Can you believe it, only 2 more days until Thanksgiving!!
This is post #5 in a series dedicated to those areas in my training that I’ve had to work through some trial and error to find out what works best for me.
Today’s Topic – Our Bodies are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G
Over the last few months I’ve had plenty of comments and posts about how thankful I am to be able to run and be active. There was even a post from June where I was mentally writing a big ol rant post about how my legs were trash when I came to the realization that my legs were fighting through a ton of elevation gain and I needed to be more sympathetic to that.
As I’m now in full on taper mode and I just finished a 70 mile week, it’s only right to extend a huge THANK YOU to my body and legs. There are still some small runs on the plan and any number of accidents that could pop up but as of today I’m headed to the start line healthy.
And maybe I should take that a bit further, my body has also allowed me to be…
Trained – I feel that this was the best training cycle I’ve ever run. Yes I moved some runs around and missed some runs here and there, but over all I killed this training cycle.
Confident – I’m completely confident going into this race. I’ve ran the miles so I know I can complete 31 miles but I’ve also scouted the course and feel confident with my race plan.
Race Ready – I’m flat out in great shape. I can feel it when I run. I don’t want to say I’m in the best shape of my life but as I inch closer to this race, I can feel that I’m in amazing running shape to tackle this race.
A lot goes into a long and time consuming training cycle like this. One of the biggest factors is keeping your body healthy and your body responding to the stress and increased activity the right way. I’m in no way an expert on pre- and post- run maintenance because there are a lot of things I DO NOT do.
Strength Training – I loathe the gym. I know all the research. I know what all the experts say. I know what the elite runners do. I just greatly dislike weights and the gym so I avoid it as much as possible.
Stretching – I will do some static stretches here and there when I’m watching TV or at the office when I have some specific tightness on my body (calves, hamstrings, ITB, etc.), but that’s about it. There isn’t any major rhyme or reason behind this, I just haven’t found the stretching to be overly beneficial or necessary.
Foam Rolling – Um….yeah lol. For me personally, foam rolling made my ITB issues worse a couple years ago. That’s when I went to a bit more stretching and retired my foam roller.
Again, these are choices that I make based on my training and my body, and on the other hand, there are some things I do that seem to keep my body feeling good.
Steam Showers – After long runs, nothing feels better than a long relaxing steam shower. I literally turn the water to scorching temps, lay down in the shower, and let the water pour down on my legs. It seems to relax all my muscles and I feel like my recovery is much quicker.
Warm Up/Cool Down – Because I don’t do much stretching, I often find myself taking the first mile very slowly. This allows me to shake out my legs and get my muscles warmed up for the run. I’ve also been more intentional on ending my run with a smooth and casual finish. Occasionally I still throw in a “fast finish” just to close out certain runs strong, but for the most part I end things with low effort and sometimes even end my runs walking.
No Flip/Flops – This is a constant argument between Mrs. Schlub and I. Flip flops are horrible for your feet. They provide no arch support and no cushioning. I try to be barefoot around the house and in running shoes everywhere else. Lucky for me I have 2 good pairs of road shoes that were recently retired to casual use. I only run trails now lol.
Sleep Position – This may come across as strange but I sleep on the couch A LOT. The one big reason I do this is because our couch is the perfect length so I can comfortable lay across and prop my feet up on the arm rest. This keeps my feet at a 90* angle the entire night and has 100% healed and warded off my Plantar Fasciitis. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had some tightness in my foot and by morning my feet feel perfect because of this process.
Warm Clothes – It may be the Arizona blood, or the slender physique, but I get cold pretty easily. When I’m not running, I don’t take chances and make sure to stay warm. Especially right now so close to race day, I don’t want to take the chance of being cold and getting sick which can easily derail a training plan or race. I don’t need to prove anything, I like to be warm lol.
So those were some of the DO’s and DON’T’s that I’ve picked up during this training cycle.
More specifically, I am 100% grateful and feel truly blessed for the ability to run and be active. I’m sure many of you will agree, we punish our body with high miles, high intensity, and often find our muscles screaming at us to stop. Our bodies have more power and ability than we will ever know and quite often take us past the limits we set for ourselves. We need to take care of these bodies that bless us each and every day.
What are some ways that you thank your body?
Anything you do that goes against conventional maintenance for runners?