Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rolling for Recovery

Do you roll? I know I think about it, I say I'm going to, and then, well, let's just say my roller spends more time as a sword in the playroom than as a recovery device. I should do it, and I'm trying to make it more of a regular habit. 

If you're new to foam rolling, there are some key concepts to keep you safe and make the rolling most effective for your recovery. 

First, what is it for and why do we do it? Not to get too nerdy on you, foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. Fancy sounding, but it's basically targeting the tissue that weaves through and around your muscles and bones. It's the same concept as massage therapy, but you are using these tools (roller, ball, stick, etc.) so you can do it yourself. Studies show that this can help after workouts to reduce soreness, increase flexibility, and decrease recovery time. Less known, though, is that this is also great as a warmup/pre-workout routine to increase bloodflow to the muscles. 


Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Roll and move around each area for 15-60 seconds, keeping your tool moving slowly and not stopping in any one place.

2. Never roll over joints, like your shoulder and knee. Do your lower leg, then move to the upper leg, skipping the knee completely, for example. 

3. Rolling is great for soreness. Rolling is NOT great for injured areas. If you have an injury, like a stabbing pain or a significant strain, don't roll on that area. Wait for some healing to happen, then you can add rolling back into your routine for injury prevention and health in that area. (By the way, the same applies to stretching--don't over stretch an injury; more is not better).
4. Start with short sessions, then increase as your body adapts. If you are really tight, it's going to hurt. The more you work through the tightness, the longer you will be able to roll. I admit, when I roll my calves I still cannot put all my weight on the roller and can't go for long. It's definitely a work in progress.

5. Do both sides! Maybe you have a nagging injury that comes back if you don't take good care of yourself (ahem, my knees...). Even though your right side may be your achy side, don't neglect the left. I've learned the hard way that imbalances often lead to new injuries. 

Five tips is a nice round number, so we'll leave it at that for now! I've been toying around with making some videos. Maybe an instructional foam rolling video needs to happen! 

What other questions do you have? 

A note about my certification: I was certified by the company "Trigger Point" for group fitness foam rolling techniques. They have now merged training with the "Rock Tape" company. I definitely want to continue exploring this area!


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I just needed a moment...

Last week was rough in my world, as it was in so many of yours. Did anyone else just need a moment? I was not blind to the very real possibility that the New York City Marathon would be cancelled. I was not prepared for the tears. Not because of the race, but because it was just one more thing.

Here in New York, gyms have no reopening date. I realize for many, this is just an "adjust course" type of thing, but the gym is also my place of employment. No, I don't pay my mortgage with that money, but I do contribute to my household, and with Bill also out of work, we need to be back at work in whatever capacities possible. 

The cancellation of New York also means the likelihood of Wine and Dine happening is getting smaller and smaller. I won't give up all hope until they make the official call, but the writing is on the wall. I keep telling myself: they will make the field smaller, they will allow deferrals, it's already the smallest race, it's all the way in November. We have all of our plans done. We will probably go anyway just to get away (unless we are still in quarantine on either end). I'm changing course as to why we were going and running all the races (clearly 40 races won't be happening with fall being cancelled). I'm just sitting here, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Then there's the whole training thing. I had penciled in my plan a few weeks ago. I'm supposed to start today. I haven't even wrapped my head around rewriting 6 months of plans, let alone letting go of the A race marathon that was supposed to be my easy slide into the Dopey Challenge. Now, I have to figure out how I'm doing Dopey. 

So, if you need a moment, take it! Hopefully I'll be back soon with new plans, new races on the calendar, and feeling hopeful again for the future world, post-quarantine!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Tips to Create Your Own Training Plan

I totally get it! Not everyone is ready or able to invest in a running coach (but if you are, I happen to know of a GREAT one, cough cough). When you've got your registration, the next thing that usually comes to mind is, "Oh crap, I have to train for this thing!" At least, I hope you are starting to think about training.

