To A Great Day: Don’t Get Burned Out

5 miler

A completely, unashamed selfie taken after my first 5 miler today since the stress fracture!! I have been doing a ton of 3 milers and 4 milers (1’s and 2’s at the very start of course). And have been consistently running 5 days a week since the first week of December. So I haven’t been consistent for very long, but here I am! Very excited, and very happy.

With completing this feat, I have been thinking of the new year ahead. Last year, I entered 2014 still being injured and the injury lasted until mid March. The recent stress fracture was from September through mid November. Though when I wasn’t injured, I had an incredible straight 5 months of races and pure, good running!

My goal is to keep this year injury-free. With that, I am actually not concerned with the whole #15in2015 thing. If I do 15 races, great! If not, whatever! Did I stay injury-free and have a great, full year of running and races? If that answer is yes, I’ll have had one of the best years of my running career.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet for you and compile a list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind in your running, workouts, sports, etc. This list is for everyone, from beginners to the most elite athletes.

Runner Girl’s List of How to Avoid Injury/Burnout

  1. Do not overlook anything. Whether you’re an athlete in school, or an athlete post-school, you cannot overlook the smallest ticks. Especially if it seems irregular. If something seems out of the blue, or worse, you’ve experienced these symptoms previously which led to injury, then you HAVE to tend to it! Do not ignore strange pains/atypical symptoms.
  2. Tell your coach/trainer at first signs of pain. Do not wait for it to worsen because I assure you that it will. When you explain the situation immediately, then the healing process is A LOT faster. Catch it early, fix it fast, get back to running sooner.
  3. Do your exercises!!! The trainer is going to give you a lot of exercises to help; do not do only two things on the list and be done! Complete each exercise fully and completely. Basically, just listen to your trainer. Do your work. It’s good for you.
  4. Research. If you do not have a coach or trainer and do things on your own, then you have to be responsible for researching exercises. If you are a veteran athlete, chances are, you learned a lot from your school sport/track/cross country. Regardless, go to Runner’s World. That’s a great place to start, and just research the heck out of your early stages of injury.
  5. Don’t overtrain and do progress slowly. Research states to increase your mileage by steady 10% increments each week when building your weekly mileage. Don’t jump from 15 miles per week to 30 the next. The body isn’t ready to make that jump.
  6. Mix it up. Want to keep running but don’t want to ONLY run? Or do you just want to stay active and have no idea how to not get bored? Well there’s Insanity, P90X, yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling, outdoor adventure biking, hiking, HIIT, aerobics classes, dancing classes, basketball at local gyms (YMCA offers a very wide range of activities)….there’s so much out there. Keep testing out new things and bring friends!
  7. Do local races/themed races. Chances are, you’ve heard of glow runs, color runs, Tough Mudder. These can be a lot of fun to do and are exciting to anticipate!! Again, if you need friends, call them up! Do it as a group! I promise, it’ll be one of the most fun and rewarding things you’ll do. If you’re a solo runner like me, keep looking for local races and again, test your abilities. Step up and do 10Ks, half marathons, though don’t over-commit yourself.
  8. Since that last thought is important, Don’t over-commit yourself. Be practical with your schedule, and ask yourself “Will I be tired every day if I try to train for a marathon right now? Work has been crazy, the kids still need a lot of my time…maybe I can just do a 5k or two right now.” There are tons of other ways to stay active than setting aside hours to run and train for a marathon.
  9. Eat right!!!! Ahhh. Can’t stress this enough. You will hurt yourself or get burned out if you’re eating crap and trying to run. Please visit this site for superfoods that are amazing for runners! http://www.runnersworld.com/photos/41-superfoods-how-they-can-help-your-running   Try incorporating some into your everyday diet. Nutrition is a huge topic, so I’ll have to talk more in separate posts or this bullet point would get obnoxious.
  10. Good ole dynamic stretches. Alright, and lastly, before EACH run, do some dynamics!! Don’t just go out cold! Do some calf raises, butt kicks, high knees, lunges, walking quad stretch; there’s a ton of them. Look into it if you aren’t too familiar 🙂

I hope this list helps you in your training! There’s a lot to running. That’s why there’s a million magazines and books and coaches dedicated to talking about it and helping everyone else 🙂 And there’s me too, who will hopefully have a book and be a coach someday 🙂

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful Saturday! xoxo

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Late Nights Can Lead to Truth

Remember when we were little and would stay up until 5 am just so we could say we stayed up that late and to talk to our best friends about everything? We didn’t have work to get to, finals to cram for, bills to stress about, or obligations to think of.

We just had the whooollleee night. The whole long night with our best friends at a sleepover.

What I would give to have that again for just one night.

And if we are being wholly honest with ourselves, the best conversations come out after midnight, right? Or at least the truth does.

The truth came out some for me last night before I went to bed, though I’ll have to chew on it some more until I come to a full consensus. By the way, that phrase is cliched, but it is impeccable. “Chewing over/on something” really is the best way to say it. Because when we chew, we savor each different flavor of the food, feel the texture, sense if it’s spicy or bland, know if it’s salty or sweet– a lot goes on in that process. During the “thought chewing” process, I realized that a number of things need to happen.

  1. I need to pray. There’s so much swimming in my head right now, it’s crazy. I am certain you have all felt this on several occasions. Whenever I have become overwhelmed and up to my neck in thoughts, ideas, plans, obligations, worries…I pray. I pray hard, for extended periods of time, hoping I’ll hear something. Hoping I’ll know exactly what to do next.
  2. And listen. Being an active listener during prayer is tough. Being silent in everyday life is tough.
  3. And write some more. Writing helps organize the thoughts and mind. I have a lot of journaling to catch up on, and a lot of thoughts bouncing off of each other like pinball.

It’s a lot like meditating. All of these things occur only in silence. They do not involve other people. They merely involve God, the mind, and maybe pen and paper.

I am not sure what your debriefing, solitude, writing time looks like, but I hope that you all take the time to enjoy some this weekend. Because I look back now and see that we all did find out the truth in our youth and did a lot of active thinking…with each other at sleepovers talking for hours. Even then we needed the time to sort things out, make sense of everything we’ve been experiencing.

However, not just tonight do I need to pray and reflect, I have to make sure I’m making time for this every day. I typically do, but not for as long as I’d like. Even when I don’t feel like doing it after a long day, I need to remind myself that that’s when I need it most! I’ve had a long day; I should take time to digest it! Not for an hour, just ten minutes. I think I can always promise ten minutes of my day. And soon, this time will feel really, quite pleasant and soothing. It’ll be like having my massage at the end of the day, releasing all the knots and stress I’ve been carrying on my back 🙂

I hope you all do take some time out for yourselves and have some reflection. It certainly is cold enough to do so! And I hope you all have a lovely night tonight! Stay warm! xoxo