Saturday, November 10, 2012

Some "off" season goals

Goals for the "off" season:

A "Perfect day"
I ran outside today and "Popcorned"**  the Perfect 10 race which happened on the lakefront on my usual running route. It was a beautiful day to run with perfect running weather of around 50 degrees.  During the short 4  miles I was out there (maybe 2 miles actually within the race) I felt fat and slow which got me thinking about how to change that- especially after seeing Tera Moody fly by me with a considerable lead over the entire field of runners (she won the race and beat all the guys too!) I decided to make a list of goals and ways to become stronger and more well rounded.....

**Popcorn- Brasilian Portuguese Slang word for "Race Bandit" because you "pop" into and out of the race.


I want to roll into 2013 feeling stronger than ever. I also want to do my best to "prevent" any more injuries, since I believe my neglect has caused a majority of them.

What I need to remember is what happened during my first year of High School Cross Country.

  • I ran the first 3 mile race of the season (injured) in around 30 minutes. I spent the next 2-3 months being a gym rat  doing strength training, treading water in a pool, and not running at all until a week or 2 before the final race The last race of the season I dropped my 3 mile time to 24 minutes. BAM!  Proof strength training works. Why I always skip it is beyond me... [Insert comment about being lazy]

In order to prevent/ correct existing injuries and become a faster runner I will finally listen to the advice my wonderful  coach for the marathon told me multiple times and....... begin to strength train.

  • Continue with strength training after nearly every run. Which means about 3-4 days a week.
    • I've come to realize that you get out of running/working out what you put into it. Yes, I dropped my marathon time by 25 minutes because I was running a lot, but I also wasn't strength training, so I got an ITB issue and ankle issue out of simply running and not nourishing my muscles with other activities to keep them balanced.
  • Incorporate other fitness activities into my routine. 
    • Like Nike Training Club (because it gives a set of exercises to do with demonstrations which I find interesting), or Bikram Yoga, or even swimming (just never in lake Michigan. never). 
  • Eat a bit healthier, drink less craft beers to lose the muffin top.  I've gained weight and gotten "doughy" after my marathon. 
    • I've taken weeks of rest post marathons, and am no longer running 40+ miles a week- i'm lucky these days to break 10 miles total for a week. Something's gotta give. Balance is where it's at. Portion size is my vice. So is craft beer.
  • Keep my running mileage on the low side, and mix in some speed work here and there.
    • 20-30 miles a week tops until the injuries have sorted themselves out which gives time for strength training and much needed rest. 
  • No stretching.. OK limited stretching. (For Kim)  :)
    • My bad hip flexor injury was caused by stretching. I over did it. POP. Instant pain for way too long. Ever since January 2012, I no longer do static stretches.(like bend over and touch your toes). Its so easy to over do it and not realize until its too late and then youre in pain and cant lift your leg at all. (That's a lie, I'll do static Soleus muscle stretches and a few other specific area "stretches" only because I'm confident there is no way to strain whatever it is im stretching- which those end up being more like yoga poses anyways...)
    • I use the first parts of my runs to warm up if im going to run fast. I never just decide to run a fast 800 'cold." After 15 minutes of easy running, Im confident I wont tear a muscle while doing a tempo run or 800 because I wasn't properly stretched out. Hasn't happened yet and I doubt it ever will.
    • If I must stretch, I do dynamic stretches.  I'll do these before I hop on the tread, or sometimes after a warmup and before a half marathon or 5K. I find it would be difficult to strain something while doing a dynamic stretch, but that's just my opinion. I'm sure many people would disagree and say stretching is so incredibly necessary. To each his own.
  • I want to be in the best shape of my life.
    • A lean, mean, running machine haha I just want my "nice" jeans to continue to fit me. Oh, and to be able to beat all of my Daad's PR's from the past 10 years... I doubt i'll ever come close to his 16 minute 5K  from 30 years ago. Bust seriously, I just want to continue to improve and drop my times for as long as possible. Im competitive with myself.
Other Goals
  • Remember to not let running take over my life.
    • Hard, when I have a "running" themed blog and enjoy the sport so much. But seriously there is more to life than running, especially when it is not paying my bills.
  • Keep exercising and running fun.
    • Take the pup for runs more once he's healed, go for runs with friends, participate in running clubs or other fitness events in the city. Continue to take photos during my runs. 
  • Challenge myself outside of "fitness."
    • Become much much much better at Portuguese so I can communicate with my future in-laws Mae & Pai, and friends when I visit Brasil next year in a few short months.
    • Cook more often
    • Keep our apartment cleaner and better organized.
    • Play with the CB dog more on days we don't run.
Injury Update:

"Off" season because Im still somewhat injured and not training for anything. After 2 weeks of half-assed strength training (consisting of squats, reps of leg extensions, some upper body weight lifting exercises I dont know the names of and the Myrtl routine) after each run, Ive noticed a HUGE difference in the way my ITB is responding on runs and in life in general. *The ITB never gave me any problems until the Fox Valley Marathon in September.*  My longest runs have topped out around 5 miles since then (with most around 2-3 miles), and now Im not experiencing the tightness or stiffness in the ITB during these runs, yet it is still present in different forms. (Like getting up after sitting with my legs crossed- it is cranky)

