Monday, November 12th: run
Distance: 4.07 miles
Pre-run: foam roll calves, ITB, quads
Post-run: stretch calves, hip flexors, quads
Recovery: Marc Pro Plus, theragun
I think that recentering myself was really helpful, because I made sure to take the time that I needed before and after a run to recover. When I got to work, I also used the theragun and used the Marc Pro Plus in my calf. I had little pain in my calf while running, so I wanted to make sure that I kept feeling progressively better.
Tuesday, November 13th: yoga, ski erg and run
3 sun salutations A
Standing forward fold 3x5 breaths
Triangle 2x5 breaths
Lunge 2x5 breaths
wide leg forward fold 3x5 breaths
Wide leg lunge 3x5 breaths
Up dog 2x5 breaths
Headstand 1x20 breaths
Wheel with hands against wall 2x5 breaths
Wheel with ands on ground 2x5 breaths
Workout: ski erg + run
Ski erg: 5x2 min, 1 min rest with stretching during rest periods
Location: Bethlehem, running home
Distance: 2.08 miles
Pre-run: half kneeling hip flexor stretch, fire log stretch, seated piriformis stretch
Post-run: calf stretch, down dog, foam roll calves, quads
It was pouring in the morning, so I practiced yoga. I have been noticing that when I’m running that it feels like I can’t fully inhale. So I focused on taking long and complete inhales and exhales while practicing. I was thinking about it, and your breathing mechanics are like any other mechanics. You want to maximize your mechanics so you don't have to work so hard. Your ribs and intercostals can get tight like your hips can. When your ribs/intercostals are tight, you can’t breathe as efficiently; when your hips are tight, you can’t extend your hip as efficiently. Then you just end up exerting a lot of effort than necessary. I need to get back to doing more back bending, because that always made me feel the most expansive in my chest. I think that this would positively impact my running as well.
I also did some ski erg repeats before leaving work as my warm up. I ran home nice and easy. As I was running, I was trying to focus on fully inhaling and exhaling, and for that reason, I just kept it easy. I still feel like I’m not fully utilizing my breath, but I think that will improve with time. Then I took some time to stretch afterward. I’m trying to make sure I stay consistent with that.
Wednesday, November 14th: run
Distance: 4.04 miles
Pre-run: foam roll calves, quads, piriformis stretch, firelog stretch, supine hamstring stretch, supine calf stretch x45 sec each
Post-run: stretch calves, hip flexors x45 sec
When I start work at 7 am, I need to be very calculated with how I spend my time in the morning if I’m going to run. I typically wake up around 5 am, and theoretically, this should leave me plenty of time to foam roll and stretch beforehand. But then I start doing more immediate (not) tasks like unloading the dishwasher. Clearly, as I write this, this doesn’t make sense, yet I find myself doing little tasks at home instead of taking more time to foam roll and stretch.
I was thinking about how it has been difficult for me to foam roll and stretch more, particularly since I know that my right hip and foot have been really tight, causing excessive stress in my calf and tibia. I think that it would probably help to narrow down my options by creating a very clear plan of 3-4 things that I’m going to do before and after. More on that later.
Thursday, November 15th: lift
Front squat 5x5 35k
Cossack squats 4x7 without weight
I walked home in the 7” of snow. Does that count?
Pre Workout: foam roll glutes, quads, ITB, calves, half kneeling hip flexor stretch, brettzel 2.0, butterfly stretch
Post workout: foam roll quads, ITB, glutes, calves, butterfly, pigeon, low lunge stretch
I’m back to lifting! Well kinda. I kept it really simple today by just doing some front squats and Cossack squats. Front squats are really interesting for me, because they challenge my hip flexibility in a way that typically indicates how well I’m moving in general. I was saying earlier that my right hip has been tight, and that’s definitely true while front squatting. It actually feels painful, because I’m experiencing some impingement. So while I was warm up, I would alternate between foam rolling and stretching and then retesting what squatting felt like.
For me, if I focus on external rotation, abduction, and hip extension stretch that typically helps to alleviate this pain, particularly external rotation and hip extension. So I will do something like this: foam roll glute, do piriformis stretch, then retest front squat. Then stretch again and retest. If there is still more improvement, then I keep focusing on that area. If not, I move onto something else. Then I foam roll quad and do half kneeling hip flexor stretch, and then retest squatting. And I follow the same idea. I actually felt pretty good. I still kept the volume and weight low, because my body just isn’t used to it.
