Category Archives: Training

Training Update – 2 weeks

I was officially cleared to resume “normal activities” almost two weeks ago. First and foremost, I double-checked with my doctor to be sure that meant running, too! Since she said, “Absolutely!” I’ve literally been off and running.

That being said, I’m coming back very slowly. I actually had to quit running back in December after a bout with a nasty cold. After that, I couldn’t keep my heart rate down even doing my run/walk intervals, and I knew that wasn’t good for my pregnancy. So, I kept up with walking about 3-4 days each week throughout the rest of my pregnancy. After that long away from running, I decided I shouldn’t just jump back in and risk injury, so I set some entry points for myself.

runner silhouette

I decided to start with some very short running intervals and increase the time I spend running in those intervals a little bit each week. I’m “running” four days each week and running based on time, not distance. Everyday, I include walking to warm-up and cool down as part of the workout. I am gradually decreasing the amount of time I spend walking for warm-up and cool down as I increase the length of my intervals. Here is what my weeks look like:

  • Monday – 35 minute workout – 5 short intervals, 1 longer
  • Wednesday – 45 minute workout – 8 short intervals, 1 longer
  • Friday – 30 minute workout – continuous running between warm-up and cool down
  • Saturday or Sunday – 60 minute workout – 2 sets of 5 short intervals, 1 longer

During my first few days back, I stuck with a 1:1 run/walk ratio for my workouts. I knew I could increase a little bit after those first few days so I increased my running intervals to 1:30 for short, and 2:30 for longer.

This week, I’m doing 3:00 for my short intervals and 4:00 for my longer intervals. I will continue to increase this by 1:00 each week as long as I continue to feel healthy and strong. Coming back like this is an exercise in patience, but I know I’m doing what is right for my body.

I’m also starting to do some core work. I found a great YouTube video for those recovering from abdominal surgery. I do it on the days I run and give myself a full rest day in between those workouts for now. Eventually, I’ll be adding some more toning and more  difficult core work at least one day each week, but I don’t want to run into any issues with diastasis recti while I’m getting my strength back.

So, that is where I am right now. Like I said, it is an exercise in patience, but I know I’m doing what is right for my body as I work my way back. In two more weeks, I’m going to assess where I am and determine whether or not I am ready to register for a race or not. My hope is that I’ll be able to do a slow 5K in mid-to-late August and I kind of have my eyes on the Growler Gallop.

We’ll see!

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Weekly Preview – June 12

It seems like now is a good time to link up with one of my favorite blogs, which I’ve been following for several years, Mommy Run Fast, to talk about what I’m doing for fitness and diet since my cesarean in the form of my plans for the week ahead.

During my pregnancy, I tried to keep up with my running and I was successful for a while. Then, right around Christmas I ended up with a horrible cold. After that, I just couldn’t manage to keep my heart rate down, so I ended up switching over to walking. I resumed walking about 5 days after my surgery at about a 30 minute pace with a quarter mile. Now, I’m walking up to 3 miles between a 15 and 16 minute pace. I’m happy with that progress i less than 5 weeks time, but that still means I haven’t run for 6 months. UGH!

On Thursday of this week, I have my 6 week postpartum visit with my doctor and I’m hoping that means I’ll be cleared to start running again. I won’t technically be at 6 weeks until next Monday, so I’m not planning to start mixing running in until that day, but this week I will continue my brisk walks to prepare my body for running when I get the all clear. I am still taking a rest day very frequently because a cesarean is major surgery and I want to make sure I am treating my body kindly to allow it to properly heal. I’m also leaving out strength training because I am not cleared for core work yet and I get enough upper body work carrying around the baby and pushing the stroller.

Here is how my week will look:

Monday: 35 minute walk

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: 45 minute walk

Thursday: REST

Friday: 30 minute walk

Saturday: 1 hour walk

Sunday: REST

I’ve also been taking a bit of a break from meal-planning while I’ve been recovering. I have an amazing husband who has been meal-planning, grocery shopping, and doing most of the cooking since the beginning of my third trimester. I’m working on starting to make that more of a collaborative process again now that I’m feeling more recovered and have another month at home before the end of my maternity leave.