Coach Google has TONS of free training plans. runDisney has official training plans. If you're new, though, where do you even begin? What happens if you miss a run? What if you want to start training early? Help! Don't worry, I got you!

The insipration of this post came from many questions in all the runDisney groups, followed by some really good and REALLY bad advice. If you're new and asking those questions, I think it's safe to say that you probably don't know which is which. Oh, and by the way, that's OKAY! We were all new once, and you learn by asking, doing, asking again, reading, watching, and experimenting. Before you know it, you'll be dishing out advice (and hopefully it'll be the good kind)! 

Tip #1: Work backwards from the race date.
I'm a total paper/pencil planner type, so I will print calendars, work backwards, and design my plan from end to beginning. 

Tip #2: Add in holidays, special events, travel, or other races. 
After putting those on top of the plan, you likely will have to move things around. This is where it gets a little tricky. You really need to be sure you give yourself enough rest, especially in the taper weeks leading up to race day. You also don't want to increase your weekly mileage by too much. A good rule of thumb is to increase by no more than 10% in a week. 

Tip #3: If your plan doesn't start yet, build a base!
I see this the most--people have no idea what to do when the plan they have chosen doesn't start yet. I've seen some crazy suggestions out there! Here's my simple formula for base building: take the number of days per week you will run during the training plan, and work up to that number of days. Don't worry about mileage. This is also when you can add some speed training to help your pace. 

Tip #4: Be flexible, but don't try to "make up" your runs.
Life happens. Accept that some runs just won't get done. The worst thing you can do is try to double up or make up those runs. Like Elsa, just let it go! It's the overall commitment and quality of your training that will get you to the finish, not any one, single run.

Tip #5: Stay the course.
You may be tempted to see another plan, see another runner's posts, Google again, or just wing it and want to change things up. Plans are designed with purpose and build systematically. Stick with your plan. Don't bounce around. If you follow the plan, you will be successful! 

Best of luck on your training! 

Don't know where to start? Here are some links to get you going:
Hal Higdon plans: https://www.halhigdon.com/

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Global Running Day

Today is Global Running Day. We are also in the middle of chaos. Nothing in life lives inside a sterile vaccum. Today is a day I would usually get out, run a few miles, throw up a few hashtags and connect with my fellow runners. As I sit here this morning, I don't even know if I have it in me. Live is heavy right now. This blog is about magic, Disney, the fun of running, but I don't live in a bubble. 

So today, I will run. I will run heavy. I will think and reflect on what I have learned and the many things I still need to learn. I will run fueled by stress, by sadness, by worry and by the weight of my own responsibility. 

Global Running Day. Becuase "Happy" just doesn't seem to fit this year.

Monday, May 11, 2020

April 2020 Month in Review

This blog, at its core, is a way for me to log our journey, running and enjoying Disney. April was a wild month, and by wild, I mean lots of time at home, sitting, working and not doing anything fun. Sitting here now, I know this time of the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine will be a distant memory sometime, just not right now. April was hard. Bill was laid off in March, so I worked crazy hours making up the income. Luckily my work from home job provided the needed hours, so we didn't need to dip into savings or our running/Disney fund. For my fitness, though, the closing of the gym and added hours of sitting have not been so great. People, the "quarantine 15" is REAL!

I did manage a few workouts a week, trying to stick to my Bodypump schedule (with no bar, but at least some decent-sized weights) and kept teaching Strong by Zumba virtually. I ran here and there, but definitely didn't get in as many miles as I'd hoped for. I have developed a new, nagging hip injury (yippee), so had to take some time off and have reduced my speed and miles. My nutrition was everywhere, drank too much wine, and definitely loaded up on the sugar. I hope you didn't come here for inspiration!

May is my last month of unplanned running before jumping into my NYC Marathon training plan. I have some small goals, some big goals, but mostly the goal of just to get into a better routine. What's your plan for the month?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday 5: Workouts at Home

Stuck at home? Need to workout? Don't worry, I've got you covered! I rounded up some of my favorite at home workouts for this week's Friday 5! Check them out, and let me know what you think!

