Let’s Talk Cross Training

I think by now, after me posting many (many!) weeks of running and workout plans, y’all can see I’m fairly good at running (provided I’m not sick or injured) but I’m absolutely awful at fitting in cross training.

hull-gym-weights

I really really want to change that, but I really struggle with the want to pick up weights after going for a long run.

I have no problem making myself run on the days where I may not exactly want to run, but for some reason I’m awful at applying that same mentality when it comes to cross training.

I’m not exactly sure what the answer is, but I do think making it easy it key for me. No fancy equipment, no crazy, “I will work out six days a week” plans.

Simple.

In. Out. Done. <– That’s what she said. Heh. 😉

So starting this week I’m using the Nike Training Club app on my phone for workouts. I’ve had this app for nearly two years and every time I use it I remember why I absolutely love it.

Some of the workouts require very little equipment, many of them ask for dumbbells (which I own), a stability ball (own one too!) or a resistance band (own that too!) so it’s pretty darn easy for me to do it in my living room.

My condo also has a full gym that I can use, so, not much room for excuses there!

I set myself up with a 4-week plan (new in the last update of the app) with the goal of “get toned”. The NTC app has three goals: get lean, get toned, or get strong and in each of those you can select beginner (me – for now!), intermediate or advanced. There are also 15 minute quick fix workouts that include abs, yoga, stretching and focused workouts.

My plan for the next four weeks is to complete my three strength workouts M/W/F and also do a 15 minute ab workout 3x/week as well. I know my core is really week and that definitely makes running a challenge, so to help with that, abs it is!

I’d like to include yoga, but I really don’t want to get too crazy with my plan here. If it works, I’ll do yoga 2-3x per week, but if not, I won’t beat myself up over it.

I also hope this will help strengthen my legs so I can stop dealing with lower leg issues.

Tell me: How do you motivate yourself to cross train?

Weekly Plan: 3/17 – 3/23 (Ultra Marathon Training Week 8)

Before we get into it, are you wearing green today? My favourite tea store is giving out free tea for anyone wearing green today, so definitely stop by for a yummy cup!!

weekly plan

*sigh*

Okay. So where to begin with this week?

I figure I’ll show how it happened and then talk about it, or something…

Exercise

Monday 7k easy Off – Another Monday off, I also had gals over for the finale of The Bachelor
Tuesday 8x600m speed Nope. Sick today, did 20 minutes on the bike
Wednesday Off Massage. It hurt and was wonderful.
Thursday 9k tempo Nope. I tried, but my ankle was still a bit tender from my massage, so I rested instead
Friday 7k easy 6km easy – I felt pretty good during this run, I really didn’t want to push it
Saturday 10k easy 6.4km easy – again I wanted to take it easy on my ankle, so I kept this run short
Sunday 16k long 4.3km – oof. This run just didn’t want to happen. I felt off the whole time.

Total planned mileage: 54km. Total actual mileage: 16.7km. Whomp whomp 😦

I find in my training I have great consistency within a week, but terribly consistency week-to-week. Take last week for example, I was wonderful in getting my runs in. Then this week I was great at not running. Lots of consistency within in the week, but not so much week to week. I was very focused on taking it easy because of my injury, but I’m also pretty bummed I wasn’t able to make my mileage for Saturday and Sunday.

Thankfully my Sunday problem wasn’t related to my ankle (well, aside from falling off my stability ball on Saturday and giving myself a massive bruise) but to my breathing. I haven’t seen my chiropractor in a long time (far too long) and I have a rib out on my right side which is causing me to keep getting cramps when I run. I’m hoping an adjustment will clear this issue up for me.

Sometimes I wonder if I second guess myself too much; if I should just stick it out and I’ll be okay. I just….don’t know. With 10 weeks until my race and nearly being halfway through my training, I know I can’t really continue dropping mileage and skipping runs, so I’m hoping my body just needed a bit of a rest this week so I can get back to it next week.

I hope.

Here’s what week 8 looks like…

Monday 7k easy
Tuesday Off – Chiropractor
Wednesday 6x800m speed
Thursday 7k easy
Friday 9k tempo
Saturday 10k easy
Sunday 16k long

Total planned mileage: 56km

I’m really really hoping I’m able to get my runs in this week. I feel like I’m needing a bit of a boost in my running confidence, especially after this past week. Right now I’m questioning signing up for this 50k. It’s something I’m certain I can do, but I also know it’s something that I need to train for.

Bestfoot This Week Link Up[4]

I’m also linking up with AmandaKrysten and Ericka for #bestfoot Monday today :)

Tell me: How do you approach setbacks in your training?

Injuries Happen

When I think about my training over the past few months, I feel very up and down about it. When my training goes well, it goes really, really well. When it goes poorly, it goes especially poorly.

For example: December. I was sick and ran all of 22km in an entire month. No joke. December was a super, duper crappy month.

January was much, much better. I was healthy (yay!) and was able to train for the Glass Slipper Challenge and I felt pretty good about my runs. (Total mileage 100km).

