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Posts Tagged ‘Running’

Running Tip #4: Walk it Off

*** I’m at the beach for a while, so I’m autopublishing some running tips that I’ve gleaned from my years of competitive running. Enjoy!***

It’s easy to feel that if a run is really going to “count” you have to run non-stop. Real runners run, right? Wrong! Jeff Galloway, an Olympic long distance runner, has been advocating incorporating walking breaks into running workouts for years. Galloway argues that by taking regular walking breaks during runs and by running fewer times per week, runners can stay injury-free and enjoy a long, healthy running career.

I must admit that until this year I was skeptical of Galloway’s claims. I have spent the past few years trying to go from running 10 miles a week back up to the 30 or 40 I used to do in high school. I always manage to get up to 30, but then immediately find myself having IT band (hip and knee) issues. This year I finally decided to try Galloway’s method. As I upped my runs from 2 to 3 to 5, 6, and 7 miles, I let myself alternate running with walking whenever I felt tired. Some runs I would even run 1 minute, walk 1 minute, and so on, for miles. I also stopped trying to run 5 days per week; now I only run 3. And guess what? I’m running pain free for the first time in recent memory. I’m pretty sure that foam rolling and running on soft surfaces are also huge factors in this breakthrough.

So in short, don’t be ashamed to incorporate walking breaks into your runs! It could be exactly what you need to keep you injury-free and happy.
I hope you enjoyed this tip! I should be back to food blogging in just a few days. I can’t wait!

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Running Tip #3: Playtime!

*** I’m at the beach for awhile, so I’m auto-publishing some running tips that I’ve gleaned from my years of competitive running. I hope you enjoy them!***

Even those of us who deeply love running can find it boring sometimes. It can be easy to fall into a rut, just cranking out miles in a bid to stay in shape. When I find myself getting bored and tempted to skip workouts, I incorporate some speedwork or hillwork so that I have something to focus on other than grinding out miles. I like to freestyle these workouts, throwing in a fast 200 meters here, a race-paced mile there, with a few hill sprints on the side. Making up my workout as I go along helps to free me from expectations about how I should be performing on a given day and keeps my mind occupied since I want to remember how many repeats/hills I did.
Another great way to break out of a rut is to invite some friends along to play with you. At my un-PC high school, we used to do weekly “Indian runs” (a better term for them is “fartleks“) that were very much like elementary school playground games. After doing a short jog to warm up, five or six of us would run in a single file line. The person at the end of the line would have to sprint to overtake the leader and would then become the leader. Then the new end person would sprint and become the new leader, and on and on throughout the run. The more people you can get to play this game, the longer your recovery periods are (and vice versa).
So in short, if you find yourself in a rut, give yourself permission to play games, whether they’re solo or with some friends.
I hope you enjoyed this tip! I’ll be back soon with some more eats. 🙂

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*** I’m at the beach for awhile, so I’m auto-publishing running tips while I’m away. I hope you enjoy the knowledge I’ve gleaned from my years of competitive running!***

Do you ever have trouble finishing tough workouts? Do you find yourself straining and tightening your muscles as you try to make it to the end of an interval? This is a common response to difficult workouts. You know that you’re working hard and pushing yourself, and it’s easy to unconsciously tighten up and strain muscles as you try to push yourself to your limit.

So how can you make sure that your form stays efficient and that you don’t strain any muscles? Relax your jaw. This may sound odd, but if you make a conscious effort to unclench your jaw, letting it bounce with each footfall, you’ll find that your neck, shoulders, back, and legs will follow. It seems counterintuitive, but a relaxed body is capable of working harder/moving faster than a clenched, tightened body. So the next time you’re struggling through a difficult workout, free your jaw and your body will follow. This little trick helps me maintain good form and finish strong when I do interval workouts.

I hope you enjoyed this tip!

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***I’m at the beach for a while, so I’ll be posting running tips every other day or so while I’m away. Here’s hoping that auto-publishing works!***

Female runners often have knee problems, partly due to having wider hips than men. There’s a large tendon that runs from our hips to our knees called the iliotibial band (IT band for short), so hip placement has a surprising effect on knee movement. Even if your hips are Kate-Moss-sized, they still curve out more than a man’s, so it’s important to be kind to your knees. Here are some important ways to keep them in good shape.

