Give Yourself a Break

Hi everyone! I am Kristen and I blog over at The Smith Summary. I am super excited to be guest posting for Heather today while she and her hubby are on a much deserved cruise!

I work full-time as a pharmacist and as a wife and mom of two so I know first-hand how life can get in the way of taking better care of ourselves, and that couldn’t be more important while training for a race. We push ourselves to the limit while we are training but sometimes our bodies need a little break so that we can stay healthy and injury free. I will be the first to admit that I don’t take care of myself as well as I should, and my body told me that the hard way last week when I got sick. Being sick is no fun, and then I felt super guilty about missing my workouts for a few days but I knew this was my body’s way of waving the white flag and that I needed to give myself a break. So I decided to share my tips on how to keep yourself healthy while training for a race (and maybe by putting these on paper, I’ll follow my own advice too!)

1. Drink water.

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Doesn’t everyone though?

The old rule of thumb is to drink at least 64oz of water each day but if you are exercising that day and/or it’s especially hot outside you should consume more than that – and for longer runs, this includes properly hydrating in the days leading up to the run, not just the day of. Try to consume at least 16oz of water about an hour before you exercise (just don’t wait any longer so you don’t have to take potty breaks during your workout) and about 4-6oz for every 20 minutes during your workout. These are basic rules of thumb, of course, since your needs will vary depending on your sweat rate. Also don’t forget to hydrate after your workout as well!

2. Eat healthy.

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I know this probably goes without saying but make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet because they are chock full of antioxidants which boost your immune system and help prevent illness. Also try to limit your intake of saturated fats, since those can decrease your immunity.

3. Wash Your Hands

Nuf said. While you’re at it, if you’re exercising at a gym, take a pack of Lysol wipes to wipe down handles of machines and weights (before AND after use!) because sweat and warmth are a playground for germs!

4. Get your ZZzzzs

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This is my youngest daughter getting hers J

This is definitely an area I need to work on because I KNOW I don’t get enough sleep (caffeine is my friend). Strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs it not only to boost your immune system but also to help your muscles recover from your workouts.

5. Avoid ramping up too soon – AND taper when you have a big race coming

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Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10-15% each week while training for a big race. If you are increasing your mileage then don’t increase your intensity (i.e. add speed training) – just do one at a time. Take at least one rest day a week so your body can recover. Likewise, if you are tapering for a big race you’ll need more rest so that your immune system is ready for race day.

And lastly, as a healthcare provider I feel it necessary to remind you to see your doctor yearly for a physical!!! Health conditions can go unnoticed in your day to day life but your doctor is trained to look for things and you’d hate to find out the hard way that there’s something wrong – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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QOTD: What do you do to keep yourself healthy while training?

When Your Body Says Stop

 

Happy Weekend guys! Any big plans? We are relaxing over here at the Montgomery house, maybe doing some fence painting in a bit and then some serious football watching. #GeauxTigers.

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If you read yesterday’s post, you saw that I talked about Bobby and I going on a yucky three mile run the other night. I was really confused, because it was Thursday, and I had not run since my half marathon on Sunday. The only thing I had done was lift weights (mainly upper body) with Bobby on Tuesday. I thought 3.5 days was plenty of time to have “off” before running again, but I was wrong.

Could I complete the distance? Sure. But it was SO hard. It felt like it was the first time I had ever run three miles. I couldn’t believe I just ran 13.1 miles on Sunday with a LOT more ease than this. It wasn’t hot out, and I wasn’t tired from a particularly exhausting day, so I took it slow, and did some thinking when I got back. Yes, it had been 3.5 days since my race, BUT, if you think about all the things I had been doing the past two weeks, it’s no wonder my body was so resistant.

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Working back to back expo weekends and running back to back half marathons, flying, dealing with some emotional stress of some family issues, it all came out in that run. I have been running long enough to know when that is NOT a good sign for my health. I am glad that I realized that I needed to listen to my body and take it slow. I am NOT fully rested or recovered from the past two weeks, and I may be able to “fool” myself mentally, but this body knows better.

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I guess my point is don’t go by logically how you “should” feel, because mentally you could feel great or think you “should’ be recovered by now, but your body knows best! Just because it takes a certain person X days to recover doesn’t mean it will take you the same amount of time! We are all uniquely and wonderfully different, and we should individually pay attention to the signals our body gives, such as: unusually sore muscles, a really bad heavy leg feeling run, exhaustion, pain/injury. Look for the signs and know when enough is enough for you. I took a cue from my body and put my feet up last night, slept in this morning (till 7, ha) and went for an EASY 2 miler this morning. I “should” have done 5 or 6 miles, but, I know better, and I am listening to my body. I would rather listen now and be able to run another day then injure myself or get sick and be out for weeks or months!

QOTD: Does your body give you signals when enough is enough? Name some of them, or tell of a time when you knew enough was enough!