Friday, November 16th: hike in the snow
Location: south mountain Lehigh
Distance: 3.25 mi
Post-run: hamstring stretch, firelog stretch, supine piriformis stretch
This was my first time at the trails by Lehigh’s mountaintop campus. I went with my friend, Jaime, on a snowy hike. By that point in the afternoon, it was warming up, but there was still the majority of the snow on the ground. Fortunately, I had her gators as we hiked through the trails. I can appreciate when people say that the Lehigh trails are harder to follow than the ones at south mountain. I have a general sense of some of them now, and I’m looking forward to running on them at some point.
Originally, I planned to do about 6-8 today and then 10-12 on saturday, and I quickly realized that I’d have to reevaluate. A hike with some elevation was enjoyable and reminded me that hiking was the reason that trail running even become a thought in my mind. I think it’s so easy for me, and many others, to align themselves more closely with the more “effortful” task or pursuit. It feels “better” or is “superior.” I have become more and more aware of this scale that I assess everything off of. So for me, if I have experienced the “better,” “superior”, and more “effortful” option, then I only want to do that. The physical block of the snow was helpful for me to remember this point. However, it didn’t stop the anxieties of Saturday…
Saturday, November 17th: run in the snow, lift
Location: south mountain Emmaus
Distance: 8.01 mi
Pre-run: foam roll quads, calves, brettzel 2.0 stretch, ½ virasana stretch
Post-run: foam roll quads, glutes, calves, ITB, supine knee to chest stretch, supine hip ER stretch, firelog stretch x3, seated calf stretch
Seated on floor DB press 4x10 15#
Bent row DB 4x10 25#
Bent reverse fly 4x10 8#
I enjoyed my hike on Friday. However, my anxieties surrounding this run began to mount on Friday when I realized that the trails wouldn’t be clear by the time that I went on Saturday. So many thoughts and considerations continually circulated in my head: I don’t think I’ll be able to get my long run in. I didn’t run on Friday. I need to do 10-12. If I do run, it will be so tiring and take so long. It won’t truly represent my abilities in terms of pace. Maybe I’ll run on the tow path instead. Maybe I’ll run on Sunday instead. Maybe I’ll just hike at south mountain. Maybe I’ll run a little there and go to the gym to row. Maybe I’ll go to the tow path and then row. Then the questions about the future: will I be able to get in enough long runs? Will I be prepared for Dec 15th? Will I disappoint myself? What is my goal? Then more thoughts regarding those questions. But you get the idea. So many thoughts. So much energy.
I realized that this is exactly what I was talking last week. My plan needs to exist along a spectrum. I may have planned to do 10-12, but 8 was sufficient for the conditions. Running on snowy trails was challenging in a way that my watch couldn’t measure. AND THAT’S OK (I kept telling myself). I will be able to get in about 2 more long runs, and I’m hoping that’s ok. If not, I’ll learn. This was a great learning experience for me.
This speaks to the next part about being a bit more gentle on myself. Life happens. Weather happens. Weekend events/commitments happen. Injuries and aches happen. I’m learning to be a bit more adaptable to those.
Surprisingly, I ran 8 miles. It was laborious, and I didn’t quite settle into the run at all. But I was pleased that I exceeded my expectations.
Sunday, November 18th: hike
In my effort to recenter myself to my original intentions for doing this trail race, I wanted to get back to hiking. I wanted to choose the less “effortful” activity. My body didn’t need another run. It needed to settle. I find that hiking for several hours does just that. Also, with hiking I prefer going with other people; whereas, for running, I prefer going myself. It was just what I needed to catch up with one of my very best friends, who I haven’t seen much, particularly since I started running.
It was a cold day with the trails still mostly snow covered. For that reason, it was quiet. It felt like we had the mountain to ourselves. I was realizing how hiking gives you a different perspective than running. With running, you may be able to see more overall in your run, but hiking allows for a bit more depth, since you’re moving more slowly. I took that time to enjoy the trails of Pulpit and pinnacle that I know so well. I could appreciate how fall is most certainly on its way out, and I compared it to the hot summer days with the fullness of the greenery. And I am looking forward to winter. I’m looking forward to the quiet and stillness. After that hike, I felt the quiet and stillness mentally in a different way than I do when I run. I am thankful for that and know that hiking has to be a regular part of my exercise for a given week.
Things I learned this week:
The Mobility-Doc Blog
Drs. Chloe Costigan and John Giacalone are both physical medicine specialists, former competitive athletes, and strength and conditioning coaches.