Running Shape

I guess I took for granted how easy it is to maintain endurance when you’re fit. I could run just fine in the heat. I could run after taking two weeks off, come back to running, and my lungs still felt good.

They do not feel good right now.

I’ve been jogging more and more now that I’m cleared from PT and have proven that my knee could literally take a pounding again (9 mile run in June – even if it was quite a slow pace…). But man is it HARD.

As a teenagerimg_0215 in high school, I can remember grueling track meets where I got PR’s in the mile… And that’s how difficult my run felt yesterday.

Except I definitely didn’t PR in the mile. I barely kept a 10 minute pace and I was hurting.

Just two years ago I was running sub-7 mile repeats for 5+ miles like it was no problem. Just last year I was doing sprinting workouts and my lungs could handle it like a champ while I Aqua-ran or did bike workouts.

But I fell out of my routine when my appendix came out, and by the time I was well enough to exercise I had knee surgery. And let’s just say it was really easy to follow the whole “rest and recover” instructionsI got complacent with my easy PT exercises after surgery and now my lungs and my muscles are out of shape.

It sucks to train from ground 0. I’m still doing my PT exercises to keep my VMO, hamstrings, hip flexors and quads strong. I’ve finally felt comfortable enough to include more intense exercises to my routine like reverse lunges on a physio ball, wallsits and short sprints in my routine again.

img_0218 img_0212

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m feeling a little sore today – but in a good way! It’s going to be an uphill battle but I know if I can push through the next couple of weeks my body will adapt and I will be SO happy when it does!

 

Advertisements

First Run Back!

Last Saturday I ran for the first time since February! And obviously I didn’t ease back into things…

I spent last week on a La Vida wilderness excursion in the Adirondacks in NY with a group of my students. I chaperoned the trip and had two knowledgable and fun Sherpas to work with. We rock climbed, hiked, canoed, portaged and did other camp things.


On the final morning back at base camp, there is a tradition where participants are driven off site and run 9 miles back to base camp. I figured I would give it a shot and walk a while, then jog for a few minutes, then walk again.

Well obviously I’m horrible at pacing myself when it comes to these things. (Re: stress fracture).

One of my students who ran cross country for the first time this year paired up with me and we did fabulous together! We ran the entire 9 miles with only short walking and stretching breaks here and there! We finished in 1 hour and 50 minutes. I’m so shocked that I was able to:

  • Run
  • Run 9 miles
  • Run 9 miles without my knee swelling up
  • Run 9 miles at a ~10 minute pace

It’s definitely not where I was before, or where I want to be, but that is darn good for a first run back. I’m so happy! I enjoyed the post run muscle soreness and am pleased to say my lungs didn’t mind the exercise one bit. 

I wouldn’t say I’m free of the exercise bike completely, but I’m definitely getting back to running!

My La Vida crew!

Love/Hate Relationship: the Indoor Cycling Bike

It’s officially been 3 months since my knee surgery and I’ve just complete my physical therapy. Thankfully, my knee didn’t need huge repairs. I had a plica removed that was causing cartilage to tear on my patella – so it’s a good thing I had it done because that damage would have only progressed! I still can’t bend my knee completely and certainly can’t do squats or run yet.

So, since PT ended and I needed to continue strengthening, I indulged myself and bought an indoor cycling bike on Amazon. The bike is great! For $199 I got a solid, very adjustable, handsome bike! 

The only problem is I hate it as much as I love it. Does that even make sense?

I hate it when I first get on because:

A) I’m still weak-ish, so my knee can be achey (what did I expect?)

B) I slacked off a lot after surgery so I’m out of shape-ish, so it’s hard (lol duh)

C) I would just rather be running.


But then once I’m about 15-20 minutes in, I love it! I’m sweating, I’m breathing heavier, my leg muscles are working hard and I remember how much I just love the feeling of exerting my body. So by the time I get off, I love the bike again.

A weird phenomenon, but one I’ll have to get used to as it will be a while until I can really run for a workout again.

The Perks of Setting Up A Home Gym

My boyfriend’s house has a great outdoor garage space that we’ve converted into a gym. Aside from a little more cleaning to be done, and needing to use a space heater to warm it up on chilly days, it’s pretty awesome for a home gym!

There’s a mat floor, a bench, a rack for weights, barbells, plates, and a dumbbell set. We also have resistance bands, a physio ball, a weighted jumprope, and foam rollers.

We’ve both been capitalizing off of this space. It’s a great investment for so many reasons!

  • I love that it’s two steps from the house. How can you make an excuse over that commute?! 😉
  • I love that I never have to wait for someone to finish using the weights or equipment I need.
  • I don’t feel self conscious when trying new exercises or when sprawling on the floor to stretch.
  • I don’t feel people staring, as often happens in a crowded gym. Right ladies?
  • I love that I can blast my music over the speakers without anyone changing the tunes. 
  • I love that I can dance and sing along between sets and generally just have fun in this private space.
  • And I love that I really do get a complete workout in this home gym.

Not too shabby! Plus I’m saving $35 a month on a gym membership! Even though we had to buy some of the stuff, we found amazing prices on the floor mats, resistance bands, jumprope and physio ball online at Amazon & Walmart. So, what we spent there will pay for itself in just a couple of months now that we aren’t paying for a membership elsewhere.

