Blog Posts for a Fabulous Weekend

It’s Friday evening, the start of a few days off, the punctuation at the end of the work week, the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the perfect time to set yourself up for some rest and rejuvenation over the next couple of days.

Need some inspiration to get your weekend off to a great start? Look no further.

After a long week, it’s easy to feel rundown and low energy. From Marie Forleo, what to do when you doubt everything and just wanna stay in bed.

Easy hair is imperative on your days off. Try a subtle twist into a side braid from Cute Girl Hairstyles. I didn’t get it quite right on my first try, but I did on my second, and got lots of compliments on it at the hockey rink last weekend.

After hunching over at work for hours and hours, a good stretch can be just the thing. Try these three yoga postures for rounded shoulders from the Peanut Butter Runner (and now I have peanut butter cups on the brain).

Saturday is the perfect day to get your body moving after a good night’s sleep Friday night. Not eager to workout? Check out what Tara Bliss tells herself when she doesn’t want to move her body and galvanize yourself to get physical.

Wanna tackle some of that clutter? Check out the biggest decluttering mistake you don’t know you’re making from My Love for Words and tweak your approach to make it even more effective. If you need a little more inspiration, check out my three simple steps for easy decluttering.

I’d love to know about any posts you found particularly inspiring or uplifting this week. How are you taking care of yourself this weekend?

Having “The Talk” With My Son, and Other Random Bits

  • No matter what good intentions I have, the e-mails tend to pile up in my inbox.  Today, I started going through a few (hundred) and weeding things out.  In the process, I found this video on foam rolling and thought I’d share because I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who needs to stretch out those legs.
  • I posted here that I was thinking of running the Disneyland Half Marathon.  I checked the website only a few days ago, and at the time, the website said the race was 80% full.  After some discussion with my husband over the past few days, I decided to register today, but sadly and somewhat surprising to me, it was full.  I put my name on the waitlist, but also registered for the Queen City Half Marathon, which runs a week later.  Either way, I’m looking forward to training for a half – and hopefully not getting injured – this summer.
  • My 6 year old son just asked my husband and me what sex is.  The resulting discussion was only semi-awkward.
  • I was up at 4 am again today.  Went back to sleep around 7am.  I am not loving this waking up in the middle of the night thing.  Poor quality sleep makes me feel so terrible all day, and my GI tract was definitely feeling sketchy today as a result.  I’m sure the stress isn’t helping, either.
  • I’m was going to use my tiredness to explain why I didn’t work out today, but the reality is, I just didn’t fit my workout in today, and there was no really good reason for it.  Fitness fail!
  • It’s supposed to be above freezing tomorrow afternoon, so I’m definitely going for a run.  Can’t wait!

I’m calling it a day and heading for bed with fingers crossed that I’ll sleep all night.

How’s the weather where you are?  Are you running outside yet, or do you run on the treadmill year-round?

IT Band Problem

I hesitated to write this post, because sometimes I like the head-in-the-sand approach: if you ignore it, the problem doesn’t exist.  However, I am also a very analytical person, so that approach rarely lasts long, and then I move on with reality.

On my schedule today was a 15k run with a few above-race-pace intervals mixed in.  The first hour went pretty well, and then I noticed some slight soreness along my left hip.  I ran a little more, and then the knee pain showed up.  Sadly, I know what this means: IT band syndrome.  Now that I’ve written that down and faced it, my head is officially out of the sand.

For those of you not familiar, click here to read up.  Unfortunately, though (or maybe fortunately, in this case – I’m not sure yet), I AM familiar with IT band syndrome, having had to stop running for six weeks earlier this year while rehabbing my right IT band and hip muscles.

The sort of good news is that it’s not my right leg, which was originally injured back in the spring.  This time it’s on my left side.  And I also know what I’m going to do to deal with the injury:

  1. Ice it – 4 times per day
  2. Ibuprofen (I’m not saying YOU should do this, though!)
  3. Foam roll both IT bands (don’t want to injure the other side, either!)
  4. Stretch like crazy
  5. Book in to see my physiotherapist ASAP

I wonder if, ironically, recovering from my prior injury contributed to this one.  That is, I was so focused on stretching and foam rolling and icing the right side to prevent re-injury that I forgot to take care of the left side.

