Sunday, September 30, 2012

'Holistic' running

I purchased 3 books recently.

1. Chi Running - my guide for everyday running. Surprisingly, I didn't own a copy till now. A borrowed copy sat on my nightstand till date. (That's right...don't lend me any books, especially any that you want returned right away. I will return them eventually, but I may need a few not-too-gentle reminders). I am now the proud owner of a copy of this incredible book. I can confidently say that this one technique has elevated my running to a whole new level. Just a few sessions with David Stretanski, Chi running coach, have helped tremendously. David is an amazing individual. He is extremely passionate about Chi running, has trained with Danny Dreyer, and is dedicated to helping runners who are struggling with their running. I am one of his biggest fans!

2. The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies - the author is a sports physician whose method of treatment and bedside manner I denounced not too recently - in almost an entire blog post. Setting aside my ego though, I have to say, Dr. Metzl's total body killer workout has me conditioned like I've never been before. I can barely recognize my body. And while sore as hell, my recovery from races and hard workouts have been unbelievably quick. I have to hand it to the guy. His method works.

3. The Vital Psoas Muscle - I found this title on the internet while I was searching for something else. It intrigued me. The entire journey of finding the root of my innumerable running injuries and preventing them from happening has led me to constantly explore and learn different techniques. One of my latest challenges has been to isolate and engage my core when running while relaxing the rest of my body. My hips and glutes tend to tighten as well, resulting in an angry butt and hips. I'm learning that the trick is to be conscious of a good posture, straight spine and engaged core throughout the day. It not only helps me run better, it alleviates the soreness and helps me bounce back quicker from workouts. I've only started reading this book, and love it - the descriptions and illustrations are great; core alignment, stretching, strengthening - they are all in there.

My week looks like this:
- An hour of plyometric workouts once or twice a week.
- 40-45 minute Pilates routine twice a week, to which I tag on some BOSU ball exercises.
- I've attended a few Tai-Chi classes and have incorporated the Dan-jon breathing exercises into my daily wake-up ritual (which includes body-looseners followed by breathing exercises and yoga sitting poses).
- 4-5 days of running a week (1 long run, 1 interval workout and 2-3 easy runs - I try not to fixate on weekly mileage totals, but it generally is in the low 30s to high 40s). 
- A physical therapy tune-up once every 3 weeks.
I'd love to be able to add an hour of swimming and an hour of biking a week, but that has not been happening. The above schedule in addition to a 40-45 hour work week, a 50 minute commute to work one way, relatively healthy eating (cooking and meal prep is a tad time-consuming) 6-8 hours of sleep a night (which I try not to compromise on), and a little fun and family time leave me with very little time for anything else in life. You're right - I need a life!  
But I can't be happier with my running. In the past few months, I'm understanding what 'listening to your body' really means. I've had a lof of a-ha moments, and every discovery has been gratifying. When you've been injured as often as I have, you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. There is still a part of me that is terrified of the next injury. But I am getting more confident. My running form is far from perfect, but I am constantly learning, adapting, changing. And that is what I enjoy the most about my running.
The PRs have been a great boost. The fall racing season has started and while I didn't add any 5K PRs (third woman at the Jimmy D 5K - 19:21 and fifth woman at the XC 5K championship at 19:33), I squeezed in a slim PR at the Newport Liberty Half Marathon at 1:29:18.     
But I have far greater satisfaction in being confidently injury-free, without needing orthotics or heavily-cushioned shoes that need replacing every 2 months. That is a goal I can strive for and improve upon, even when PRs become a thing of the past!


Andrea Halnon said...

You are fast. Glad you are doing well. I would like to do yoga but I cannot fit one more thing in my exercise life.

Thinnmann said...

Write more often!

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