Wednesday, August 12, 2015
There is one very important thing that will allow you to keep running/swimming/biking/playing/exercising: Don't get hurt.
Injury prevention goes hand in hand with proper recovery. Okay, if you slip on a curb or trip on root, that's another story. But for the most part, if you aren't allowing your body to properly recover from the day's workout, then you are increasing your chances for injury.
Alysia Montaño, who will race for Team USA in the 800m at 2015 World Outdoor Championships in Beijing this month, said it best in a Runner's World article I read yesterday: "I'm a professional runner and part of my job is to not get hurt." But you don't have to be a professional anything to heed these words. In any circumstance, but especially in an athletic one, staying healthy is the number one thing you can do for your body. As an endurance runner, being able to bounce back from hard workouts and long hours on the road is essential if I'm going to train the best way I know how to and remain healthy. There are many other factors that go into smart training (sleep, cross-training, adequate rest, etc.) but recovery is vital.
Recovery is actually one of the main reasons I "went vegan" and stayed vegan. I had read books (plural right?) and tons of articles and knew that a vegan diet would be optimal for recovering from my triathlon training and racing and help me with an almost immediate transition to marathon training (my first one!). I was right. I didn't experience any injuries during this time despite no break from Tri training and found myself running back to back hard workouts without any discomfort or setbacks. It was so exciting to actually see and feel immediate feedback from my body and well it was responding to a vegan diet.
I haven't really acknowledged that feeling in a very long time. I know, day in and day out, that I'm able to run the way I run because of my vegan diet (not just distances, but the loaded training involved). But what I mean is that it's been quite a while since I deeply reflected on how my body is recovering...until now.
Two and a half weeks ago I ran my longest race ever. It was a 12 hour event on a 10.7 mile loop around a lake. The event was called Pick Your Poison Relay, but the poison that I picked was the 12 hour solo road option. If completed, it would be the longest (distance and time) run I've completed yet. I'll avoid details so that this post doesn't make you fall asleep, but it's how I've been able to recover from such an arduous endeavor that has truly wow'ed me. After the run, my body didn't like me. Certain things just wanted to shut down while other systems wanted to work overtime...all in the name of homeostasis. I wasn't sure how long it'd take me to recover from this kind of taxing experience.
Today's post-run/workout breakfast (and not all too different from what I've been eating to properly recover).
Fortunately, it wasn't long. My appetite was normal the next day and I replenished my all of my nutrient storage the best way I could. I guess it worked because three days later I ran 6 miles with Val and 4 days after that I was playing 90 minutes of pick-up soccer (sprinting, stopping, going, etc.). I felt great and knew that my extra intake of protein and vital nutrients from vegetables and fruits was fueling my body's recovery. I'm now a week into marathon training (Portland Marathon this October) and couldn't be happier with how I've recovered in just 17 days (e.g. On Monday, I had a 16 miler at 7:20-7:30 pace with the last 4 miles at sub-7 (this run actually was unintentionally and unavoidably extended to 19 miles); recovered with 4.5 miles yesterday, and then put in a solid interval workout on the track this morning...and I feel great!).
If you're training for your first mile, 5k, half-marathon, marathon, or whatever else is out there, and you are experiencing little niggles and injuries, take some time to reflect on what you are doing to optimize your body's recovery. When you work out, you are breaking muscle tissue. This is normal. But your daily choices should be helping your body repair the damage and get you ready for the next session! Again, I'd love to read comments and engage in a conversation with anyone out there with questions or suggestions of their own.
Took this one just for fun! I never run with a phone but I decided I wanted to take some pics for the blog.
Morning interval workout at Duniway Track!
1.5 mile warm-up and drills
3 x 600 w/ 200 meter jog in-between
800 meter jog after the 3 600's
2 x 600 meters w/200 meter jog in-between
1.5 cool-down back to the apt.
Drills after a 1.5 mile warm-up and before I start the intervals.
Only my second time in these ASICS DS Racers and they are incredibly light and comfortable (for my feet, not everyone's!). Definitely built for speed!