While I only got about 10.5k in this morning and am disappointed not to have got my long run am, I am more concerned with injuring myself further, or, even worse, having to stop running and not do the half marathon I’m scheduled to do in 3 weeks.  I think I’ll use the head-in-the-sand approach for this eventuality, at least until I speak to my physiotherapist.

Have you had to deal with IT band syndrome?  What about other injuries?  What’s your favoured approach to dealing?

Exercise Aftermath: Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness

The other day, I asked my husband if he remembers being sore all the time in high school.  He squinted his eyes a little, thought about it for a few seconds, and said, “Yeah, I guess so.”  Not exactly a resounding yes, but close enough.

I remember always being sore during high school – during the school year, at least.  In those days, I was involved in a lot of activities: dance, ringette, badminton, volleyball, judo, gym class, band (okay, so band not a physical activity).  And I realized the other day that those days have returned.

I returned to regular exercise at the end of May 2009, working with a few trainers at my gym over the summer.  I lost ten pounds, increased my fitness level, and developed a fitness habit – fairly easy to maintain that summer with the kids in daycare and me not working or in school (definitely a luxury that most moms don’t have; indeed, the kids were home with me this summer!).  Then the school year started again and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to stick with it.  The trainers I had enjoyed working with at the gym had moved on, and the latest one just wasn’t my cup of tea.  So I asked a couple of my very fit friends if they knew any personal trainers, and one recommended my current trainer, Lindsay, saying that several of her friends had worked with her and she was awesome.

In September, I started meeting my current trainer once a week.  In addition to kicking my butt in the gym, she gave me workouts to do – a high-intensity mix of strength and cardio.  I committed to working out on my own twice a week, for a max of an hour, and usually around 45 minutes – each time.  As a mom and dental student, my schedule is pretty busy, so I felt that I could commit to this, but was leery of trying to fit in more.

Fast forward almost a year, and here I am, having finished my first sprint triathlon, training for my first half marathon, down another twenty pounds (with a little help from my nutritionist), working out four to six times a week, and feeling pretty darn fit.

This brings me to the point of this post (finally!).  I am pretty much ALWAYS sore.  That’s a good thing, because it means I’m still working out hard and my trainer is definitely doing her job.  Still, if there’s any way for me to work out hard and avoid or decrease the delayed-onset muscle soreness I’m experiencing, I’d like to know about it!

What I Learned in My Google Search:

  1. WebMD says there’s no “cure,” but several things can help, including icing, rest, anti-inflammatories (e.g., Advil), massage, heat, and stretching.  They also say that it’s a sign that you’re body is getting stronger, so that’s a good thing.  Click here for the whole article.
  2. This review, however, says that studies show that stretching ISN’T effective in preventing muscle soreness – which isn’t to say you shouldn’t do it for other reasons, like preventing inflexibility and injuries.
  3. This article from Lookgreatnaked suggests that light activity can help.  Massage may also be useful for some people.
  4. Or, maybe massage DOESN’T help, according to SaveYourself.ca.
  5. And apparently epsom salts don’t help either.  See this article for a pretty detailed discussion on this topic.
  6. Be careful in your use of anti-inflammatories like Advil.  This article from Runner’s World says not to take it before or during exercise and suggests it may impair soft-tissue injury repair if taken long-term.

To Sum Up:

Based on the (little bit of) research I did online, nothing really gets rid delayed-onset muscle soreness.  Light activity, anti-inflammatories, and massage may help you feel better, but the gist of it is that only time can fully resolve the problem.  Guess I’ll stick to my approach, which generally involves a hot bath, stretching after my workouts, icing store spots, and Advil when I’m extra achy.

Do you have any post-workout rituals that you find help you deal with delayed-onset muscle soreness?  Or do you take a “time heals all wounds” approach?


Fit Bits for Friday

Just a few random bits I stumbled across this week:

Hydration tips for runners at Runner’s World

The right way to warm up? at The New York Times

Dynamic stretching = good; static stretching = not so much at the Training Peaks Blog

But I really LIKE chocolate milk after a hard workout, so can I ignore this article from The New York Times?

Are side stitches related to what you eat? at Nancy Clark’s blog

Pros and cons of bike training indoors, when you need to beat the heat or escape the cold, at Competitor.com

Tips for transition area setup at Triathlon Magazine Canada

Just because I think Dara Torres is pretty amazing at Shape