All About the IT Band — Regular Upkeep to Avoid Troubles

It’s IT. The Illiotibial Band runs along the outside of your thigh, from the top of your hip (the iliac crest, that bony ridge) and down to your knee. With runners the IT Band is a common malady and I’ll go out on a limb and say that yours is probably tight unless you’ve been working on it.

girl kicking

Kick IT Band issues to the curb with regular maintenance! 😉

What does ‘working on it’ mean? Diligent stretching (we all know how good I am at that!) and breaking up the knots. One of the best ways to focus on the latter is to use the foam roller; I’m going to warn you that if you haven’t done this before it’s going to be pretty uncomfortable and maybe even make you want to curl up and cry…so bring a tissue. 😉

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I’m Ice Cold, Baby — All About Injuries and Preventing Them

*Cue Vanilla Ice here* Side-tangent for a moment, does anyone remember watching him in that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie…oh, good times.

Now back on topic: ice. I’ve said many a time that injuries in our sport are a necessary evil that always sort of lurk in the back of our minds. At least for me, anytime I feel a new niggle, twang, soreness, whatever, there is a little knot in my stomach. Inner dialogue: “Oh, it’s nothing….what if it’s not…I’m sure it’s nothing and just forget it…but what if it turns into something…don’t think about it and it won’t exist…what if I can’t run tomorrow…you will, shut up…”

injured runner

I get a little depressed when I'm injured.

The thing is, as ridiculous as it sounds, the doom of being forced out of running due to an injury has built up to monstrous proportions in my mind. Forget Halloween, it’s the injury boogeyman we need to be worried about. Cross-training of course is readily available, but we know how I feel and I’d rather be running…of course something is better than nothing, but you know what I mean.

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For the Days it’s Not all Rainbows and Gumdrops – Getting the Run in Regardless

As much as we all love something, even running, there are going to be ‘those’ days. We all have them and anyone who tells you they’ve never had a single flickering moment of not wanting to shoot out the door for a run is straight up lying.

lollypop fairy

Art: Cait Chock Designs

Professional athletes have them and all levels between; but you know what the difference is? The pro’s, well they have no choice because it’s their job, but the people who are dedicated runners regardless: suck it up and lace ‘em up.

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What Has Running Taught You?

What running has taught me:

  • It’s okay to be a royal, sweaty mess if it’s for a good cause.
  • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth putting in the effort. If it’s not, move on to something that is.
  • Even when you think you’ve given everything you can and there isn’t anything more you could possibly leech from yourself, if you dig down deep there is a little more.
  • Sometimes things just plain suck…but that doesn’t mean they break you. It means you can acknowledge they suck, but then deal with it. As a great man once said, “If you’ve got an issue, here’s a tissue.”
  • That last one sounded a little harsh, but we need to be a little harsh with ourselves sometimes…that’s what keeps us motivated.
  • BUT…after that we have to be positive. If you can’t find the smile, fake one. After a while it will start to feel a little less fake.

girl on track

  • Running and training are two separate entities. Training hurts like a beast, it will make you feel like you want to die come that last interval…but in the end it is that much more rewarding.
  • When all else may be going to H-E-double hockey stick, if I’ve gotten in a good run for the day, I feel like I accomplished something. I love this quote from Dathan Ritzenhein: “And I realized that I like training, I like to be fit. I like the everyday satisfaction of having done something that most people can’t do. It was something I missed a whole lot. So I really do enjoy the training. I don’t particularly like it when I’m out there doing quarters (400s) and it’s super hard, but I like the satisfaction of having done it every day. That’s what sometimes separates people who always run and always train and people who maybe move on in life and do something else. I think I’m a lot more likely to be someone like Joan Benoit (Samuelson), who keeps going forever, just because I actually really like it, as opposed to someone who stops and never runs again.”
  • It’s fun to down unholy amounts of Pop-Tarts in one sitting and make people jealous. They can have all the high fructose junk they want too if they run for it first. 😉
  • Running keeps me sane.
girl eating pop tarts

Art: Cait Chock Designs

In all honesty, running has given me so much in all areas of my life. People have said it’s a selfish sport, and I suppose it may be at times, but it has made me a better person and I do my best to help others when I can. So maybe in the end us runnerchicks and runnerdudes aren’t selfish…as for being a little crazy, well, that’s another issue.

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Let’s All Have Cake and Bring Your iPod Too

Today it’s all about Cake. To be more precise, it’s about music, sorry chocolate cake you also deserve a few special days to call your own but today’s not it.

My all time favorite running song is Cake’s ‘The Distance.’ Cut to me looking like a total idiot belting out…”[S]he’s going the distance…[s]he’s going for speeeeeeed…” I almost can’t help myself every time I hear it. It’s got a power over me.

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The Super-Secret Miracle to Getting Better…

You want to know what it is? I can sum it up in a single word. Eleven little letters…should I continue to taunt you?
woman runner silhouette

Wow, what a shocking and crazy, insane secret, huh? After all that build-up it may sound anti-climactic, but it’s true. If you want to get better at anything the secret is practice; but you can’t just practice ONLY when you want to or feel like it.

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A Century-load of Motivation

If you’re feeling tired in a race and cave to sneaking a peek behind you, if you see this man behind you it should act as a swift burst of motivation!
100 year old marathoner
(Image Source)

Fauja Singh, at 100 years old, recently set the World Record for being the oldest person to complete a full marathon. This was done last week in Canada’s Toronto Marathon. (Actually, what’s really cool is you can read a first person account of Singh’s journey because the rocking Christina ran alongside him for a part of it, so go check her story out!)

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Cross-training — Longer Intervals and Endurance Based Workout

Cross-training. I have a love/hate relationship with it. The thing is, I know all of the benefits: cardio without the impact, a safe way to supplement ‘miles’, staying in shape during an injury…ahhh, that last one. See, that is where the hate part comes in.

chained animals

I just feel a little chained down when cross-training...but that's not fair to hate on the machine...haha!

To be fair, it is really just mischanneled anger that gets sloughed off on cross-training…sorry, x-training. Usually whenever I’m on the elliptical, the bike, the crazy scary gauntlet-style stair climber, aqua-jogging, etc., it’s because I’m forced into it. My body is on the machine but my mind keeps drifting to where I want to be…RUNNING!

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Battling the Race Day Nerves — Use the Nerves to Your Advantage

Sunday again already, eh? Well, we are approaching the ‘GO TIME’ for races here; whether it’s the high schoolers gearing up and going through all the sectional/regional races, the college athletes doing the same, the road racers continually make the circuit, and of course the marathons. We have NYC Marathon fast approaching, other ones going on all around the world, and then come January the US Olympic Trials…exciting stuff!

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A Hack-Hack Here a Cough-Cough There — Let’s NOT Wind up Sick!

Ack…ack…ack. Cough…sneeze…achoo. You hear it and if you’re like me there is a tiny little part of your braining saying, “Alert…someone’s sick on the premises.” Is that really lame of me?

If so, I don’t care. It’s funny because when I was little I would actually *hope* I’d get sick so I could stay home from school (though I usually was regretting it when I was slumped over the porcelain god and hacking up phlegm) but today I look to illnesses like the plague. Anything that hampers my ability to do my ‘full’ workout is no friend of mine!

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