February was better than January, with the exception of the cold that took me down for a few days – I managed 127km in February.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because if you look at my mileage for January and February and then I tell you I ran 54km in seven days in March, it’s pretty easy to see why I have some lower leg pain. I ran more than double of my December mileage, over half of my January mileage and 43% of my February mileage in one week.

I think that’s probably the definitely of too much too soon. Whoops.

And so this week? I’ve been resting and researching.

I’ve struggled with outer lower leg pain for a quite a while. When I first experienced it, I mentioned to my old massage therapist and my chiropractor that it felt more like tendonitis than what I thought shin splints would feel like, mainly because the pain originates near my ankle bone.

After doing some research with Dr Google today, it seems it might actually be tendonitis. Peroneal Tendonitis to be exact.

So, what the heck it is?

Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include pain and swelling on the outside of the ankle just below the bony bit or lateral malleolus. Pain is often worse during activity but gets better with rest. There may be pain when pressing in on the peroneal tendons on the outside of the ankle. Pain may be recreated by stretching the peroneal muscles by inverting the foot or turning it inwards as well as attempting to do the reverse against resistance.

(source)

tendonitis

In my highly non-doctor opinion, this very much sounds like what I’m experiencing, and not actual shin splits. This can also be caused by high arches (check!) because additional pressure is put on the outer edge of the foot.

I first started experiencing this pain in yoga (weird, I know) because in wide-leg poses, I tend to put more pressure on the outer edge of my foot and not equally over the 4-corners of my foot (in yoga-speak).

Lucky for me, I have a massage therapy appointment this evening, so I’ll see what my therapist thinks and what she recommends for rehab. Having a crazy insane race scheduled in 11 weeks is a tough balance for me. I have a lot of high-mileage weeks coming up, so taking a lot of time off scares me, but so does injuring myself further, so I need to come up with a good plan of attack.

The last time I saw her I asked what her feelings were about the Graston technique (and, if you remember, I think my therapist is pretty awesome) and she’s not a fan. Her reasoning is that it’s similar to massage, but can create additional swelling and scar tissue due to the intensity of the procedure, thus increasing the risk of injury. So, while I’m intrigued by it, I think I’m going to hold off and try some other rehab techniques instead.

What rehab am I looking at?

First off, massage. I’ve used both massage and chiropractic techniques to treat the majority of my running pains and it’s always worked very well for me. My massage therapist uses both massage and cupping to treat tight areas and it’s worked very well for me.

My chiropractor uses active release and electrotherapy and is very encouraging when it comes to running and not stopping (so long as it won’t make it worse).

For at home recovery, I’m a big fan of ProCompression sleeves for recovery when at work (they hide well under pants!) and KT Tape. When my legs are quite bad, I find taping works wonders and I’ve been using KT Tape for years without issue.

photo (34)

Athletic tape is now fashionable – look at me coordinating to my shorts!!

I’m also considering purchasing a PowerPlay compression wrap. I first heard about these from Danielle and given I’m a fan of compression for healing, I think a wrap that includes both compression and icing is a great idea.

powerplay

What’s holding me back? The price tag. Since I’m still in saving mode (and I should probably write a post about this since my debt free timeline has been moved by about 3 months, and not in the good direction) I’m hesitant to pay $350 for this, but if it works, it would definitely be worth it!

I’m also, not-very-seriously-but-it’s-in-the-back-of-my-mind, considering a Compex electrotherapy device for at-home use. These guys are also pricey, so it would certainly be purchased after the wrap (possibly well after). The Compex Edge (the lowest model) is $399 and while I’m certain it would be helpful, I can also see my chiropractor eight times for the price of the Compex.

compex

I’m definitely a bit bummed that I’ve missed my scheduled Monday and Tuesday runs, but I know rest is the best way to approach this. I’m hopeful I can come up with a plan with my massage therapist this evening and maybe dial down my mileage a tad so I don’t keep injuring myself – this one was definitely all on me.

Tell me: How do you approach injury? What do you use to recovery quickly?

***

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Running Lately

Gosh, I don’t even want to know how long it’s been since I posted a running post. Probably sometime back in November?

Well, I’m happy to say that I finally (FINALLY) feel healthy (knock on wood!) and managed to run four times last week. By January 19 I had doubled my December mileage (and then some).

photo (1)

I’m pretty sure the reason I got sick back in November was stress related. The initial illness hit after a stressful day, and then I just got sicker and sicker. Thankfully the stress and the sick are gone – woo hoo!

I don’t recommend taking nearly 6 weeks off from running, or running less than a half marathon in one month, as it’s made getting back into running challenging.

I spent a lot of the six weeks doing nothing (mainly because I couldn’t breathe) which wasn’t good for my body. Over time I’ve learned my body functions best when I’m active. If I’m not active I get a ton of aches and pains which makes it even harder to get back into running – it’s definitely a catch 22.

The week of January 6 was the first week I felt well enough (ish) to start running and I was dealing with a lot of fatigue (and only making it 20 minutes on the treadmill before dying) and pain. My right IT band was extremely tight so on top of running I was rolling twice a day and making some really interesting noises 🙂

Last week I decided to change-up my shoes when running on the treadmill, as my beloved Newton Gravity’s aren’t recommended for treadmill running. Bad. Idea. The first day in my Asics was fine, I made it 10k and didn’t feel awful, the second day I made it 6.4km and felt okay, until I stopped. That’s when the shin pain set in.

