Now that my last race of 2015 has come and gone, and we are only weeks away from the end of 2014, it's time to start thinking about what's next for 2015! Honestly, I don't feel like I have specific goals at this point- they change a lot which tells me I'm not quite ready to decide on anything just yet. So today I will be talking about broad goals. I think I'll do a New Year's resolutions post again like I did last year when I decide on some more specific goals and plans for the year.
Some goals for 2015 that have been floating around in my head are:
-Focus on the half-marathon- work towards a sub 1:40
-Run a fall marathon- maybe try to BQ?
-Work on helping others meet their goals through coaching! (more on this later in the week...)
-Become a stronger, healthier, and smarter runner...
My #1 goal moving forward is to get and stay healthy! This may seem obvious and extremely broad. However, sometimes its easy to let little aches and pains go ignored during hard periods of training. 2014 was a great year for me. I didn't have any real injuries but I did toe the line quite a bit. I think that to an extent, that is part of running. You push yourself to a limit and then back off before it becomes something that becomes an injury. I believe it's a process to learn about yourself and what you can handle and how you can address issues that come up.
I think that over the last couple of years I have become very dependent on sports medicine providers. It's like I need them to tell me that I'm ok or not ok- as if I didn't know it for myself. Maybe in the beginning I didn't, but now I should be able to handle more aspects of my training on my own. Part of this for me is learning about all different ways to prevent injuries and manage small twinges that pop up.
I recently read the book "Ready to Run" by Kelly Starrett and TJ Murphy. You can get some more info abut this book here. I love reading books like this and while I don't believe any one book has "all the answers", the information helps me to gain new ideas and perspectives about ways to potentially improve my running. There are a few concepts that I want to incorporate into my daily routine to help me get back to 100% healthy and prevent future injuries. (If you remember from the marathon and the weeks before, I had been dealing with some piriformis and hip pain. It's mostly gone, but I think if I increase my mileage it may begin to bother me again).
Here are some of my plans moving forward using the recommendations from the book:
1. Improve posture/avoid sitting as much as possible- We've all heard about how bad sitting is for us. I am lucky that I have a job where I am moving around quite a bit, but I do spend the majority of my day sitting (or squatting down next to a desk, or sitting in a kid sized chair...) When I do need to sit I need to focus on sitting up straight and not crossing my legs. I need to get up frequently and also check my posture regularly. Sitting with bad habits does bad things to our running form.
2. Stand with neutral feet, wear flat shoes, and go barefoot around the house whenever possible- The idea of neutral feet is really connoted to the good posture, but going a step further its best to keep your feet strong by walking around barefoot as much as possible. Sorry to anyone who who have to see his! (Hopefully just Rob...) but my feet are not yet recovered from the marathon. I am also trying out different shoes (Starrett recommends zero drop) and the Altras have a very wide toe box. I'm wearing them for some of my shorter runs for now.
3. Tackle my tight hip flexors! Sitting is partly to blame for my tight hips, along with all the years of running. I have a feeling my hip surgery also contributed to some tightness in that area due to scar tissue. I have been finding many new, creative ways to address this! Lots of dynamic stretches, myofscial release, and other suggestions that are given in the book. The "couch stretch" is highly recommended, but it has to be done for a long enough time!
Start on your hands and knees with your feet backed up against a couch. Move one leg up the edge of the couch so your knee is on the ground and your foot is straight above your knee. Raise your upper body and move your front foot to the ground where your hands were. Squeeze your glutes and abs, and move yourself up as straight as possible. Hold for 2 minutes on each side every day.
4. Work on theoretic spine mobility- This is one area that I have ignored during all my foam rolling sessions, thinking that it wasn't directly related to running! It actually plays an important role in running and when there are restrictions in that area it can affect how other muscles work. This will mostly be addressed through posture and rolling out those muscles with lax balls.
5. Other daily habits- Wear compressions socks regularly, stay hydrated but also drink electrolyte enhanced drinks, make sure good, thorough warm ups and cool downs are completed before and after running.
There are other areas that I can work on as well, but this is what I am starting with. I don't want it to get too overwhelming!
What changes are you looking to make going into 2015?
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