Recovery Days (More Like Week)

As some of you may know from my Instagram, I got a tube put in my right ear and an adenoid biopsy done on Wednesday morning as a result of an ear infection that I had in October. I’ve had a long history with ear/nose/throat infections and this is actually the second time I’ve had tubes put in.

What’s frustrating me about this situation is that it’s training season! I can barely bend without immense pressure, I have pain on and off all day, and I have absolutely zero energy. Am I on the mend? Yes, but I feel like I’ve missed SO many days of training, when in actuality I’ve only missed four.

It’s rough when a recovery day turns into a recovery week. As the days go by, your motivation dwindles big time. Especially with my first half in the near future, I feel pretty discouraged, (even though it’s in May).

My question to you guys is this: how did you guys come back from being sick for a while/having surgery/an injury? Did you just jump back into your training plan or did you take it easy at first?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Advertisements

Neutral Shoes and Stability Shoes and Motion Control Shoes Oh My!

I work at a speciality running store, which frequently uses the terms, “neutral, stability, and motion control”. To the seasoned runner, these terms may be familiar to you, however to someone who’s new to the sport, it may seem like foreign language. I almost always get asked what at least one of these terms mean each shift, so I figured now’s the time to explain.

Neutral

These are the shoes that provide the least support. That may sound bad, but it actually isn’t, (depending on what kind of foot you have). Neutral runners are runners that have very little or no arch weakness, which I’ll explain how to detect later. I should also point out that the amount of support a shoe has and the amount of cushioning it provides are two different things and are commonly confused. The cushioning a shoe provides is literally exactly what it sounds like. Shoes with tons of cushioning can have very little support, (case in point).

We also recommend neutral shoes for people who wear orthotics/insoles. The reasoning behind this is that since the orthotics/insoles correct whatever issues your feet may have, it’s kind of redundant to get a shoe with extra support.

Some other shoes that are neutral are cross trainers, racing spikes, and minimalist shoes.

Stability

From my experience of working at Running Room, I find that most runners fall into this category. Being a stability runner means that you have moderate arch weakness, which needs to be corrected in order to have a pain-free run. I find that stability and motion control shoes tend to be a little heavier than neutral shoes, however that’s purely my observation.

An example of a stability shoe is this:

Motion Control

This is shoe that provides THE MOST support. A shoe that falls under this category would be ideal for someone with a completely collapsed arch. I find that this category encompasses the least amount of runners. Although a decent amount of runners have some degree of collapsed arches, few have completely collapsed arches. An example of a motion control shoe is this:

So to recap, neutral shoes have the least support, stability has a moderate level of support, and motion control has the most amount of support.

Finding out how much support you may need isn’t hard to do. If you head to your local specialty running store they can do an analysis for you. Alternatively, get someone to stand six or seven feet away from you. On one leg and not holding onto anything, bend all the way down, (slowly), and come back up. Repeat, but on the other leg. No shaking in the arch or very little shaking means a neutral shoe, a decent level of shaking means a stability shoe, and a lot of shaking means a motion control shoe.

All this aside, you may try on shoes and they may feel good on you feet or they may feel bad. It really depends on you and what feels right; there’s not sense in running in something that you find uncomfortable.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Iron Vegan: Athlete’s Blend Workout Supplement

Price: $62.99 CAD

product-review-iron-vegan-athletes-blend-workout-supplement1

I’m always open to trying new supplements; I do have a couple favourite brands, (like Vega), but I’m not really 100% committed to one brand for every need. I got a bag of Iron Vegan Athlete’s Blend, (natural vanilla flavour), for Christmas and I have to admit, I was super skeptical. This may sound horrible but whenever I see a vegan product, I’m always worried that the taste might be compromised. I think this is probably due to the fact that I’m a hard-core omnivore, and the thought of all things veggie is a little scary. Vega took a bit to grow on me but once it did, I loved it! I figured if I could love Vega, I could love Iron Vegan. Here’s what I thought of it:

-It has a different vanilla flavour than most vanilla-flavoured protein powders. Not in a bad way though. It just doesn’t have that artificial vanilla taste that you get with most brands.

-It blends really well with smoothies/shakes

-My boyfriend and I both tried it with just water or just milk, (when I say milk, I mean lactose free milk/coconut milk), and we both agree that it tastes better with water. I think since the powder doesn’t have a super creamy taste, it doesn’t complement the milk as well.

-It stores easily since it’s in a bag

-The serving size is quite large, (30g of protein/serving), so you could probably get away with half a serving if it’s in a shake/smoothie.

-It’s loaded with stuff that all athletes can appreciate in the recovery process: BCAAs, Glutamine, and more

 

Other than it not mixing well with milk, I don’t really have any issues with it. I also have used it in some shakes/smoothies that I’ve posted on Instagram, so check out which combinations I’ve come up with!

