, but the idea is that she is going to be writing about core work and cake, and has invited others to join in the fun! I couldn’t resist putting together a post about the core…and I even included a “cake” recipe at the end of the post:)

What is the core?

source

The core is made up of more than just the abs. According to this website:

“The truth is that the core refers to essentially everything between the bottom of your pelvis and your ribcage, front and back. That’s right; glutes, hip flexors, transverse abdominis and the spinal musculature are all essential components to a healthy core.”

core-muscles-stability

source

I believe that the key to benefiting from core work is learning your own imbalances and how to correct them. Many runners have overworked hip flexors, because we are constantly using our hips to move forward, and most likely we are also keeping them in a flexed position while we sit all day. I touched on this a little when I talked about my weak glutes, but our core muscles are obviously all closely connected. Tight hips usually mean weak glutes. A tight back can mean weak abs. If you aren’t sure about your own imbalances, it may be a good idea to consult with a professional. There are now places that will do a gait analysis and give feedback about how to improve your running.

You can check  this website to find somewhere near you that can do this type of analysis: http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-prevention-recovery/get-a-running-injury-assessment

Core Exercises

Planks: on elbows or hands, alternate lifting feet and legs, walk feet and hands in and out, or push forward and back for an added challenge.

The Only Move You Need to Tone Your Entire Body

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Side planks are another great way to work the abdominal muscles, along with the glute medius and minimus, and and adductors

0905-poster-side-plank.jpg

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Bridges: Lift and lower hips, hold lift for 10 seconds or longer, or try straightening each leg while lifting up and down

Bridge Exercise

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Single leg squat: Any exercise that includes balance is great for the core. Squats work the glutes (along with the quads and hamstrings) and it also forces the abs to engage when balancing on one foot.

single leg squat

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Clamshells: This exercise works the glute medius, which is an abductor and external rotator of the hip. You can do this with or without a band:

clamsheel with band

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Superman: works the low back and glutes

 source

Core Routines

Runners Connect

You can download a core routine from this website

Runner’s Core DVD

There are 3 levels of the McMillan Runners Core DVD

Quick Strength for Runners

This book has total body workouts but it is mostly focused on the core

 

Websites with core information and workouts

Kinetic Revolution
Tips for injury prevention, strength workouts, mobility, and much more

Strength Running

Resources including core and strength workouts, along with options to subscribe to information

Runner’s World

Runner’s World is always coming out with new core workouts and information about core strength

Competitor- Injury Prevention

Just type “core” into the search bar and you will find lots of great core workouts

 

“Healthier” Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

After all that core work, how about some cake to balance things out? I don’t know if this is really a “cake”, but I was looking to bake and use up some old bananas, so I just kind of created this recipe. I tried to keep it a little healthier by using a banana and whole wheat flour, but my husband still approved!

 

pbcake

Ingredients:

1 medium or large ripe banana

6 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 eggs

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips

dash of salt, if desired

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cake pan or brownie pan.

Melt butter and mix with peanut butter. Add mashed banana, eggs, syrup, sugar, vanilla, salt (if adding) and baking powder. Combine using a mixer. Stir in flour, then chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes. (Baking time may vary based on pan being used)

pbcake1 Enjoy!

 

Raleigh Marathon Training Week 13…Taper Begins

Well I made it through the hardest physical part of the training…the peak weeks, high mileage, and hardest workouts. Unfortunately I can’t say “I’m feeling great and ready for this race!” but I will get to that later in the post.

