So how do I stay injury free? Well, the fact is, regardless of my routine, at some point I'll get injured (and I've been injured many times). I don't mean to sound negative, I'm just assuming that eventually I'll have to take some time off due to running a lot (a.k.a. overuse).
Though I tend not to write about it, I do have a routine "to help" keep me healthy. I'm not trying to be sneaky Raina! I just find writing about preventative maintenance a bit boring. And my husband is always telling me I shouldn't tempt fate (jinx it), by writing about it. Because now that I've written about it, next week I'll probably be posting about how my legs fell off. Stupid legs...
Anyway, I was writing about preventative maintenance. It's probably easiest if I just make a list:
- I use the FRoller after nearly all my runs. I love it! My high school coach invented it, and really, it's great. The FRoller is a new toy that I bought myself before Christmas. It's a little like the stick, but you freeze it. Before the FRoller, I was rubbing my legs down with 4-6 ice cubes after almost all my runs. Using the FRoller is better. It's like a cool message. I know AM! Icing might make the muscles weaker rather than stronger, but I swear by this, and I'm not even sure if you can call this icing. It's nothing like throwing an ice pack on for 20 minutes or submerging yourself in an ice bath. My legs feel a whole better since I've started it.
- Now that it's winter time, I wear CW-X compression tights after hard runs (at night). They are expensive and ugly, but I have to say that they help. My legs always feel better in the morning. I only have one pair and I've had them for four years now, so I'd say that they're worth the cash.
- I do most of my hard running on the treadmill. Actually lately, because of the snow, I've been doing most of my running on the treadmill. I believe the treadmill is much more forgiving when running hard. It's definitely not fun. And it doesn't quite correlate to road times (I can run faster on the TM than the roads), but honestly the point is to get a good workout and run hard without getting hurt, so as long as I keep my expectations in check on race day the TM is a good option for me (not for everyone). Trails are also an excellent option (and trails with big hills make for a great workout), but not realistic for me at this stage in my mommy hood.
- I take my vitamins. Yes, I have noticed a huge difference since starting to take vitamins. Besides a typical multivitamin, I take extra vitamin C and D (I think this has helped my immune system). I am much less sick than in the past. I also take flaxseed oil and glucosamine, which is something I started doing a long time ago when my knees started bothering me, and it works. (Note: Old people take glucosamine for their joints. Yeah, that's right, I'm an old lady.) More recently I started taking a magnesium supplement. I was having weird muscle aches and being oddly irritable during my last marathon training cycle. I read somewhere that magnesium might help. I sort of think that it has helped, but to be completely honest I'm not super sure.
That's it. Nothing too fancy or crazy. I'm ashamed to admit that I do no strength training at all. I'm a huge advocate of core body work, but since Emily has been born I have been lazy. I also almost never stretch. I'm not against stretching. I've just never noticed a difference one way or the other. And Yoga makes me feel sick, so I don't do that either. Okay, that sounds crazy, and it took me a number of times of doing Yoga to realize it, but I get nauseous every single time I do it. I think I must have an inner ear issue, or something, really I don't have an explanation. I know it sounds ridiculous...
Here's a picture of my new coach trying out the FRoller. She gave it her stamp of approval, and she's one tough customer to please. (Though I feel compelled to add that she used it on her head and stomach too, so she might be a bit confused as to what it's supposed to be used for.)
Do you have any recovery or "stay healthy" rituals that help you get through a training cycle in one piece? Please share! I'd love to hear what other people do!