1. Virtual Running with New York Road Runners
Love running with NYRR
In general, I'm not a super-fan of virtual races, however we are in trying times, and sometimes you need some motivation. Last year, I did the virtual NYC marathon to gain entry to this year's race. It was crazy intense, but I also found the awesome community of NYRR virtual racing! These races are a bit more serious than other virtuals. You have to upload proof of completion through Strava, there is a wonderful, international online community for support, and there are ways to run virtually to gain entry to some of the most popular road races. I've already signed up (for FREE) for the 5k this month. Check out their site for the full schedule HERE

2. Les Mills On Demand
It's no secret that I love teaching Les Mills classes at my gym. Since most gyms (if not all) are shut down, they have made even more content available for free to keep you fit from home. My favorite, BodyPump, is definitely a challenge without the fancy bar and step, but I've been able to make some small modifications to use the weights I have at home. You can find everything from dance to yoga. Check it out HERE

3. Beachbody On Demand
(Affiliate link: If you click the link and purchase a package, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!)
It's no secret that I love my Beachbody On Demand too! There are so many amazing programs, nutritional supports, and full guides to help you stay on track. I personally love Shaun T the most, but I've yet to find a workout I don't love. I highly recommend following a program (or two--look for some hybrid schedules) to ensure you have a good balance in your weekly routine. Reach out if you'd like some guidance--I'd love to help! You can find BOD HERE

4. Strong by Zumba
If you want a high intensity workout, seriously, get to a Strong by Zumba class! I am currently doing live classes twice a week on Zoom (come find me on FB and join in), or you can do a sample workout HERE There's no cha cha cha in this format! Think burpees, biceps and beats!

5. Virtual Spartan Race
Last year a friend at the gym convinced me to do a Spartan race, and I actually had a lot of fun! We had a big team and it was short enough to manage. Spartan has put together a virtual option, giving us a whole list of self-made "obstacles" to do along with a run. I even know of a few groups who are doing it, then getting together on Zoom afterwards to share their results. It's a great option for runners who want to switch up their regular routine. Check it out HERE

Finally, I wouldn't be me if I didn't also add my words of caution. Please be mindful of where you get your exercise advice, especially now. Everyone is a home workout expert on Facebook these days. Many of us have gone through years of education, training and assessment to call ourselves fitness professionals. Even more, though, have not. Working out at home presents some of its own risk: no one is there to correct your form, monitor your effort, or give advice. Be safe, and be selective about what or who you follow. I'm always here to help, so never hesitate to reach out!

I'd love to hear about how you are staying fit at home! Drop me a comment below!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A New runDisney Era

After Thursday's record sellout of the virtual races and the craze of Wine and Dine registration, I feel we are in a new, yet familiar, runDisney era. We have warped back in time to earlier years when registration frenzies were a regular occurrence and getting in the race was (almost) harder than running the race.

Sadly, I missed out on registration for the Haunted Mansion race. I'm hoping some magical extra registrations come up. I mean, really, why not make some extra cash runDisney? No, I don't actually expect this to happen, but hey, a girl can dream!


There is something fun about returning to the insane runDisney days, though. I made some great friends in those years. Those were years of lots of travel, PRs, park days, and fun. There were blogger meetups with celebrities and swag. There were new races, familiar races, and legacy races. Most importantly, we were in a time of thriving, not in a time of international pandemic like we have never seen before.

So thank you, everyone who has made runDisney insane again. It gives me hope that we will all run again, together, very soon. Stay safe. Train smart. I can't wait to be back at Disney World in November to enjoy all 3 races at Wine and Dine. Love you all!

Note to new runners: I am in the process of updating our most popular posts: So You Want To Run Disney?  This is a great series that walks you step by step through runDisney races. Stay tuned! I can't wait to share the updates!