Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I have a confession...

It's not always rainbows and lollipops over here at experimental running. Don't get me wrong, life is good, but I am fairly certain that I am constantly on the hairy edge of becoming injured at any given time. At first, I thought this was a reminder that I'm not a natural. And I'm definitely not a natural, but the really really talented runners are also always on the hairy edge of becoming injured. Over the summer, I read an article on the Americans running the Marathon in the Olympics, and at the time, nearly all of them had some type of injury concerns. That's when it really hit me that nothing makes you immune to injury, and getting faster means higher risk of getting hurt.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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!


Raina said...

See..this proves that you really ARE sneaky. But even sneaky people have to unload their guilty secrets to someone!

So this is an ingenious invention. I can see one getting lots of use in my home. I actually don't mind the ice bath that bad, but this might cut the waiting for the tub to fill considerably.

Your coach is incredible too! Best part? You can pay her in cheerios!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

This made me laugh! When I posted about the kinesiotape I though, oh, now my knee pain will surely return! Ha! It didn't:)
You and I think alike. In order to get to a different level in running, you need to take risks. Injuries are part of the game, and there is a lot of luck involved, and also knowing yourself and your body. You are doing awesome!

Katie said...

Raina and AM, you didn't share your recovery secrets! Seriously, I want to know what my super fast friends do after really hard workouts and long runs!

Raina: It is so much faster than an ice bath! And I also get to pay my new coach in hugs and snuggles. It's win-win!

AM: I really have no idea how the KT tape works, but I have found it useful for both IT band and Achilles issues in the past. I think if something was seriously wrong the tape wouldn't help...

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

Honestly, I have no secrets. For me, I like to do a couple of runs on trails (or snow) and go super easy. I find that a super easy 4 miler is better than a full rest day for me. I use compression socks all the time. I have 2 pairs of black CEP compression socks that I wear at work. I wear compression socks during all my runs as well. I have compression tights (the ugly CW-X and the better looking 2XU) that I wear sometimes. I try to get a lot of sleep but lately I have been enjoying staying up late. I eat pretty healthy. When I work from home, I always have my feet up. So excited to see your run today! My jaw drops every time I check your DM:)

Alicia said...

I think your idea about wearing the compression tights after hard runs is an interesting idea--I will be stealing it:) I think my best injury prevention plan has been getting monthly massages from a woman who is really knowledgeable on sports massage. It keeps my IT bands, glutes, and hip flexors relatively loose, and I haven't had any ITB problems since I started doing that (whereas I used to have bad ITB issues).

Raina said...

That's just it, Katie. I never work out hard. That way I never have to do anything special!

Only kidding..sort of. I think you are working way harder than I am though - or it seems that way today :)
I do the icebath. after say 20 miles, if I feel the need and if I have the ice handy. And if I have a niggle, that gets special attention all day long with ice packs. I foam roll and really really believe in good deep massage therapy from an LMT.

Tia said...

Ooooh. I liked reading this- and the other comments! Funny to see you write that you run faster on TM's than on road. I feel like I am close but road or track usually wins. Your speedy TM runs have definitely motivated me to push myself a little harder on them. I still can't believe that speedy TM 5K you did!

As far as what I do- I take several vitamins (including glucose Chondroiton, etc). I like to ice bath after tempo runs, races and long runs. I like to wear compression socks during winter months on all outside runs and I like to wear them during the day after hard runs or long runs as well. (I have 3 pairs I rotate around because I use them so much.)

I am not the healthiest eater in the world but I do drink a lot of water throughout the day and have at least 1-2 bananas a day. One is usually in my recovery protein smoothie. I make myself one of these after almost every run.

I stretch and use a regular foam roller but not as often as I should.

In general, I am not a huge fan of minimal shoes. I wear the Brooks Cadence which is a more supportive minimal shoe but I save it for speed/ tempo and race days. For easy runs and long runs I wear regular trainers. (This has included: Brooks Trance, Adrenaline, Asics gel nimbus). I know many runners swear by minimal shoes and maybe I'm just paranoid (and old fashioned) but I want the support and cushion.

Katie said...

Alicia and Raina, I think the FRoller replaces the deep tissue message. I wouldn't mind getting a message from time to time, but I always feel so uncomfortable with strangers touching me, and it's a bit expensive.

Tia, that's interesting about the shoes. I tend to wear minimal shoes. Kinvaras are my favorite. But I also completely understand how that wouldn't work for everyone. I have no interest in the Vibrams or barefoot running, so I'm not too extreme. ;)

Katie said...

Oh and AM, I can't believe I forgot to mention sleep! I think that is huge to recovery and staying healthy!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

my recovery involves many things.

As I move closer to my goal race, like the last 2 months, I do many things "right."

my nutrition is at it's BEST - meaning veggies & fruits, healthy proteins & fats. I take a multi-vitamin, Calcium & D, fish oil.

I very rarely have alcohol - not sure if this is good or bad, I just don't like any of it, except, sweet, mixed drinks & those are way too caloric for me. I would rather eat my calories.

I do recovery drinks after long or hard workouts which is usually a whey protein, spinach, banana, berries, carrots, tumeric, cinnamon, coconut water (sometimes avocado) smoothie. the ingredients vary based on what I have on hand.

I go to, a minimum of, 1 yoga class per wk most wks, throughout the year. If I miss 2 wks, I start to feel issues creeping in, issues that I NEVER feel when going to yoga, even with only 1 yoga class per wk. I do some home yoga, but I'm not as diligent with it.

I ice after most runs of 16 & up and some of my longer track workouts (10 X 800, etc.) helps me to recover SO much better.

I wear compression socks after long runs. I can't say for sure if they help, but they feel good, so I wear them.

I always get a lot of sleep and drink a lot of water. I also drink green tea.

Not for recovery, but I do strength workouts (weights, body weight, or plyometric workouts) to prevent injuries.

thankfully, I'm 44 & have never had an injury that sidelined me. (2010, I had a hip nag, after a slip and fall, and that's it) so for me, all of the effort pays off. in addition, I believe I'm blessed with good genes. (running 40-75 miles most wks, & pushing to my limits in training - 2-3 hard workouts per wk + cross training)

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

I'm a "cushioned-shoe" girl too. although it's getting hard to find the right ones now, with all of the minimalist rage.

Michelle said...

Injuries are inevitable aren't they? I was injury free my last 2 cycles, which lulled me into thinking I was invincible. Now this cycle I have been struggling with shin splints since week 2. Go figure.

I have a foam roller which I try and use regularly (but don't) I have been working with a trainer the last 6 month on strength and core which I hope will help. I now wear CEP compression socks for every run. In the warmer months I try and spend a lot of time on the trails, which really does help a lot. My trainer keeps telling me to go get a massage, but it wigs me out to have a stranger rubbing all over me. It also gets my restless leg syndrome going and I nearly jump off the table.

Katie said...

Michelle, with all the illness you've been dealing with I can't believe you've had the headache of shin splints too! I'm glad to hear that messages wig other people out too! I do think they really help though. The foam roller, the stick, and FRoller are all devices meant to be a sort of do it yourself message, but sometimes a person can find trouble spots that we can't find on ourselves.

Kristina said...

thanks so much for your support, Katie, and I love reading your blog. FWIW, my required recovery habit is frequent deep massage of any trouble points, 30 min/week on whatever is problematic. That, and chocolate.