Spring has sprung and the weather has FINALLY warmed up! Living on an isthmus has exposed me to freezing winter temps. Lake Mendota and Monona have defrosted and I am crawling out of hibernation. It is time to hang up my parka and dust off my lulu lemon tank tops.
Now that the weather is warmer, I’m eager to ditch the “dreadmill” and train on the outdoor trails for race season. My work out schedule hasn’t been as intense as it had been when I was training for a half marathon. Before I start my running schedule, there are some precautions I need to take.
I ran my first half marathon this past summer in Chicago and when I finished, felt EXHAUSTED – as if the last two miles would never end! Afterwards, my friend from school texted me and told me that she wanted me to join her in the Madison Half Marathon. My sore legs and stiff feet told me to hold off. After giving the idea some thought, I decided to modify my training routine and run the other half while I’m still in shape.
Two halves make a whole, right?!
For the second half marathon, I decided that I needed to put more thought into recovery. I did stretch when training for the first half but didn’t put much thought or research into it. For my second round of training, I made an effort to avoid the “sore legs and stiff feet” by focusing on these tips:
Stretch It Out
Before every high school lacrosse practice, my team and I would go through our dynamic stretching routine ( stretching while you are moving ). This type of stretching is best before a workout because it gets your blood pumping and improves joint movement. Save the static stretching for after your workout.
* This is especially important if you run in the morning, when you first roll out of bed. *
Roll It Out
Foam rolling helps with mobility of the fascia. Fascia is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds muscles and if not stretched, can become cross linked and bind to muscles and nerves. This inhibits normal motion and can cause pain. Foam rolling is used to add pressure to scar tissue and soft tissue to free up your fascia. This results in an increase of structure mobility and circulation and a decrease in muscle and joint pain.
~Fun fact: if you loosen up your IT band, calves, and glutes with a foam roller, it will help your squat range of motion and therefore, help you build the booty! #booyah
Walk It Out
When you work up a sweat, your heart rate raises and your veins expand to supply your active muscles with more oxygen and nutrients. If you stop abruptly, your heart rate will slow down. If your leg muscles stop contracting, they can’t help push blood up and against gravity, so the blood will pool in your legs. This can leave you feeling dizzy and can be harmful to your heart health. Walk it out after a workout to cool off and keep your heart happy!
After running, especially for long distances, your blood glucose levels drop significantly. Have you ever seen those chews that distance runners carry around? Those are VERY high in sugar and carbs because it provides energy quickly! My fave brand of gummies is Honey Stinger.
This is your excuse to dig into your favorite carb – filled dish! If you don’t carb up before, during, and even after, your body can’t function properly, let alone carry you 13.1 miles. Headaches, blurry vision, dizziness, and trouble concentrating all can be a result of low glucose.
Protein is a great for recovery because it aids in building and repairing your muscles. At the finish line of the Madison Half, volunteers passed out chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is a perfect post workout snack because it has the sugar and carbs from the chocolate along with the protein from the milk!
Are you really in Wisconsin if you aren’t consuming some form of dairy??!
What’s your tip for training season?!