1) Run uphill. A few studies have shown that runners with minor knee injuries do not injure themselves further if they continue running on inclines only. So if you have some nagging knee pain, jack up the incline on the treadmill or find a hilly route and have at it. Skip the downhills though – these stress out your knees something fierce (if you’ve ever climbed down a mountain, you’ll know what I’m talking about). You also need to know when to quit – if you’re seriously injured, even uphill runs won’t save you! Cross training can be incredibly effective at keeping you in shape.

2) Run on soft surfaces. This can be difficult if you live in the city, but seek out bikepaths and lawns and golf courses wherever you can. The difference a soft surface makes is unbelievable! I have to run on some pavement to get to the nearest soft surface, and my knees always hurt when I’m on the pavement and then stop hurting when I get to the dirt.

3) Roll, roll, roll! Foam rolling does wonders for loosening up tight tendons. I’ve found that regular foam rolling keeps my IT band/hips loose and, consequently, my knees pain-free.

4) Stretch! Remember that everything is connected – your muscles are linked by tendons and ligaments, and they help each other keep you balanced. If one muscle group is out of whack, the others will follow. You want to keep everybody limber and healthy. You can do this through yoga, foam rolling, or just plain old gym class stretches.

That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed this tip!

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I had an awesome workout this morning. My goal was to absolutely tire myself out so that I can sleep on the plane tonight. I ran 5 miles, did 15 minutes on the elliptical, and did weights. Mission accomplished!

1st hit when I googled "gym rat"

1st hit when I googled "gym rat"

I thought that the gym opened half an hour earlier than it did, so I had to do my run outside instead of on the treadmill. Though I vastly prefer running outside, I’ve been trying to stick to the treadmill for a while to make sure that my knee stays injury-free. There’s just too much pavement and not enough soft stuff around here. There are a few trails, but they happen to run right alongside major roads. The soft ground might do my knees some good, but the car exhaust doesn’t do my lungs any favors. I spent most of my run fuming about the fact that had we’ve invested so much money in car-friendly infrastructures rather than mass transit.

Eats today included a pb banana before my workout, a chummus (so dubbed by T – cheese + hummus) sandwich after my workout, granola and CANDIED KUMQUATS that T randomly whipped up while I was in the shower (he is amazing, folks), and veggie pad thai with tofu for dinner.

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Now I’ve got to finish packing!!! See you in two weeks!!

Q of the day: What does your dream city look like? Obviously mine would include green space, well-run public transportation, and would ban cars. Also there would be lots of fresh, local food available, plus chocolate. 🙂

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Lots of doings around the Morgendorffer/Lane household today. After a full day of work and a nice long workout, I came home to find T cooking up a storm. Seriously, he’s putting me to shame lately. We marinated some of our London broil cuts in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, tons and tons of garlic, a little sriracha (yes!), sugar, and scallions overnight:

Free range meat is so much redder than mass-produced meat!

Free range meat is so much redder than mass-produced meat!

T pan-fried it up and we wrapped pieces in the last of our big, beautiful lettuce leaves.

No pics with the lettuce - I'm still getting the hang of this food blogging thing!

No pics with the lettuce - I'm still getting the hang of this food blogging thing!

We also fried up our turnips and their greens in the leftover marinade in the pan and served them over rice:

T still insists that he doesn't like brown rice, so white it is

T still insists that he doesn't like brown rice, so white it is

Fabulous!

And now I’d like to take a moment to show some love for my newly purchased Perform Better Elite Molded Foam Roller. I did a few 5 mile runs after many weeks of maxing out at 3, and of course I started to have knee pain. I was envisioning weeks of stupid cross training that I hate until I remembered that when I had IT band problems in the past foam rollers helped immensely. So I ordered one on Amazon and this beauty arrived a few days later:

Can you tell that all of my books are double-stacked? I own a lot of books...

It has worked like a charm and I am so happy! Knee pain is gone and I’ve been happily trotting out on 5 milers every other day. Here’s how it works: you lay it down on the ground, like so:

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Then you position whatever part of your body ails you over the roller and you roll back and forth. Since my IT bands are my problem areas, I lie on my side and roll over and over until I can’t stand it anymore (yeah, it hurts, bad – it’s basically like getting a deep tissue massage on a sore muscle). Then you go out on your runs and grin like an idiot the whole time because your knee doesn’t hurt any longer.

Ode to My Foam Roller

Foam Roller, my sweet, without you I’d be

more lost than those people on that TV

show. Now I run pain-free. And even though

you make me wimper in great pain I trow

that you are my savior true, and for that

I owe a debt greater than Goldman Sachs.

Ok, ok, “that” and “Sachs” don’t really rhyme, but this heroic couplet stuff is hard! 😉

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