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Running tips to avoid injury – don’t be stupid

Running tips to avoid injury – don’t be stupid

So today was pretty significant. Why? Well, I officially hit my goal of running 1,000 miles for 2016. I’m excited. Stoked. Proud. Teary-eyed. Although something even more important to note, I am still INJURY-FREE. I didn’t start off the year too well. I fucked up my hamstring tendon in ways that will make you scream in pain even when I sat down for an extended period of time. After months of physical therapy and finally listening to my body so I could heal properly, I did. I got back on that saddle (slowly) and got back to my normal running pace. It took more patience than I thought I had in me, but I did it and I have sworn that I would never let myself be in that position again. Now I can say that I’ve hit my 2016 fitness goal.

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Here are some tips that I’ve followed to help keep my body healthy and injury-free. Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor and these tips are just things that have helped me.

  1. Don’t run every single day. I’ve found that if I pack on the miles every single day without rest or a cross training day, that’s a fast recipe to getting fucked up (queue IT band issues, tightness in my hamstring tendon). As a fellow runner, yes I can see you rolling your eyes from here. Just promise to fit in some non-running days here and there. Your legs will thank you.
  2. Add strength training to your routine. Doing this will not only help prevent injuries, but it will really amp up your speed. It certainly helped me shave off minutes per mile, especially when I was recovering from my injury and was working my way up to my normal speed again. Also, workout your muscles evenly. Don’t just focus on one muscle group.
  3. Rest. No, I don’t mean resting bitch face like the one you’re giving right now reading this. I mean really letting yourself recover, especially if you feel like something is off. Believe it or not, rest days are just as important as the days you kick your ass at the gym.
  4. Stretch. I’ve known some runners to not stretch at all and they swear that they’re fine…yeah well I said the same thing until I fucked up my hamstring. Just give it some time. Now that I’m more prone to injuring that tendon again, that does require me to do more stretching than others. Slacking off in this area is absolutely nonnegotiable whether you’re still healing or fully recovered from an injury. My physical therapist gave me a set of dynamic stretches to do before I run. Check them out here.
  5. Listen to your body. When your stuck seeing your physical therapist for at least an hour, you tend to engage in a lot of conversation. One thing she mentioned was that if more runners just listened to their bodies more, she’d probably be out of a job. Why? Because runners tend to literally run themselves into the ground until they really injure themselves and get stuck going to PT. The key is to fix what might be wrong before a major problem occurs. Feel some tightness during a run? Stomach upset? Slow down a little! Or really, just stop running altogether. Pay attention to your form, breathing, and make sure you’re hydrated.

Sure as a runner, you just want to get up and go for a run, but if you want to stay healthy and keep up with training then you need to run smart. By learning to run smart, I was able to still log 1,000 miles for this year. Had I ignored my doctor, skipped PT sessions, and didn’t take their advice to heart, my running shoes would be collecting dust in the closet right now. Instead, I get to wake up, STRETCH, run, STRETCH AGAIN, and then enjoy taking post-run selfies. 😀

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(This is my it’s really cold out, and my face is still thawing out face.)

And really these tips can benefit a runner at any age. I’m a 20-something and no, stretching doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger. Again, don’t be dumb. Listen to your body, and run happy!

Cheers!

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Give Thanks

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving. I can’t believe the holiday season is officially here! Can you believe it?! I have so much to be thankful for..my friends, family, hubby, my health etc…this Thanksgiving I was especially mindful of everything I hold dear in my life. Forget the Black Friday deals and the buy 2 for 1 crap, I’m talking about the stuff that doesn’t come with a price tag. I.e. the calls you get from your parents to see how things are going, sitting down at the dinner table with family you haven’t seen in a little while, making memories with family and friends and holding onto those things for as long as possible. Last week, I lost my baby Apollo. He was pretty much even more popular than I ever was on any kind of social media platform. He was full of attitude as he was fluffy…I still can’t believe he’s gone. It was so sudden. One day he was fine, and then once we got a hint that something might be wrong, the vet told us that his liver was failing and that it was likely cancer. We had the most difficult decision to make…and that was to put him down. He was in pain and with tests, meds, feeding tubes…he might have been able to live another week. I know he would have hated living like that. It was a decision I didn’t even expect to make years upon years from now. He was still so young. Anyone who’s had or has a furbaby knows that they become part of the family pretty fast. They’re there for you through everything and just keep on loving unconditionally. I miss him so much. I don’t know what’s worse, losing him suddenly or having more time with the same outcome.

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So in light of losing one of our beloved furbabies, Thanksgiving was a day where I really had to take some time out and count my blessings. You never know when someone/something really throws a wrench into your life and you lose something or someone so close to your heart. On Thanksgiving, I had the whole morning to think about everything I was thankful for and did just that during my long run. (In anticipation of the meal that was ahead of me, I threw in some extra miles for good measure). Lucky for me, it wasn’t too windy and the weather was quite nice. By the time I got back, full of sweat, and out of breath, it was time to hydrate and relax while watching the Macy’s Day parade (tradition). Luigi has been kicking it into high gear and making sure he’s been extra snuggly since we lost our Apollo. They were best buds, so it’s been hard for him too I’m sure. But really, how can one NOT laugh at how silly he is? He wins. My heart might be feeling heavy, but it sure is full.

