Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Extras

After she ran Chicago and I ran Praire Fire, my friend Liz shared this link with me, regarding the extras that pros (or "faux pros") do to improve training.  As a full-time working mom, I feel like I am always balancing my training with so many other activities that are higher priorities, but I also think I do a really good job at getting my training in.  My not-so-secret secret is simply 5 a.m.!  Nothing gets in my way with running super early, and I also allot enough time to do a 10-15 minute stretching and foam rolling routine after 95% of my runs (I mainly started doing this because one of my training partners has to be finished a little earlier than I do, so I would end up with a little extra time before I needed to jump in the shower, but then it stuck even on my solo runs).  Fitting in my double run days and strength workouts is trickier, but because I have a very supportive husband and can often do short runs on lunch at work if I need to, I get it done.  I am also a master at multi-tasking!

The blog post linked above reminded me that I'm doing some things well, but can improve on others.  I am pretty good at getting in nutrition within 30-60 minutes following runs, and I think my overall diet and knowledge of nutrition is better than most.  But, I am sure I could improve, so perhaps I should schedule with a nutritionist, preferably one who specializes in working with runners.  Recommendations?  I admit, though, that I don't want to take the time to keep a food log and I suspect this would require that! 

Foam rolling has been a great tool in my arsenal, and like I said I aim to do it daily.  One thing that's helped me maintain that is because Albani loves to roll with me.  And, yes, we have 2 foam rollers at home and I also got one for my birthday that now stays at work!  When I microwave my lunch at work I either roll or plank for a few minutes.
This is how we roll (excuse the mismatched PJs)
Sleep is something I could improve on; I'm not bad, but it's hard to get 8 hours if you're getting up at 4:30 a.m.!  I try to get ready for bed after I tuck Albani in around 8:30 p.m., but I often end up doing something else first and then lay in bed scrolling through social media on my phone or reading a novel for longer than I should (or writing a blog as I am right now!)!  I probably need to make a rule of no smart phone use after I tuck her in...easier said than done, right?  Reading helps me turn off my brain and fall asleep, so I should get her to bed, then lay down and read.  I think I do a little better with this during the cold months, as I can't wait to get under that electric blanket!

The post also inspired me to sign up for a functional movement screening that a local sports medicine clinic offers, which I had on October 28.  I figured that since I want to increase my mileage during Phoenix training, identifying and working on any imbalances proactively should be a priority.  No amount of hard work is helpful if you are injured prior to race day!  The screening was not exactly what I expected, but I came away with some recommended exercises and release moves that I plan to work on a couple of times a week and that I hope will be beneficial!  I had no major issues, but can improve my core strength in some different ways than I already work on, and loosen up the backs of my legs.  I currently go to a strength/plyo bootcamp twice a week, and plan to continue that because it's really helped my strength.

I imagine it would be helpful to have additional testing done on my strength and flexibility, and I would also like to have my body fat percentage tested (every woman's nightmare, right?!).  Regular massages would be nice, but I don't know when I'd fit that in.  Ironically enough, the last time I had a professional massage, which was after the Portland Marathon in 2009, I remember being super busy that day, then laying on the massage table stressing about everything I needed to do and should be doing instead of getting the massage!

Other ideas?  The extras can add to up more than the running part of training I think!


  1. I'm with you on stressing about what you should be doing rather than getting a message. The last time I had one was over 10 years ago. I'm impressed with how proactive you are! I love to run but get really lazy when it comes to recovery and strength training. You inspire me to do better with that!

    1. I'm glad it's not just me on the massage thing!

      For many years, I didn't do anything aside from run (and cross-train when I was injured), but after way too long off or running minimally with hip issues I learned that I HAVE to stretch and strength train to keep running and stay healthy. The additional benefit is that addressing those imbalances has helped my overall performance, and now it's also become habit.

      If you have time for only one "extra", I think foam rolling is the one to do. You can roll your whole body in 5 minutes and it makes a huge difference. If I am pressed for time I always do that over stretching. Plus, your kids will love to do it along with you!

    2. Seriously, put a foam roller at the top of your Christmas list. I have a SPRI brand one that is I guess technically a "sports roller", as it has a core made of PVC pipe-like material so it's a little stiffer and more durable. It helps my recovery so much, and I wish I'd discovered it sooner!