The bench and racks were basically given to us when someone we know was going to toss them. They just needed a good cleaning and they get the job done just fine!

The best part of all is the accountability that comes along with this. When I pay for things myself, I tend to value it more. Having all this equipment is so exciting to me because it’s mine! Additionally, there is literally no excuse to skip the gym. The commute can’t stink since it’s in the backyard. It will never be crowded. It will never be closed for holiday hours. Etc, etc, etc.!

I’m extremely happy about this space as you can see …

  
 

Working Out With a Hectic Schedule

It’s been a month since my last post. I have all these blog topics I want to delve into and yet, I can’t seem to find the time.

Schools back in session, which means I’m busy from 7-5 most nights, sometimes later, as I’m still figuring out this lesson prep deal. Each week my time is split between work, coaching, family, relationships, friendships, caring for my dog, fellowship group, church, gym, etc, etc, etc.

Where do we find the time!?

I’m a routine person. I do best when I am in the groove of a routine. It’s so much easier to stick with all my commitments and keep my priorities in line. Transitioning from summer vacation to work again has left me completely outside my orderly routine.

That being said, I haven’t been blogging as much, I haven’t seen my friends as much, and worst of all, I haven’t been gymming hardly at all in the past month. There I said it. I’ve worked out twice in 5 weeks. I’m ashamed! But if you’re anything like me, when the going get busy, the busy don’t get to the gym. (Does that make sense?)

The gym or our workout time probably the worst thing we can cut from our routine. It starts an evil cycle that’s really hard to break and really easy to embrace.

You miss the gym.
You get more “stuff” done.
You feel tired.
You sleep more.
You still feel tired.
You eat more (bad) stuff.
You feel bad.
Your clothes feel bad.
You feel worse.
You feel too tired to get to the gym
And on and on and on…. It doesn’t end!

Once you’re out of your workout routine it’s SO HARD to get back in it because the cycle of bad eating and bad sleep habits keeps you “too tired” to go. (Read my article on sleep and see what this happens on a chemical level.)

So, I encourage you (and myself!) to get to the gym this week. It might only happen once, or maybe you’ll only get there for half of your normal gym session. That’s okay! Just get there.

Pack a bag ahead of time and go straight from work so you don’t have time to change your mind. Or make plans to meet a friend there so you’ll feel more obligated to go and not let them down. Sign up for a spot in an exercise class to make the commitment feel more real and less like you can make up an excuse to skip. Whatever you need to do to get there, do it!

Once you do, your mind will feel renewed and your body will thank you – even after just ONE session! Before you know it, you’ll remember why you value your time at the gym more than the time you spend in some other places, and you’ll be back in a good routine in no time, feeling more energized, healthier, and happier 🙂

Home Workout 4

Here’s another home workout you can do sans equipment! Just you and the comfort of your own home. No excuses! If you have questions on the exercises, leave a comment!

Perform each exercise for 12 reps or 40s where indicated*, straight through the set.
Rest as needed, or 2 min at end.
Repeat for 3 sets.

  • Single leg step ups (12 on each side) – use a chair or sturdy chest.
  • Inchworm – keep feet planted, walk hands out to straight arm plank, hold, walk feet back in towards hands and repeat.
  • Jumping jacks*
  • Forward lunges w arms up (12 on each side)
  • Push ups
  • Forearm plank

Good luck!

Running on the Beach

Let’s be honest, the only place we really want to be in the summer is on a beach. For you fitness freaks out there, that doesn’t mean you have to just lounge lazily in the sun and snack all day long. You can get a great workout by running in the sand, and it can be as relaxing or challenging as you want!

Running on the beach provides a couple of options for your workout. Running closer to the water’s edge, especially during low tide, offers wetter and more compact sand to run on. This makes it easier to navigate along your run and offers an enjoyable, smooth ride for you to enjoy on the ocean’s edge.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, running in the softer, looser sand provides more resistance. In fact, it takes more energy and work to navigate through looser sand as your tendons and muscles adjust to the unnevennes of the terrain. Running in looser sand is a bit like running hills, requiring you to generate more force and work harder overall.

Running in sneakers versus running barefoot also allows you to control the intensity of your run. Running in shoes on the beach is perfectly fine, especially if you’ve had injuries like plantar fasciitis or achilles tendonitis. The sneakers will continue to provide your feet the support they need on the unpredictable terrain sand offers.

While running barefoot allows your feet to follow through their full range of motion, it can irritate the chronic conditions mentioned above, since the muscles are stretched more and are not being supported by the proper shoes. If you choose to go the no shoes route, beware of doing too much mileage, too soon. The harder surface could result in injury if you aren’t used to it. Additionally, beaches are typically littered with sharp shells and often times, glass or other litter. Beware of this risk if you decide to run barefoot.

Harder sand or softer sand, in sneakers or not – either way, if you’ve never run on a beach before, start slow. Begin with a short 15 minute jog and slowly increase your time as the weeks progress. Your legs and feet will need to adjust to the work they’ll be doing in the sand, and your body as a whole will have to adjust to the higher energy demands running on sand requires.

For me, running on the beach is the most relaxing workout there is. Waking up early before the crowd arrives while it’s still silent but for the sound of wind and waves is one of the most peaceful times to appreciate what your body can do. So give it a try! Go for a quick little jog on the coast and see how renewed you feel after running behind such a glorious canvas!