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Running and/or a hardcore gym sesh isn’t just about fitness, sometimes it’s about what it does for your head. It clears it up and kicks those negative thoughts to the curb. I’m a huge advocate of how running is cheaper than therapy. Sad? Go for a run. Frustrated about how a day went at work? Go for a run. Can’t figure out how to solve a problem? Go for a run. Ruined your favorite shirt in the wash? Run fast. Some of my best ideas have come from just sweating it out. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and had the chance to spend some time with their loved ones over some delicious turkey, stuffing, one too many dinner rolls and of course some pumpkin pie. I heard somewhere that the average person eats  over 4,200 calories on Thanksgiving…just some food for thought, not the stomach. Spread the love and make memories.

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Get Healthy, Stay Healthy!

Get Healthy, Stay Healthy!

You know on some days you would think spring is here in Chicagoland, but then you get a week like this one and you’re back running in cold gear! Last week I ran my very first race since I injured my hamstring tendon. To say that this was a HUGE milestone would be an understatement. Up until race day I was hobbling home in pain after just 3 miles. This race was 6.5 miles and while I of course had to compromise my pace a little, I ROCKED it. I was so happy. The only thing that was a little sad was the size of the medal. Bahaha. Hey, runners love their bling.

I was so happy to share the moment with my fave running buddy.

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The day after was an even better reason to celebrate since I didn’t have any post-race pain, just the nice sore feeling of burning so many cals. That being said, half marathon training needs to be kicked into high gear now that it’s April and my first half of the running season is May 22nd. Eep! Balancing training and the new job is definitely proving to be a challenge, but while my workouts have been a little inconsistent, my diet and hydration needs to be on point. Also, the best part about my new gig is that instead of taking the elevator, I take the stairs. Did you know just 10 minutes of walking up stairs can burn around 100 calories for someone who weighs about 160lbs? 10 MINUTES. Even better, my building has its own gym on the first floor.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked when you have such a huge life change like getting a new job, but I’m slowly getting back on track. Some ways I’m making sure my training won’t suffer AND so I won’t injure myself again:

  • Keeping my huge water bottle at my desk and keeping it by my side as I go from meeting to meeting. Staying hydrated while race training is a must!
  • Don’t over train. Just because a day was missed, don’t double up the next day and tear up those muscles beyond repair. Train smarter, not harder.
  • Like I said, take the stairs when you can. If you’re only going up two or three floors…TAKE THE STAIRS. It’s a mini workout that really pays off if you think about going up and down those stairs at least twice a day.
  • Cut small corners when you know you have a really busy day. I.e. take the stairs, skip the dessert for some fruit and get up and walk around during your break. Don’t obsess over every calorie (that’s silly) but these little changes will amount to a big one!
  • STRETCH. After going through so much physical therapy for my hamstring tendon, I’ll definitely never skip another pre-workout or post-workout stretch. Not stretching will definitely bust up my training plan if I don’t stretch properly when I do cardio. Again, train smart!

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Nutrition really is key and I always have an emergency/quick snack on me so I don’t have to go for something that will throw me off track. Some dry roasted almonds or Greek yogurt are my go-tos. I’m constantly out and about so the ability to just throw a healthy snack in my bag and go is a must. I’m teaming up with Chobani in their mission to promote healthy living! In celebration of Chobani’s Simply 100 Crunch line, they’re encouraging everyone to “crunch the numbers” by dedicating themselves to living a healthier life. Here are some great ways to burn 100 calories even during the work day! (Graphic courtesy of Chobani).

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How am I going to stay healthy so I don’t land myself back into physical therapy? I’ll have to keep reminding myself that I just won’t be able to PR for quite some time or else I’ll be back at square one again with my injury. Just try and tell a runner to slow down her normal pace…it’s not easy, but it must be done! The exciting thing is that there are running trails around my new office building and my coworkers are ALSO fellow runners. Although I’m still too busy to leave the office to go for a run in the middle of the day, it’s still an option! I just can’t wait until the warm weather is here to stay so I can…..

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How are you committing to staying fit and healthy? Join the challenge!

Cheers!!

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Fat to Fit: More Gym & Less Tonic

Fat to Fit: More Gym & Less Tonic

So I was reading Kathy’s awesome sauce blog of course at More Coffee, Less Talky, and was inspired to finally do a little update post….you know since this is more of a fitness/lifestyle blog even though a snap of my wine addiction or indulging in too many carbs may sneak in here and there.

I was going through my photos and BOOM exactly from almost one year ago today…I saw a photo that I just could NOT unsee. Now I started a healthier lifestyle back in college as some of you have known and got more into fitness bla bla bla. HOWEVER what I failed to notice after getting married….was that I let some of that weight creep back on. Okay not some, like A LOT. Seeing that was my “oh fuck no” moment. My “no more excuses” moment. My “bitch stop saying this is your cheat day when EVERYDAY has been a cheat day,” moment.