We can also plan some slightly higher maintenance mid-week meals right now, because I can typically get a some prep done during the day. If something happens and I have less time, we just switch the planned meal to something a little easier. What has made our meal planning much easier is buying a small dry erase board for the refrigerator. I picked up this days of the week dry erase board by Quartet days of the week dry erase board by Quartet from Amazon for less than $10. It is heavy duty and is magnetized so the dry erase marker sticks directly to it rather than having to stick it on the refrigerator next to it. We tend to stay much more organized with our meals when we use it. We also add when we have special things going on so it helps us to keep track of when we don’t need to plan meals or we need to make some other type of special arrangement. I only wish that the week on the board ran from Sunday to Saturday instead of Monday to Sunday as that is how we plan our meals.

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For this week we are planning to have a real mix of things:

Sunday: Summer Vegetable Risotto

Monday: Big Salad with Tuna Medallions ($6.99/lb at Harris Teeter this week)

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken & Brussels Sprouts with a Shallot Mustard Sauce

Wednesday: Pork Tacos

Thursday: Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans

Friday: Cookout with friends

Saturday: Eat out or get takeout

Running on Optimism

 

It’s been 10 days since I’ve been cleared to start running again, and I’m going to confess, I’m having a hard time getting back into the routine. I’ve run exactly four times since then. I’m allowed to do easy, low mileage, but I just haven’t been able to make myself really want to do it. Until this morning.

As my run started, I really felt like I was just going through the motions, just putting the miles in so it was over with for today. But something happened in my mind about a mile in. I started thinking through my recovery plan and how I can get back on track by phasing in percentages of my training volume as my knee starts to feel better and better. I still may not make it to the point that I’m ready for my 40 miler in November, but as long as I can keep building, I’m going to try.

And, as all of these thoughts were running through my head, I realized that I barely even felt pain in my knee. I walked some when I got tired, but I got out there, and I enjoyed myself.

It’s kind of amazing what positive thinking can do…

 

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 7.39.20 AMDon’t forget to check out more Fitness Friday posts over at www.jillconyers.com!

 

Weekly Recap: Rest

At about this time last week, my knee hurt some, but I was planning to continue my streak until I was able to get in to see my sports medicine doctor. Last Monday morning, when his office opened, I called and made my appointment for August 14. He has an entire week of vacation before that, so I didn’t think that would be too long to wait.

6 hours later, I had other thoughts. I’m not sure what did it, but the pain in my knee definitely hit a peak on Monday. It could have been spending the day in heels (although moderate and chunky) for the first time in 10 days. At any rate, I decided to keep my appointment, but I called back and put myself on his cancellation list. I also made the very difficult decision to put myself on 3 days of rest.

As I drove to and from work Tuesday and Wednesday, I felt like I wanted to scream every time I passed a runner. But, I made it through the 3 days of rest without resorting to violence. 🙂 Honestly, after a 63 day run streak, 3 days off, while frustrating, felt really good.

Rest-and-be-thankful

By Thursday, I decided to try walking. The group was meeting up for runs of various distances before we went to a baseball game, so I opted for walking about 2.5 miles. It helped that a friend who is not a big runner showed up and decided to stick with me. The time passed quickly and before I knew it, we were 2 miles in and my knee was just starting to get a little achy.

I rested again on Friday. I’m enjoying the last weeks of my summer schedule so I spent some time cleaning out our office. We’re house-shopping, so I’m trying to get things purged before it is time to pack. I was pretty active all day, but I didn’t do any type of structured exercise.

On Saturday, I met up with the group again. I opted for walking 4.5 miles looping both Country Park and Military Park while they were out running anywhere from 5 to 13 miles. I brought a book so I sat in the car and read until everyone else finished up.