Over the summer I was fitted for orthotics, but they’re for my Newton’s (as they’re a 0-drop shoe) and not my Asics, so I wasn’t able to move my orthotics over. Turns out, they really are helping with my shin pain – so I ended up resting and rolling my shin and running outside on Friday and Saturday.

Lesson learned: don’t mess with what works, even if the shoes are dang expensive!

I’ve ordered a pair of Energy NR shoes, as they’re recommended for treadmills and these will give me something to alternate with when training for the Ultra. I’m also considering a pair of either Distance Elite’s or Distance U’s to use for speedwork and middle distance racing (up to a half – I’ll stick with my Gravity’s for a marathon or an ultra for the extra cushioning).

(And, since I’m blabbering on about shoes, I’d also love a pair of the Terra Momentum’s for hiking this summer!) (Anyone want to buy me shoes? Or have a hookup at Newton?).

Given that I was off for six weeks, I’m obviously not in a place to follow my training plan, as the speedwork and long runs are pretty intense, so I’m working on building my base for this week, and starting the week of January 27, I will add in one day of speed work and one day of tempo runs for 3 weeks until I taper for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Since I’m changing up my runs from my training plan, I’ll continue to post my planned runs and actual runs in my weekly plan posts.

While I’m hoping to have some good runs in Disney, my goal is to have a good base so I can recover quickly and start training for the ultra when I return. I was feeling pretty bummed about running up until this past weekend, and I’m glad I can finally feel good about it, and not feel like signing up for an ultra was dumb <– because that’s what it felt like for a while.

And, if I’m being completely honest, I’m also struggling a bit weight-wise. I mentioned before I gained a few pounds over Christmas and to get to where I’d like to be for running, I need to lose 5-8 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of weight, but I notice a big difference in my pace and effort where I am now versus where I was when I ran SeaWheeze.

Actively trying to lose weight has always been a slippery slope for me, so I’m not exactly sure how to approach this. I seriously considered doing the AdvoCare 24 day challenge, after reading about Becky’s thoughts, but I’m fairly certain I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. I wouldn’t be doing it to help my body, I’d be doing it because I’m unhappy with my body and not because I want to feel healthy (I’m not sure if that makes sense).

I know when I start fishing for ways to fix things (cleanses, labelling foods as “off limits”) my issue is more than wanting to be healthy – it’s because I feel unhappy and shameful about my body. I’m hopeful that running regularly and eating and healthfully as I have been will help this excess weight (ha! It’s not really excess and I am still at a totally healthy weight) to find some place else to live. (My boobs would be a great place for it to move to!)

Tell me: What’s your biggest hurdle after taking a running break?

What to do when shit doesn’t go as planned

Spoiler: I don’t do well when things don’t go as planned.

Wait? That’s not a surprise?! Ha. Never mind then.

Sunday I was pumped to go be badass and run 30km as my longest training run to-date.

Well. That didn’t happen.

I mapped my run to be a double loop to mimic the double loop I’ll be running in Kelowna. I was hesitant to run Kelowna as my first full as the course always looks to be a bit of a mind-fuck (sorry mom) to be, but finally bit the bullet and decided to do it; I just decided to train for the double loop.

Back to Sunday.

I was running a 7.5km out and back. Twice.

I was even out the door before 8am. On a Sunday. How many of you were still in bed at 8am on Sunday? Yeah. That’s what I thought. Well, you can’t all be as awesome as I am 🙂

At my first turn around my left ankle started hurting. A lot. I stopped. Stretched it. Rubbed it (TWSS). Walked a bit. It still hurt. Dangit!

I decided I’d run back so I’d at least get a 15km run in (ha! it’s funny when 15km feels like a short run, what happened to me?!) and evaluate if I’d keep going or call it quits at that point.

Well, it just didn’t ease up. It continued to hurt when I walked on it, so I knew it likely needed some rest and ice, so that’s what I decided to do.

Let me tell you, that didn’t make me happy. At all.

It’s probably a good thing my running/blogging idols are Hungry Runner Girl and T-Rex Runner and they’ve both suffered from stress fractures. I’m exactly that stubborn and had I not recently been reading about their injuries, I likely would have pushed through and ran the whole 30km on Sunday.

Hey. No one ever said runners were smart. Sometimes about those endorphins mess up our thinking and we’re all “30km?! Piece of cake!” Ha! My ass.

Anyways, it’s become obvious I need to do more cross training as my ankles have always been weak and my calves are disproportionately large (but, damn, do they look good in heels! Which, I can’t wear when I’m training because I have shin problems, so you’ll just have to take my word for it) and I’m sure my feet are weak because I have high arches.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to get in the remainder of my runs for this week without any pain (and with the use of tape) and will do a 30km long run next weekend and call this week my rollback/taper week instead.

Six weeks. I sure as heck can’t afford to get injured now!

How do you deal with setbacks in your training?