 

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

I’m Finally Joining a Gym!

On Thursday I went downstairs to my tiny condo gym, only to discover that one of the machines was broken and therefore out of service. This doesn’t sound like the hugest deal, but considering there are only two upper body machines, it really limits what I can do. I asked the guy at the front desk when it would be fixed and he told me he didn’t know…so now I’m kind of stuck.

Daniel’s talked about joining a new gym, (currently he goes to GoodLife since he gets a corporate discount through his work), and I decided that I should jump on board. Sure, it is an added expense, but I would be able to use a variety of different equipment that I don’t get currently.

About 10 minutes from our house is the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, which is loaded with amenities and recently dropped its rates! It’s closer to our house than the GoodLife that Daniel currently goes to AND they have 1an indoor track. Goodbye interval runs on the treadmill! We’re looking to join soon as we’ve already toured the facility. I’m honestly so excited; all the different strength training machines will have me feeling like a kid in a candy store!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Nike Storm Hydration Water Pack

Price: $27.95 (on sale…couldn’t find it on the National Sports Website)

After the Downsview Airport 8k, I was in search for some sort of hydration pack, as I knew that I would be running the half in May. On our way home from the 8k, I saw that National Sports had a sale and thought it would be worth while to stop in. After scanning the store for a bit, I found a rack of Nike products that were on sale and stumbled upon this hydration pack. For $27.95 plus tax, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Here’s what I thought about it:

PROS

-the belt itself is fairly comfortable and doesn’t chafe

-the water bottle is easily accessible (you just flip the band to the other side of the mouth piece and you’re good to go)

product-review-nike-storm-hydration-pack1

-the case surrounding the bottle prevents it from freezing in the winter (not sure if this was intentional or not)

-provides visibility by having a reflective Nike logo

nike-storm-hydration-water-pack1

-has two pockets for things like debit/credit cards, nutrition, etc

CONS

-the bottle only holds 22oz, so it may not be sufficient enough to run in the summer, especially if it’s a longer run

-it bounces like crazy! To be honest, I don’t know if all belts bounce to this magnitude, or if it’s just this one. But it is super annoying. It’s gets a little better as you drink more water though

-pockets aren’t big enough to fit a Galaxy or iPhone

I guess I can’t be too disappointed considering how little I paid for it, but I wish that I had held out and bought a hydration vest. Anyone have any recommendations for one? Haha.

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: No. The bouncing is a write-off.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Racing While on Vacation

In the spring, Daniel and I have planned to go on a European vacation for our seventh anniversary. While our destination isn’t set in stone, we’re currently on the fence between Lisbon/Madrid, and Berlin/Budapest. Our plan was to spend five days in each city, so our total vacation time would be 10 days, (approximately). I’m so excited! The farthest I’ve gone from Toronto is the Mayan Riviera in Mexico for my mom’s wedding.

Daniel and I usually go to Florida at least once a year to visit his mom, so I’m used to running there. The climate in South Florida is much different than it is in Toronto, so it was a huge adjustment, however you can’t beat running Oceanside! While I’ve gone on plenty of runs in West Palm, I haven’t done any races there. I like the idea of doing a race while on vacation, but there are a few things that I’m slightly concerned about:

-We’re leaving a few days after my half. Is that enough time to recover?

-Is there a recommendable distance I should run?

-Race Kit pick-up in a country that has a native language other than English…this is most frightening to me (weird, right?). If I were to race in Madrid I could get by since my Spanish is passible, but that’s pretty much it.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever raced on vacation (excluding racecations)? What were your experiences?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Weekly Recap (Jan 9th- 15th)

This week saw the start of a new semester, as well as the start of training season! The first race on the docket is the Achilles 5k in March. I’ll be using the Nike 5k and Nike Half Marathon training plans as I’ve had success using Nike for my previous races. My plan is to train for that until the end of the month, and then switch over to training for the Mississauga Marathon (half marathon distance). The 5k serves as a easy training period in which the distances are shorter, but will still work out the kinks from all my time not training for something. –Side note: my weeks start on Monday and end on Sunday.

Monday

Interval Workout on the treadmill – 1.5mi, moving time: 17mins, avg pace: 10:48/mi

Tuesday

 Rest Day – I have class literally all day, so I didn’t have time to do much of anything

Wednesday

 My friend talked me into swapping my 3mi run for a leg day…how could I turn that down?

-5min warm-up

-Squats (3 sets x 10 reps) @ 90lbs (not including the bar) – 30 sec rest in between sets

-Standing Calf Raises – (3 sets x 15 reps) @ 150lbs – 30 sec rest in between sets

-Seated Leg Press – (3 sets x 10 reps) @ 140lbs – 30 sec rest in between sets

-stretch/roll

Totally forgot how much you get pushed sometimes when you workout with other people haha.

