Tag Archives: yoga for runners

Blend Practice 5K

preblendThis is how the Blend Practice 5K went for yours truly.  I ran my race on Sunday morning, while the weather was on the rise.  I started out with a long sleeved wicking shirt over a running tank, but ditched the long sleeves not even a mile into the run.  But I’m getting way ahead of myself, here. Let’s rewind a little bit.

I was more nervous for this race than any sort of “official” race I’d run to date. After much hemming and hawing, I decided this had something to do with self-imposed pressure.  My mind was down with playing games all weekend long, especially on Sunday morning as I was preparing for my 3.1 miles. 

I had made a fairly short and sweet playlist for the Blend 5K.  I chose songs that I knew would keep me moving even if I didn’t want to be moving. 

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I tend to hold on to lyrics and use them to fuel me through the rough patches. Young the Giant’s “My Body” was a must on this playlist. I restarted it at least four times during my run.

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I ran a simple out and back course in a neighborhood I was familiar with, having run in it a time or two before. It’s flat, like woah, and near the water, which is often a welcomed running scene.  I walked for about a quarter mile to warm up before starting my playlist and setting off along my route.

I started out WAY too fast here.  I was running sub 9 for the first half mile before I realized I wasn’t doing myself any favors. I tried to tell myself that I could run smart from this point forward, but I was having a hard time finding the pace I needed and wanted to run at consistently. 

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Not too long after my first mile, a car and I played chicken trying to get one another to go first, as it was backing out of it’s driveway, and I was waiting to cross.  I stopped jogging in place, eventually, and paused my watch.  It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, but the uber-quick rest was a taste of something I wanted more of – and eventually I was stopping after every few minutes of running to walk for a bit before starting the cycle again. 

Not a big deal, I know.  I started to get really in my head about the whole thing and was being down on myself about a less than stellar performance when I realized I had the opportunity to turn this poor “race” into a strong speed training run. 

I continued running 3.1 miles, but I stopped my feet, and my watch, to stretch, adjust, and recover after pushing myself for several minutes of hard running.  After changing my mindset and declaring it a speed workout, I kept up with that sub 9 pace, bringing me in under my goal of 30 minutes.  It just wasn’t a true 5K PR because it was 30 minutes of speedy running with recovery seconds in between.

The kicker of course, is that speed workouts like my Blend 5K experience are the exact training methods that are going to help prepare me to run a SMART sub 30 5K this July.  I think that means I won this practice race. But- no!, seriously; all of you who ran it with us won this race, too.  That’s the best thing about this community: once we hit the top, there’s no stopping us…

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Well, onto 15K Training: Let’s discuss!

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I ran a great four mile, slow and steady, run about town on Monday.  I left me feeling really confident about being able to finish my race next weekend.  My current goal for the race is to PR.  My current 15K time is 1:51:37.  I will be ecstatic with any time, of course, but I’d preparing mentally for sub 1:50. [When I started training for this 15K, I was thinking about training for 1:36. That seems RIDICULOUS right now.]

I’ve been toying with the idea of running sans Garmin the past few weeks.  As I told her in the comments, when I saw that Meghann posted about a Garmin-free run last week, I knew I must fit one in my schedule soon.  I’m looking forward to running without being slave to the pace-space on my wrist.  I am anticipating a mind-game free run this week!

I’m also making sure to take one full rest day this weekend before my last pre-race long run on Sunday morning.  I made sure to write “Yoga for at least 20 minutes!” in my day planner for Thursday.  It’s one of my goals for this week to do one of the “Yoga for Runners” podcasts I recently downloaded from ITunes [for FREE!!] to add a little something new to my weekly workouts.

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And oh my word – I have already preplanned and drafted my training plan for post 15K.  I’ve made some decisions I’m very excited about and will most likely be sharing soon.  Don’t want to over kill on the running talk in one night. Hmmmm. Never thought I’d be the kind of girl to say that.

Thoughts on Stretching

A reader recently emailed me the following:

Okay so you’ve inspired me to run to loose my extra winter lbs…. and it helps that it’s nice outside now so I want an excuse to be in the sunshine… but I have some questions on stretching:   do you have a stretching routine you do before and after a run?  I know I should do a much better job of stretching and as sore as I am at times I know it will help (pre and post run!) Thanks!

First off, I must say, of course, that I am not a doctor. [with all the brilliance that is THS, I am sure this shocks you!]  I am not a physical therapist. I am not a coach, or a sports nurse or any sort of professional that should be known for giving this kind of advice.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even have a college degree.

What I do have, however, is experience on what works for me, and so that is what I will share.  Good, old fashioned, neighbor to neighbor discussion – kapeesch?

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In the last month or two, as I have become more dedicated to my training, I have made stretching more of a priority in my life.  Prior to this year, stretching was something I did, but often felt it was a chore and, admittedly, I did not make proper time or place for it in my life. 

Typically, I don’t stretch BEFORE warming my muscles up. However, 90% of the time, I take 5-10 minutes to get a nice walk in BEFORE running to loosen my muscles up, and warm my heart/lungs to the idea of running.  I may walk a quarter of a mile. Sometimes I walk a mile and half.  It all depends on how I’m feeling, my time constraints, and where I’m running, etc.  (i also try and walk AT LEAST half a mile on my cool down, too, by the way.  This doesn’t always happen, but 90% of the time I make it a priority.) 

Usually, once i am ready to start running, I spend 1-3 minutes stretching out. I usually stretch my calves by doing this toe lift and my quads by doing a standing quad stretch.  I also have had a problem with shin splints in the past, and doing the stretching exercises in this video from Healthy Ashley has been a big help in preventing major pain in the shin area. 

 

It’s also important for me to note that during a training run, if my legs are feeling especially tight, I have no problem taking a few minutes mid-run to stretch in the grass.  There have been a handful of times that this has helped to turn a rough run into a decent run.

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When I finish my run, I usually spend 5-15 minutes walking to properly cool down.  After this cool down I stretch. Sometimes I stretch pre-shower. Sometimes I stretch post-shower.  My goal is to spend AT LEAST 5 minutes stretching after each run.

If I ran a longer distance than before, or finished more quickly than usual, or if my legs feel especially heavy or tight – I may stretch right when i get home, then take a shower, make dinner, do the dishes, etc. and then later that evening, spend 10-15 minutes on the living room floor stretching out even more.  Occasionally I will spend A LOT of minutes on my yoga mat, stretching because it feels so good.

Reminder: Running is an entire body work out!  You use A LOT more than your legs.  It’s best to stretch out your entire body, and not only your lower muscles.

A few of my favorite post-run stretches:

I also occasionally try to fumble my way through this Yoga for Runner’s video that Angela once suggested months and months ago.  It always leaves me feeling good!

 

Other great resources for stretching:

Stretching Demonstrations from Spark People

Janna’s Favorite Post Run Stretches

Laural shares on Stretching & Strengthening on Carrots’n’Cake

Stepf discusses the Best Stretches for Athletes on fANNEtastic Foods

Runner’s World has an entire section on stretching which is definitely worth checking out !