Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Aches and pains

I realize that by even daring to write this entry, I'm condemning myself to a lifetime of broken bones and torn everything. My poor dad was in a cycling accident this weekend during a race, and although he's ok (sort of, he has nasty scrapes, stitches, and a broken finger), I know this thing I'm doing is not 100% without chance of hurting myself. Just have to do everything possible to not get injured, and even then it still sometimes happens.

I had a tibial stress fracture when I was in high school and years of infrequent, inconsistent training have put me through many cycles of run a little, feel good, ramp up mileage, get injured, stop running, repeat. This is dumb. I know that inconsistent running and randomly escalating mileage too quickly often means injury, especially if it's something that's happened to you in the past. I've have recurring ITB issues and frequent shin pain. Fun.

I have been ridiculously lucky so far in this round of marathon training. I am currently, this very moment, not injured. That I know of. I think if you asked most runners, on any given day, "does something hurt?" that most of them would say "well, now that I think of it, yes..." Luckily, right now, I have to think pretty hard about that question to answer "yes." I have had some mild left knee pain when running on the shoulder of the road, which I assume is just from being on that banked, uneven surface. Did I just find a totally legitimate reason to run on the super flat Rail Trail? I think I did. I also occasionally have a twinge in my left quad that usually goes away after a few minutes of activity. Nothing major, nothing worrisome.

What have I done differently this round of training (I'm somehow already 12 weeks in! on a sidenote, 18 weeks is way too long for marathon training. Never again.) that has helped me stay injury-free so far?
  • Stick to the plan
    • The "plan" being the Runner's World SmartCoach plan that the Internet dreamed up for me. Luckily, it's not a random number generator. It had me starting at mileage similar to what I was running before training, and ramping up slowly and steadily. It's been kind to me (there's a big however, see next point...). There were a few times when I thought "Hey! I should run another mile/interval/whatever! I feel great!" and I usually squished those feelings down. Knowing you have 16 miles waiting for you in 3 days makes it easy to stop a workout when you're supposed to.
  • Listen to my body
    • I felt run down and incapable of completing a couple of my long runs a few weeks back. Those miles were just not happening. It was probably 60% mental, but there was a physical component to it too. I wasn't sleeping well, and 6 days a week of training had started to catch up with me. So I backed off. At this point, I still haven't done a 20 miler. On one hand, that sucks, on the other hand, I have several weeks still to fit those runs in. It'll be ok. 
  • Mix it up
    • Nick is my partner in life and my partner in looking ridiculous in our living room. I firmly believe that doing some sort of interval training most every Monday has strengthened a lot of my lower body stability-type muscles (is it obvious I never took anatomy?) and helped me stay injury free. My butt is rarely sore from running, but always sore from intervals. Also, weekly biking mixes up my schedule, adds variety to my life, and uses different muscles. 
  • Strict(ish) rest days
    • I've had a few rest days that were not so restful (like walking all day around Kings Dominion or the mall, or biking 30 miles), but for the most part, I take it easy every Saturday. Sometimes too easy. I might feel like a slug by sitting around some days, but I know it's for the best.
  • New shoes
    • I have tons of running shoes. No shame. New, supportive shoes, and rotating the shoes I'm using has prevented me from running any one pair of shoes into the ground and helped protect me from damage from the many miles I've been putting in. My love affair with Mizuno continues.
  • Foam rolling
    • Even when I don't feel like it. Even when it's late. Even when I'm full of ice cream. Foam rolling has never made me feel worse, and almost always makes me feel better. I have ridiculous knots in my calves, and the foam roller makes them less ridiculous. Hurts so good. I've been doing it at least 3 times a week and I swear it helps.

Apropos of none of that, I ordered this Plant Fusion protein powder to replace my old reliable egg protein powder, and it is horrible.
"Easily digestible" and "Amazing Taste" never go together.

Nick tasted it and said "you got chocolate again?" because the flavor is so off that it definitely doesn't taste like the "vanilla bean" it's supposed to be. It tastes like peas. That makes sense, since it's made of peas but wow... I do not want to eat ground up peas that are mildly vanilla-y. It's a little gritty. One positive note: it dissolves really easily without any chunks! So you're drinking, gritty pea powder, but at least it's not chunky.

I'll finish this canister, but this is definitely not an encouraging first foray into vegan protein powder. Blech. (note: I can't do hemp protein because I value my job too much to jeopardize it even the tiniest bit, so hemp is unfortunately not an option)

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