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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: Running Recap: Part Deux

As I mentioned in my last post, it's time for me to reflect on what didn't go so well in my running / health areas in 2010. There's always some bad with the good, it's just a matter of keeping it all balanced and realizing how to turn the ugly into something beautiful. Let's see if I can pull off some magic in 2011!

Stretching & Core Strengthening

This is something I had prided myself on and it was why I was finally able to join the London Runner Distance Club. I had tackled my tricky IT band with a PVC pipe as my 'foam roller' and was diligent with my stretching.  Once I got heavy into logging the miles, I wasn't making the time to pamper my body unless i had some type of pain. Always reactive, rarely proactive.

As for core strengthening, again, I let that drop once I was heavy into logging miles. Then I realized it was just this attitude towards my core that caused me the knee pain I battled with over a few months time. If all the pieces in the structure are weak, the structure is weak...regardless of how many miles that structure runs. :)

Get Involved in London's Running Community 

I was just getting back into serious running in June and when I decided to join LRDC I made a commitment to myself to help the group, the local running scene, by volunteering my services in any way I could. Online marketing. Race day volunteer. Photography.

I have still not helped out in any real meaningful way, but I've made it a goal in 2011 and with our running series on the track and on the trails, I am sure I will get tons of chances to help out.

Find an RMT

I've only been saying this for years now and since my return to running last summer, I need one more than ever.  A simple phone call is all it takes, but for some reason, here I am sitting, and I still haven't made the call.

And that my friends, is just about all I can think of that I didn't accomplish in the health and fitness area of my life. I got plenty of sleep all year, ran tons, stretched some, ate extremely healthily and had my fair share of healthy and delicious red wine. :D  The new year is just around the corner and that means a new set of goals to reach.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stretching 101: Achilles Stretch

The dreaded Achilles tendon. Besides being super awesome (it's the thickest and strongest tendon in the human body) it is also very problematic for many runners. Coupling intensity and volume can often times lead to overuse of the tendon.  I felt this very pain late summer last year and through what I can only describe as pure luck, I discovered you can actually stretch it and the benefits had me running again within days.  My wife's also made use of this stretch with great success.  It is now your turn to enjoy it!

Step 1: Sit down on butt with your legs stretched out ahead of you. Bend one leg up towards your chest and grab your heel with one hand and place the other on the bottom of your toes. You should now be able to gently bring your toes towards your shin.  View image 1 above for the proper positioning at the end of this step.

Step 2: Using the hand beneath your toes gently bring your entire foot towards your shin by pulling from beneath the ball of your foot while keeping your toes bent towards your shin as much as possible. Use your judgment here, it is more important to move the ball of the foot towards the shin than it is to have your toes bend up completely. Be cautious, if you keep your toes bent too much, it could cause some mild discomfort. View image 2 above for proper positioning at the end of this step.

Step 3: Continue holding this pose/stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and if you can, slowly bring your toes and the ball of your feet closer to your shin.  You should feel this stretch directly in your Achilles tendon and I guarantee it will take care of all your heel/calf pain you're experiencing because you've been neglecting this stretch.  Keep it in your back pocket, it's a wicked weapon to have.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Running Recap: Part One

Well, 2010 has been a year of monumental shifts in my life. I've had changes in many, many areas of my life, but I'll focus on my health and physical shifts, and maybe I'll find the time to write about other areas of my life.

When things come to a close it's always great to reflect on what happened, today I'll be focusing on the positives of 2010 for me as a healthy human being. The next post, though tedious, will be just as beneficial as it will cover the negatives of the year. Yuck, I hate revisiting my moments of suckitude.  But we'll put that off for now...

Weight Loss

So, let's see:

Date Weight % Gain/Loss
Jan 1st, 2010184lbs0%
Jun 1st, 2010172lbs-6.52%
Sep 1st, 2010167lbs-9.34%
Nov 1st, 2010163lbs-11.41%
Dec 1st, 2010167lbs-9.34%
Dec 21st, 2010166lbs-9.80%

So, I managed to lose as much as 21lbs in 11 months this year, and currently sit at 18lbs lost since January 2010. I was never fat by any stretch, I had actually spent most of the end of last year weightlifting and was definitely at my biggest yet, so the weight I've lost since then is both fatty and muscle mass. I'm very satisfied with my weight and imagine I'll come out of the winter and spring months tilting the scale at 162lbs.


So I started way back in May/June with less than 50km per month run.  As August approached I started to build up to 20-30km per week and was feeling good doing it.  I then struggled with some knee pain in August after joining the London Runner Distance Club, did some physio and sorted it out...a bit. Then came the miles and miles and miles of training with the team. I loved every step of it. The pain. The reward. The overwhelming tiredness of it all. (I remember being in bed nearly as soon as I got back from our Wednesday night practices.)

So for the year I've clocked a total of 1110km. Yup, I hit over 1000km for the year! YIPPEE! Here's a pretty graph demonstrating my progression, subsequent break and my current rebuild as I lay down a solid base for the spring of 2011.

I'm very pleased with my mileage, I don't think I could have done much more this fall and I'm anxious to get the numbers stacking up in 2011.


Well, I started off my re-birth into competitive running with knee problems. Hurray!  I've always had a tight IT band on my left leg, and I've been nursing it with plenty of stretching and rolling since my return, but I was starting to experience pain in my left knee as the miles started to exceed 30km per week.  I spent some time getting diagnosed (as you can read all about here, here and here), found the issue (a very weak ass) and I've been doing much better ever since.

I logged tons of miles on grass, dirt paths and otherwise unsightly terrain with only a few minor ankle rolls that caused me to miss a day or two throughout the season.  I'm proud of this as I've been doing ankle stabilization exercises.

Other than my knees and IT Band, nothing more to report. My approach to my running this past season meant I could simply take some time off if I felt my body needed it. I had no real race commitments and I think this approach is one I'd like to continue using. Sounds like it will be tough to balance!

Races & Achievements

Well, I had set two concrete goals for myself this fall: To crack 20:00 for a 5km road race and 41:00 for a 10km road race.  Needless to say, I smashed both of those goals to pieces!  If you'd like to read my 5km race or my 10km race report, feel free to do so!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And it's back on!

Well, since finishing up my season at AO's in mid November I've been taking it pretty easy. My knees were starting to feel pretty banged up and coach and I decided it was time for a well deserved rest. I took 2 entire weeks off of running and by the end, I was starting to feel all wound up and out of place.

Since the first day of December I've been working my way back with 30km of easy running each week and this week looks like I'll be close to 40km after tomorrow's long run.  I even tossed in a 20 minute tempo run at 4:05/km today and the legs felt great.

I went out last night and spent hundreds of dollars on new shoes, winter jacket, base layers and mitts to prep for my first season of winter running in I can't remember how long. At least 10 years now. Yikes.

I'm proud to announce that my knee pain is under control again, these new shoes were the key it seems. That and some new stretches I've incorporated, mostly for my hip flexors. I'm going to continue gradually increasing my mileage while keeping the knee pain under control, it's the winter months, there's no reason to go hurting myself, it's time to lay down a solid base for track season next summer. Yup, I said track season. My god, what am I getting into?

Well that's about it for now. I'll be posting a recap of my 2010 athletic achievements and failures shortly, it should make for an interesting read.
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