Here’s how last week went:

Week of 3/16/14- 3/22/14

Sunday 3/16: 60 minutes reflexion yoga

Monday 3/17: 8 miles easy in the snow (~10:45 pace overall), Pilates for Runners DVD, PM-Body Pump

photo 1 (2)

photo 2 (2) 

Tuesday 3/18: 8.43 miles with 12x400s and 200m recovery (9:05 pace overall), PM- Quick Strength for Runners Week 6 (Part 1), 30 mins yoga

Wednesday 3/19: 8 miles easy (10:31 pace overall)

Thursday 3/20:11.25 miles with 6 x 1 mile at half marathon pace (9:09 pace overall), PM- Quick Strength for Runners Week 6 (Part 2), 2.12 miles easy (9:38 pace)

photo 5 snow on Monday, shorts on Thursday

Friday 3/21: 5.61 miles easy (10:13 pace)

photo 1

Saturday 3/22: 18.5 miles with 12 at marathon goal pace (9:03 pace overall)

photo 3

Total: 61.91 miles

Going along with these workouts I have also been doing my glute exercises every day (the ones I talked about in this post along with “level 2” versions that my chiro showed me on Wednesday) and foam rolling for about 15 minutes each evening.

photo 4 (2)New exercise bands and compression socks! 

As I was writing this post it gave me an opportunity to look back on my running this week. I noticed as I was going through it that all of my runs have become slower (I think this has been a gradual thing) over the past few weeks. I’m not pointing that out because I’m upset that I am not running faster- I’ve actually been hitting my goal paces of workout runs pretty well- but more to be aware that maybe my body is probably pretty tired from all these miles. However, I have also noticed that my average heart race is lower with these slower runs, so I don’t think that I am “overtraining” or completely burnt out.

Anyway…let me tell you the story of the past few days and why I am concerned. In general, I have been feeling good. I’ve had random tightness in my hips that I have worked on with my foam roller and gotten some ART by my chiro. My long run on Saturday went really well. At times my hip would feel a little tight but it would go away. I also noticed a little tightness in my right ankle/inside calf area. Neither of these were red flags and only bothered my for a few minutes during the entire 2 hour and 45 minute run.

When I got back from my long run I rolled and stretched, and drank chocolate milk. I took an ice bath followed by a nice warm shower, put on compression socks and compression shorts, and relaxed for the rest of the day. I foam rolled a few more times that afternoon to keep things loose.

Everything felt fine throughout the day and night on Saturday. I walked to church and dinner….and relaxed with some wine.

photo 4

On Sunday I woke up with a weird feeling in my right knee. I had slept in my compression socks and at first it almost felt like they had just dug into my leg in a weird way. I took them off but the pain continued throughout the day. By Sunday evening I was pretty concerned. The only thing keeping me from having a meltdown over this was knowing that I still have 3 weeks until the race and it is time to taper now anyway.

On Monday it felt significantly better, but not 100%. I think it’s really helped to work on rolling out muscles around the knee, like my quad, inner thigh, hamstring, and calf. I have been using KT tape to support it also and have been icing it a few times a day. For now I am sticking with strength training and core work. I don’t really want to risk aggravating it with cross training. However, if I still can’t run by later in the week I may try cycling to see how that feels and to keep up with some cardio.

I also feel a little cheated, because its not like it bothered me while I was running or I ran through pain. That is why I feel like it must be a result of something else- tight muscles either caused me to change my gait or are just pulling on my knee. I know that some time off from running can’t hurt- in fact, it may give everything else a chance to recover a bit before the race. However, if you are a runner you most likely know how I feel! The part of my brain telling me that its no big deal is battling with the part of my brain that wants to run! I’ll keep crossing my fingers that this gets better quickly and won’t impact me as I get closer to the race. Tapering is hard enough without the added stress of an injury!

Have you ever had an injury that it felt like came out of nowhere?

Do you ever feel like your pace gets slower as you get later into your training cycle?

How was your running last week?

Raleigh Marathon Training Week 13…Taper Begins

Well I made it through the hardest physical part of the training…the peak weeks, high mileage, and hardest workouts. Unfortunately I can’t say “I’m feeling great and ready for this race!” but I will get to that later in the post.

