Adjusting Goals

This coming weekend I am registered to race Ironman Kansas 70.3.  My original goal for this race was to break 6:00:00.  Unfortunately I am going to have to adjust my goals for this race since I am just coming back from an injury.

I am hopeful to have no problem with the 1.2 mile swim and the 56 mile bike portions of the race.  The run is where I am going to have some decisions to make.  While I ran pain free for the first time on Saturday since May 5 (nearly 4 weeks), my left knee is still not “normal.”  My knee feels relatively normal while running, but afterwards, it feels wonky…not painful, just not normal.

After having a successful 3+ mile run on Saturday and another successful 1 mile run off the bike on Sunday, I decided to run for 50 minutes yesterday (Wednesday).  I had no pain at all while running, but my knee is still not healed and back to normal.  I am continually icing, stretching, elevating, getting ART treatments and resting when I can to help with the recovery process.

My “A” race this year is IRONMAN Wisconsin on September 7.  I know that I want to be 100% for IMWI and because of this, I am going to play it smart and not push to regression or further injury.

How does this impact my upcoming race?  Well…I am planning to start the race on Sunday, hopeful that I will successfully finish the swim and bike, but knowing that I may pull myself from the race at some point during the run to prevent further injury.

This does NOT mean that I am giving up on my goal of breaking 6:00:00 at 70.3 distance race.  I WILL continue to work hard and achieve this goal someday…just not this weekend.  My goal for this weekend is to not regress and set myself up to finish this racing season strong!!

Don't give up on Goals

Have you ever started a race knowing you may DNF?

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Courage and ART…Running Update

The last 6 weeks, I’ve been fighting a bit of an injury.  While I haven’t been sidelined from all activity, I have been sidelined from running for the last 4 weeks.  I typically go to physical therapy when injured, but I decided to try something different this time around and the results…well…I’ll let them speak for themselves.

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Dr. Chris Feil is a Chiropractor who does active release therapy (ART) here in Ames.  He has worked with a variety of athletes in many different athletic fields.  He runs with Team Vardo (our local running group) and was confident that he could get me back in my running shoes pounding the pavement in no time.  I let him know that I had never been to a chiropractor before, but I was willing to give him a try and let him work some magic.

What is ART?  According to Active Release Techniques, “ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.”

After seeing Dr. Chris four times in less than 2 weeks, he told me to try running for 20-30 minutes this weekend and see how everything feels.  I have to admit, I was VERY nervous and this is where the courage came in.

Courage

Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.  I was definitely frightened to go out and test the legs.  “What ifs” infiltrated my mind…What if it would hurt to run?  What if I do more damage to my knee?  What if I don’t feel any pain while running, but find out later I’ve regressed?  What if, what if, what if???

I decided to run on the trails in the park by our house since it is relatively flat and I wouldn’t be far from home.  Courage…

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I started off really easy and could feel that I was compensating for what I thought I might feel instead of what I was feeling.  I really focused on not letting my body make compensations, forcing myself to relax and just run.  It turned out better than I could have expected!!  I have some work to do to get my speed  and distance back, but I will take the slower pace if it means I can run pain free 🙂

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Dr. Chris has definitely worked some magic and I am forever grateful that he has gotten me back in my running shoes pounding the pavement.  If you are currently riding that injury train or toying with a ride on it, I would definitely recommend visiting Dr. Chris.  He’ll get you off that train and moving again in no time 😉

When have you had to be courageous?  What do you do to help come back strong after injuries?  Have you tried ART?  If so, how did it work for you?

Mind vs. Body

When you feel like your body is giving out on you, sometimes it is really your mind telling your body it is tired or your can’t do it…Do you listen to your mind or your body when the going gets tough?

healthy body & mind

“It takes tremendous discipline, mental strength, and trust to make smart training decisions when dealing with an injury. You have to listen to what your body needs versus what your mind wants.”

~Carrie Cheadle

If there is a chance for injury, it is really important to listen to your body.  I’ve had to listen to my body recently as what started out as a niggle has turned into a more substantiated pain in my shin.  My pain tolerance is relatively high, and I would probably still be in a more serious training mode if I didn’t have Ironman Wisconsin just a short 10 months away.  I went to the doctor this last week and had x-rays done…no stress fractures or broken bones.  I have been prescribed two weeks of physical therapy and rest…what the doctor considers to be rest and what an endurance athlete considers to be rest are COMPLETELY different.

Carrie Cheadle couldn’t be more right…it has taken a great deal of “discipline, mental strength and smart training decisions” over the last week to focus on healing instead of pushing through the pain.  I’m sure it will continue to be a challenge for a few more weeks, but I am hopeful…hopeful that when I go to physical therapy on Monday, I’ll be allowed to start adding a few more things back into my training regimen.  Until then…discipline, mental strength and smart training decisions will have to be my new best friends…humph…

Recovery…The Most Important Workout

Many athletes neglect to properly recover after tearing down their bodies during workouts.  Recovery is very important for the body to rebuild itself and to do so stronger than it was before so we can optimize performance.  Without proper recovery, our bodies are more prone to injury, fatigue, “dead legs” and overtraining.

What do I do to help promote proper recovery?

1.  Stretching and Foam Roller…I stretch and foam roller after workouts targeting my quads, hamstrings, glutes, IT bands, hips, spine and calves.

Foam Rollering my IT band after a "dress rehearsal" workout for my upcoming race.
Foam Rollering my IT band after a “dress rehearsal” workout for my upcoming race.

2.  Compression Socks…After a tough workout I make sure to wear my compression socks to reduce swelling.

CEP recovery socks...thinking of going to recovery tights soon!!
CEP recovery socks…thinking of going to recovery tights soon!!

3.  Refueling…I make sure to rehydrate and get some good protein in my system within the first 20 minutes after a tough workout.  Peanut Butter Protein Balls  and Chocolate Almond Milk seem to work quite well!!

These are peanut butter protein balls...not what they really look like!!
These are peanut butter protein balls…not what they really look like!!

4.  Sleep….I love me a good nap.  Especially when I get to snuggle with Basil…

Basil and I cuddling at nap time!!
Basil and I cuddling at nap time!!

5.  Massage…I try to see a professional massage therapist at least once a month.

6.  Yoga…I find that when I incorporate yoga into my training I stay injury free 🙂

I prefer hot yoga, but sometimes I have to sacrifice and attend regular yoga.
I prefer hot yoga, but sometimes I have to sacrifice and attend regular yoga.

Everyone has their own recovery tips and strategies.  Some people take recovery very seriously and find that their efforts really help optimize their performance.  Here are a few tips and strategies that some pros use:  Training tip recovery secrets from the professionals

What recovery tips and strategies do you incorporate into your training so you can optimize your performance???