That race was such a learning experience for me. I fought so hard to get through my stomach issues and then my legs cramping as a result of having to slow down so much. I fought to stay positive and to focus on the fact that I was setting a huge PR though the race did not go at all as I had planned. It was so NOT easy. And it was so worth it. No regrets. I know I would have regrets about this race if I didn’t do the right things to recover though, plain and simple.
|me at the finish line, still fighting: so ready to be done|
I spent the last two weeks on a roller coaster of sorts – lots of ups and lots of downs. If it weren’t for my twice-weekly strength training routines at the gym (think lunges, squats, planks, upper body and core work), yoga, Pilates (teaching it and doing it) walking and light runs I don’t know how I would have gotten through it all. I mean that on a physical level but also on emotional and mental levels, too. I’ve learned a lot from this recovery period — the benefits of taking time off from hard training go beyond just resting the muscles.
One of the things that I’m taking away from this is that slowing down helped me identify areas of imbalance in my body. Namely, my glutes are weak and I need to give them a little extra TLC to get those puppies stronger. The LVM was a sickeningly hilly course and my glutes were firing in overdrive that day. My glutes/hips felt so tight so I was using the foam roller and a racquet ball to get deep within the muscles to loosen them up. I did it so much that I actually irritated the topmost layer of the muscles (no visible bruising, but tender to the touch! It’s ok, you can laugh at me – I don’t mind. I have been laughing at myself over that for the past day and a half! Anyway, it’s been good to have this time to focus on my strength and flexibility because I truly believe that it is essential in helping me feel GOOD in my body (whether running or not!) and of course I also believe it helps me be a stronger runner.
So – now that I will be resuming my normal training regime I will be incorporating more strength/flexibility exercises into my routine. Prior to the race I was doing strength training 2x a week and Pilates almost every day. Now I am going to add specific glute-strengthening exercises and yoga to my repertoire. I know I won’t regret it. In talking with Dr. Wong yesterday he suggested I do my core work and squats/lunges BEFORE my runs every day. That way the muscles aren’t wiped out from running when I go to do the exercises. I think it should be fairly simple – it really doesn’t take much time at all and I will already be dressed and ready for exercise. As with everything else, it’s just a matter of MAKING THE TIME for myself to do it and not giving myself any excuses not to. The benefits of doing this so greatly outweigh the inconvenience of making the time to do it.
So, tell me …. what do you do to work on strength and flexibility and how do you fit it into your routine? Have you identified specific areas of weakness or imbalance in your body? What are you doing to fix that?
** Don’t forget to enter my Endorphin Warrior training bracelet giveaway! Contest ends Tuesday 9/27 at midnight. Click HERE to enter! **