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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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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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