The ankle is still swollen and has some minor discomfort when walking in flat shoes, and while running. I've recently tried to "provoke" it (I don't recommend thisI know my limits and listen to my body and won't ever put my self in a place where I will injure myself further. No workout is worth it.) to see if it will get worse, stay the same, or even get better.**I did this with my hip flexor strain a few months after it happened because it was consistently achy even if I didnt run for a month. I had to know if running would make it worse- at that point running did not aggravate it**  Basically I start pushing the pace to do fast 400's or 800's to see what will happen during/after a run. So far it doesnt get better or worse. Maybe after a few beers I'll massage the hell out of it to see what will happen. A massage which focused on digging into my hip flexor nearly 7 months post injury finally made the achy feeling go away- also made me cry in pain at the time. So maybe a good massage is all my ankle needs. I do some peroneal tendon exercises a few times a day, but i'm not feeling any benefit so far.

I now need to print this out and post it everywhere- my office, my bathroom mirror, the Churro Dog, etx so I make good on these goals. 



  1. These are great tips for us injury bound people! You rock lady!

    1. Thanks! Just stating the obvious right? :) And yet it's easy to forget strength training until something goes wrong...

  2. Wonderful goals (and great reminders for myself)

  3. Great goals. I have been thinking I should write down some off season type goals too. I have them in my head, but should really spit them out. My mileage has also been very low the last couple months, but right now that feels pretty good. Although I am going to have to start thinking about training soon. I hope your IT band and ankle quits being bad soon.

    Keep up the strength training :)

  4. you just reminded me that i need to make off season goals. It just snuck up on me - now the season is over! Strength training is my main goal too, yet i never seem to keep up with it, until something starts hurting. I think keeping running fun is a great goal! :)

  5. Great goals! You will have a great year!

  6. Sounds like a good plan. I have strength training and yoga on my list of things to do in the off season. I want to be stronger all around, but man it is hard to get motivated. Too bad I don't live closer to Chicago or I would recruit you to be my accountability gym buddy!:).

  7. Sounds like some great goals. I got lazy during marathon training and was so focused on getting in all my runs, I didn't always make time for strength work. I'm still racing through winter (at least through the F3 at the end of January), but I'm definitely trying to make strength and also yoga a priority, in addition to running. There are a few classes (Body Sculpt, Pilates, Yoga) at my gym that I like, my goal is to make it to at least 2/week. If I have a set time, that really helps motivate me to go and actually do the work, versus if I just tell myself I'll go and do my own stuff with weights and resistance bands.

    Oh and I'm so with you on portion size being a weakness, I've always had trouble with not "clearing my plate" and I keep eating until I'm stuffed or the food is gone. And alcohol is a hurdle too. Now that I don't have the marathon hanging over my head, if I want a glass or wine or a beer, I go for it. It hasn't caught up with me yet but I'm sure it will if I don't watch out.

  8. Nows your down time, so don't pressure yourself into thinking you have to always be in the best shape. You worked your tushie off for that PR, so a bit of doughy rest is well deserved;) But your goals seem great moving on into 2013, and that strength training will do WONDERS for your running. Promise.

    Liking the pink theme here, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

  9. Strength training is so important and so easy to neglect! I'm getting back to it now and hope my running will benefit from it next season.

  10. I have never heard of provoking an injury. But, sometimes when I sit out awhile due to an injury, I am afraid to run until it is 100% healed. But building strength around the injury also aids the recovery. So, sometimes it is beneficial for me to run on an "almost recovered" injury as long as it feels say 80 to 90% healed. A week or two later, I often don't notice it any longer. That said, it could work the other way and I occasionally make it worse by jumping back in to soon.

    1. Provoke might be too strong of a word... I think I was going more for "testing" put the injury. I'm always afraid I'll make whatever the ailment is worse. But I do get frustrated with these issues which seem to linger on and on regardless of the time taken off. :)

    2. Yeah it is definitely frustrating. My ankle took several weeks to heal last year when I gave it 100% rest (except for swimming). Doctor said that parts of the ankle get almost no blood flow, so it takes a lot longer for it to heal than other parts of the body that have better blood flow. Luckily, my doctor banned me from running for four weeks.

  11. I am bummed your ankle is still being a little biznatch! Sigh!

    I hope you do incorporate strength more and more! It really has helped me. But, I am lazy too. I have to pay someone to make me do it.

    The massage therapist told me I need to stretch more yesterday. But Char says no!!!! :P

  12. These are all fantastic goals. lol on your word popcorned haha. I've only bandited a race once, and I did it bad - because I actually finished in the chute, which is a cardinal sin. I was an idiot about that haha

    I'm with you on doing consistent strength training to keep away injuries. I'm getting back to this now, doing at least 3 strength workouts a week or yoga along with running. My body is already feeling better it seems like.

    And I love your new blog header pic - Chicago!

  13. Such inspiring goals, especially the strength training!!! You are such an incredibly talented runner at the outset that I can only imagine how gravity-defying you'd be after incorporating all of these fitness goals. Seriously.

    I laughed out loud at your comment about printing this out and putting it everywhere, including on CB. Hilarious!!!