Here’s how last week went:

Week of 3/16/14- 3/22/14

Sunday 3/16: 60 minutes reflexion yoga

Monday 3/17: 8 miles easy in the snow (~10:45 pace overall), Pilates for Runners DVD, PM-Body Pump

photo 1 (2)

photo 2 (2) 

Tuesday 3/18: 8.43 miles with 12x400s and 200m recovery (9:05 pace overall), PM- Quick Strength for Runners Week 6 (Part 1), 30 mins yoga

Wednesday 3/19: 8 miles easy (10:31 pace overall)

Thursday 3/20:11.25 miles with 6 x 1 mile at half marathon pace (9:09 pace overall), PM- Quick Strength for Runners Week 6 (Part 2), 2.12 miles easy (9:38 pace)

photo 5 snow on Monday, shorts on Thursday

Friday 3/21: 5.61 miles easy (10:13 pace)

photo 1

Saturday 3/22: 18.5 miles with 12 at marathon goal pace (9:03 pace overall)

photo 3

Total: 61.91 miles

Going along with these workouts I have also been doing my glute exercises every day (the ones I talked about in this post along with “level 2” versions that my chiro showed me on Wednesday) and foam rolling for about 15 minutes each evening.

photo 4 (2)New exercise bands and compression socks! 

As I was writing this post it gave me an opportunity to look back on my running this week. I noticed as I was going through it that all of my runs have become slower (I think this has been a gradual thing) over the past few weeks. I’m not pointing that out because I’m upset that I am not running faster- I’ve actually been hitting my goal paces of workout runs pretty well- but more to be aware that maybe my body is probably pretty tired from all these miles. However, I have also noticed that my average heart race is lower with these slower runs, so I don’t think that I am “overtraining” or completely burnt out.

Anyway…let me tell you the story of the past few days and why I am concerned. In general, I have been feeling good. I’ve had random tightness in my hips that I have worked on with my foam roller and gotten some ART by my chiro. My long run on Saturday went really well. At times my hip would feel a little tight but it would go away. I also noticed a little tightness in my right ankle/inside calf area. Neither of these were red flags and only bothered my for a few minutes during the entire 2 hour and 45 minute run.

When I got back from my long run I rolled and stretched, and drank chocolate milk. I took an ice bath followed by a nice warm shower, put on compression socks and compression shorts, and relaxed for the rest of the day. I foam rolled a few more times that afternoon to keep things loose.

Everything felt fine throughout the day and night on Saturday. I walked to church and dinner….and relaxed with some wine.

photo 4

On Sunday I woke up with a weird feeling in my right knee. I had slept in my compression socks and at first it almost felt like they had just dug into my leg in a weird way. I took them off but the pain continued throughout the day. By Sunday evening I was pretty concerned. The only thing keeping me from having a meltdown over this was knowing that I still have 3 weeks until the race and it is time to taper now anyway.

On Monday it felt significantly better, but not 100%. I think it’s really helped to work on rolling out muscles around the knee, like my quad, inner thigh, hamstring, and calf. I have been using KT tape to support it also and have been icing it a few times a day. For now I am sticking with strength training and core work. I don’t really want to risk aggravating it with cross training. However, if I still can’t run by later in the week I may try cycling to see how that feels and to keep up with some cardio.

I also feel a little cheated, because its not like it bothered me while I was running or I ran through pain. That is why I feel like it must be a result of something else- tight muscles either caused me to change my gait or are just pulling on my knee. I know that some time off from running can’t hurt- in fact, it may give everything else a chance to recover a bit before the race. However, if you are a runner you most likely know how I feel! The part of my brain telling me that its no big deal is battling with the part of my brain that wants to run! I’ll keep crossing my fingers that this gets better quickly and won’t impact me as I get closer to the race. Tapering is hard enough without the added stress of an injury!

Have you ever had an injury that it felt like came out of nowhere?

Do you ever feel like your pace gets slower as you get later into your training cycle?

How was your running last week?