On Sunday, I had plans of heading to the gym and hitting the spin bike for 30 minutes, but between grocery shopping, more cleaning, and cooking, I didn’t fit it in.  What I did manage to sneak in was just a few minutes on my road bike. I’m working on getting comfortable on it again now that Nathan changed out my clips for real pedals (I just couldn’t do the clips).

I’m looking forward to some good walks, sessions on the spin bike, and a little more practice on my road bike this week. I’m also going to be working through the exercises and stretches for my knee each day. After this week, I need to find a way to fit in more core and arms, but I want to make sure I have the knee routine down first. It’s going to be a great week!

Setbacks

I seem to have had more than my fair share over the last couple of years when it comes to illness and injury. I have had septoplasty and a turbinate reduction due to respiratory issues, I had a bout of noravirus that left me out of running for nearly two weeks, I dealt with plantar fasciitis all through the fall and winter of last year, I had that weird quad soreness for weeks in late spring, and now, the knee pain. It seems to be never ending…

You may remember that on Monday morning, I said I was going to try to continue doing 1-3 miles of running each day until I am able to see my doctor. Unfortunately, by midday on Monday, I could tell that wasn’t going to happen. My knee hurt. I decided to mandate 3 days of absolute rest for myself. I took ibuprofen and iced my knee for 20 minutes each evening when I got home from work. And I pouted. I want to run!

Last night, I met with the group for a run. Some ran 5 miles, some ran 3 miles, I walked about 2.5 miles. It was a good walk. A friend I haven’t seen in a while was there and she decided to walk with me. It was nice to have company and it helped me forget that I was angry that I had to walk. My knee didn’t start getting a little achy until we were close to the 2 mile mark. I feel pretty good about that. It had gotten to the point that it was aching through every step of a one mile run.  So, progress.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get in to see my doctor until August 14th. He has a week-long vacation between now and then, so that isn’t too bad. However, I was just starting my ultra-training plan, and now that is all on hold. I was planning to register for it today (hello, payday!), but I don’t feel like I want to do that until after I see him.

So, what do I do while I wait?

Obviously, running is out. I am going to try to walk 3-5 miles about 3 days a week as long as it doesn’t bother my knee. I’m going to hit the spin bike 2-3 days a week, and I might get back to swimming. Swimming freestyle is hard for me because of my asthma, but I can breaststroke all day long, so that might be good. I also did a quick search for patellar tendonitis rehab exercises and found a good set of exercises from Massachusetts General Hospital that I’m going to start incorporating on a daily basis.

Hopefully, it won’t be long until I’m back to doing this…

Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra 2012

Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra 2012

Weekly Recap: Catching Up

Why is it that the week before a vacation begins is always crazy? I thought I was well-planned for our vacation last week, but as it turns out, my work schedule got completely crazy and we ended up with a lot to cram into the last couple of days before we left.

In the coming school year, all of our 24 middle schools are getting tablets for every one of their students. This summer, every middle school teacher is going through training about how to personalize learning both with, and without, the added technology. As a result, the curriculum department has been called on to help with some of the training sessions. Last week, I got to teach mini-sessions on differentiated instruction and cooperative learning. Then, on Thursday, I attended my own training. It was a very fulfilling week, professionally.

My workouts were a little challenging during the week before vacation. I started feeling a little tenderness just below my left knee where my patellar tendon meets my tibia. Since I’ve had patellar tendonitis before, and this pain seems familiar, my totally non-expert diagnosis is that it is back. So, over the last week, I kept my streak alive, but my longest run was only 4 miles. I’m wearing a knee strap, icing, and taking ibuprofen to see how I feel. I also cut out the lower body exercises from my 30 day challenge series since it seemed like the lunges and squats were just aggravating it more.

Boo! Patellar Tendonitis...

The point of inflammation with patellar tendonitis

During vacation week, I skipped my long run, but put in a mile each day. On Thursday, I did a 3-mile progression run. I managed to run the entire time and to increase my pace by a total of almost 2 minutes over the course of the run. The really good news is that my knee didn’t hurt any more during that run than it has during the last couple of weeks. I’m sure that the lack of pain is partially due to running on such flat land. I also put in 3 miles on Sunday, but I waited a little later in the morning. By the time I got out there, it was super thick out and my asthma started giving me trouble. So, after the first mile I walked. I was disappointed, but at least I got a chance to get out and move some.