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See that there? That in my hand is some G&T…since then…I incorporated A LOT more GYM and a lot less tonic. See what I did there? Eh??

This is another gem that I found last year a couple of months earlier. HELLO holiday weight gain. You found me….and my gut.

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Now this might seem like a whole lot of bodyshaming, BUT when you’ve worked so hard only to go back to a very unhealthy version of yourself, some harsh reality needs to settle in. It’s a great reminder that it’s so easy to fall back into bad habits and correcting them is the key!

SO since then I jumped back on the wagon and stomped on the last Christmas cookie before my mouth could find it. Fitness is about 80% what you put in your body, folks. Hate to say it.  Ever since then, I’ve made smaller and healthier choices, limited eating out and due to running so much I just naturally ended up drinking more water and avoided alcohol to avoid getting dehydrated during my morning runs. So this happened.

Excuses are so easy too. Believe me, I’ve come up with most of them. “I’m tired. I worked all day. I’m too tired to cook. I’ll kill it at the gym tomorrow. Just one slice of pizza won’t hurt. Just one more glass of wine.”

The excuses slowly came to a stop, I’ve been focused on my goals…and well now this is a body I can be proud of. It’s a work in progress and I’m headed in the right direction.

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I’m proud of it because it says that I’m starting to treat it right, rather than like a trash can. I’ve been up every single morning despite my hamstring injury and working around it. No excuses. No shakes. No special pill. No special diet. No crazy cleanse. Just real food and some hard work at the gym.

Some easy changes I made:

  • Stop eating out (like stop it completely…controlling what is in your food is the most important thing to do) Plus it saves money!
  • Stop rewarding yourself with food…because really, are you a dog? Nope. If you hit a fitness goal, reward yourself with a mani/pedi, a new outfit, etc.
  • Eat on a smaller plate. It tricks the eye into thinking you grabbed more, when really, it’s less.
  • Keep your healthy lifestyle in full gear by staying focused on it every single day. Read a health article in the morning, don’t skip your scheduled workout, get a workout buddy that has similar goals.
  • Accept the fact that not everyday will be perfect. Some days you might slip up, you might not workout as hard as you wanted, but HEY there’s always tomorrow and you got this. It doesn’t mean you failed.
  • Sticking with raw foods is always a safe bet. When grocery shopping avoid the center aisles like the plague…or say…the Kardashians.

Oh and do it for the #@%^ shit you got hot. HA.

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Cheers!

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Friday Favorites: Morning Grind

Friday Favorites: Morning Grind

No, not like Miley Cyrus type of getting your grind on, but more like getting your workout done before half of the world wakes up. THAT kind of grind. Ever since I started to amp up my fitness game when I was in college, I had no choice but to workout at night after work/class/internship whatever I had going on during the week. HOWEVER now…that is changing. This week I decided that I’ve had enough of working out after work because you know what happens? Excuses happen. “It’s been a long day, I have to meet up with this person, I have to work on this, I have to work on that” you get the idea. But you know what doesn’t happen at 4:30 a.m. each morning? All of those excuses. Because what the hell needs to be happening at 4:30 a.m. other than kicking my ass out of bed to get my fitness on? So this week I switched to this new morning routine and even though the getting up process is a little hard, once I’m at the gym…I’m LOVING it. My running/cross training game is totally going to reach peak levels. I can feel it. My hubs on the other hand thinks I’m 50 shades of cray, but I’m never turning back.

I was all, “Why in the HELL have I waited so long to do this?!”You like my Blue Steel look guys?

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You might be wondering why I’m making such a huge deal about this. Well it’s not just because of the obvious reason of reaching fitness goals, but it just starts the day off in the best possible way. (Minus being a sweaty mess..make sure to shower)

I’ve read some pretty interesting articles/studies regarding the most successful people and everything they do even before they bite into a piece of toast that morning and exercising is one of them. Why? Well here are some benefits you can take away while counting those early morning reps instead of counting little sheep in bed.

  • Helps reduce stress throughout the day
  • Improves your sleep
  • Lower blood pressure throughout the day (therefore improving sleep)
  • Better sleep is believed to result in less stress…less stress may also positively affect your weight (helllooo stress eating anyone?)
  • I personally felt more alert throughout the day and didn’t even need that second or even first cup of coffee. Had my protein shake and I was out the door and going to work!

According to Business Insider, In a poll of 20 executives cited by Vanderkam, 90% said they wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, for example, wakes at 4 a.m. and is in the office no later than 7 a.m. Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger gets up at 4:30 to read, and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is up at 5:30 to jog. So about those bananas?

If you’re not a morning person, don’t fret, it’s not everyone’s thing, it’s just worked wonders for me and if you’re into the idea of switching over to morning workouts too, I suggest trying it! As I always say, there’s never really a time where I regretted working out and I felt really shitty afterward. It’s a mood booster!

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Linking up with Amanda today!
Cheers!

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