Today, I’m calling my doctor to make an appointment to get my knee checked, so send good vibes. I’ve missed one week of ultra training already, so I’m hoping this is just a short-term setback. For now, I’m going to stick with 1-3 miles of running each day, but work in some other cardio cross-training that doesn’t involve so much stress on my knee. I’m thinking today that will involve some time on a bike. Whatever it takes, right?

In other news, today I will reach day 64 of my running streak! I’m kind of excited about this! I’ve enjoyed my daily runs a lot more than I thought I would. Even during vacation with a belly full of good food and drink I felt motivated to get out and get the miles done. I’m hoping that whatever is going on with my knee won’t stop my streak, but if my doctor ends up telling me I need to have more rest, and not just reduced mileage, I’ll listen. I definitely don’t want the streak to end up causing a long term issue!

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

 

Giving Back: My Week With Mizuno Baton

You may remember that at the beginning of last week I mentioned that I was going to be spending my week running using the app, Mizuno Baton. Now that my week is over, I wanted to share my thoughts on the app.

First, let’s talk about the purpose of the app.  Mizuno Baton uses your phone’s GPS signal to track your mileage over the course of one week. In turn, Mizuno donates $1.00 for every mile you run to Back on My Feet, an organization that helps the homeless get their lives back on track using running. I understand what an integral part of my life running has become, but before I read more about the organization I wasn’t sure exactly how just starting to run could have this power.

Here’s how it works. In step 1, Back On My Feet visits facilities such as shelters and other facilities like missions and halfway houses to describe their program and recruit participants. Once people have elected to participate, they begin training to run. They run 3-4 days a week at a set time. After 30 days of participating in at least 90% of the group runs, participants move on to the next stage.  In this stage, participants work with Back On My Feet Staff to develop a plan for the future and are given access to educational and employment opportunities along with housing opportunities. Back On My Feet says that about 75% of their current participants are in this phase of the program.

Now, on to more about how this works for the runner:

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Step 1. Download the Mizuno Baton app from the app store.
Step 2. Activate your baton. I recommend that you wait until you are ready to begin your first run of the week before you do this. Once activated, the timer will count down from 7 days. This is how long you have to run your miles for Back On My Feet.
Step 3. Use “Start a New Run” to log your first run. Almost every time I started a new run, the app gave me a warning that my GPS signal was weak. I went ahead and used it anyway and it always counted all of my miles.
Step 4. When you finish a run, hit the “End Run” button. After that you can submit your run  or you can add on more runs before you submit. Totally your choice! And, if you submit, you can still add on more runs; it’s just an option.
Step 5. Keep running! Don’t forget your baton! At the end of the week, you will get to see the total amount you contributed.

So what did I think about actually running with the baton? That part was just okay. I love my Garmin, and run with it religiously. On top of that, I very rarely listen to music while I run, so it seemed a little silly to have to carry my phone with me while I ran, but not a horrible inconvenience. I have a SPI belt I used to wear all the time, and it’s stretch pocket was perfect for housing my phone on shorter runs. On my longer run, I stashed it in the pocket of my Nathan Speed 4 hydration belt (although the pocket on that one is a little small for the iPhone).

Also, since I’m not used to carrying something extra, I forgot to wear my phone on two of my 1-mile runs. At least they were short ones! I kind of made up for that by leaving it on after my long run while we walked back across the Wilson Bridge after Sunday’s run. All told, I ended up donating $27.53.

Basically, I really like this concept. People get to do something that  is super easy for one week to give back to an organization that does so much for others.  The only way it would be better is if I could someone import data from my Garmin to cut down on the number of devices I need for a run.

However, I think everyone shoud consider spending a week with Mizuno Baton! You can find out more about the app at http://ifeverybodyran.com!