Thursday

 2mi Run – moving time: 20:56, avg pace: 10:28/mi – this run felt a little tricky to me for the simple fact that I kept having to tell myself to slow down! It was only supposed to be a recovery run, and I felt like I was getting carried away at points

weekly-recap-jan-9th-15th

Friday & Saturday

Accidental rest days…studying got the best of me

 

I have less on my plate this week at school, so I’m hoping that that will help in terms of being able to get out there.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

 

How to Stay on Track with your Weekly Workouts

How tricky can it be sometimes to stay on track with your training plans? Sure, the motivation may be there, but time management skills could seriously be slipping. I know personally as a bachelor’s student, my day will instantly fall apart if I don’t plan it out properly. I learned this the hard way; by missing strength training days that I shouldn’t have, or forgetting to roll out and paying for it dearly the next day.

If I wanted to continue being serious about running, something had to give. My hugest issue is procrastination, so lack of procrastination coupled with organization would help me, (and you) be able to stay on track and crush those prs! I do two things that help me stay on top of things, and like to call them macro planning and micro planning. I’ll start with macro planning first.

Macro Planning

Here I focus on the bigger picture. What am I training for? How many days of running will this require? How many miles? I then reference my calendar in my phone, (which I would die without), to see what my daily, weekly, and monthly commitments are. From there, I’m able to see what days are write-offs. For instance, on Tuesdays I have class from 9:10am-9:30pm and won’t get back home until 11:00pm. On a day like that (unless I get out of class early or start late), I just count it as a rest day and move on.

Micro Planning

This is when I plan how each particular day will play out. I usually have a to-do list in my phone that I can check off when I’ve completed each activity (running related or not). If I have a long run, this will require a couple hours of my time to account for the actual run, stretching/rolling out, and showering. A shorter run will only take about an hour to do all those things, so if I have a day where I have a few more things going on, I should still be able to squeeze that in. The biggest tip during micro planning is GET THE RUN DONE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The longer you put it off, the more likely it is that you won’t do it. When it comes to running, I run as early as possible in the day since I tend to get stomach upsets if I run after I’ve eaten. If this isn’t possible, I give myself as much time as possible to digest whatever I’ve had before I head out.

To get a full picture of my running and non-running commitments, I put both my running schedule and non-running schedule in different colours in my phone calendar so that I can tell them apart. As the week goes on, things obviously change. You may get sick, you may get held up doing something…if this happens it’s ok! That’s why I plan for the worst. I don’t put rest days into my schedule unless I know for sure that my day can’t accommodate a workout. That way, if something does pop up, I have the rest day get out of jail free card. If I make it to the end of the week and have to use my rest days because I haven’t yet, I obviously do. I just don’t like to put them in right away in fear that I use them prematurely.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

Price: $39.99 CAD

vega-sports-pre-workout-energizer

I honestly have nothing but good things to say about Vega as a whole. I’ve tried quite a few of their products and have yet to find one that I didn’t like. This product is no exception.

Daniel purchased this along with the Electrolyte Hydrator as a healthier take on the pre-workouts that we used to use. My complaint with those is that they would leave me jittery, my lips itchy, and they more often than not had a bad after taste. To give you an idea of how Vega’s Pre-Workout Energizer stacks up against the typical pre-workout, here’s what I thought of it:

PROS

-doesn’t cause the jitters

-no bad aftertaste

-affective for workouts that are 1hr or less

-the flavour doesn’t taste “chemically”

CONS

-limited flavours (lemon lime & acai berry)

-the flavour isn’t super strong, (it does taste citrusy, but isn’t necessarily true to taste)

Is the Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer effective? Yes. That being said, the flavours are limited and aren’t necessarily true to what’s indicated on the container. I find that part a tad disappointing, since their other products are so spot on.

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: I’m going to say yes, providing you can overlook the fact that the flavours aren’t as strong as desired.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

 

Training Recap (Jan 1st -7th)

Sunday

 I went for a short run since my condo gym was closed and I was short on time. It was a pretty decent run, aside from the fact that I ripped open a blister mid-run (ouch).

training-recap

Monday

 Upper Body Strength Training

 Pec Fly – 80lbs @ 37 reps (3 sets)

Tricep Extension – 35lbs @ 36 reps (3 sets)

Lat Pulldown – 80lbs @ 35 reps (3 sets)

Biceps Curls – 25lbs @ 30 reps (3 sets)

*this also includes a 5 minute warm up/cool down*

*1 minute rest between sets*

Tuesday

I ended up doing a 7.5k run on the treadmill since the weather wasn’t the greatest. Those 7.5 kilometers honestly felt like the LONGEST EVER for some reason.

Wednesday

 My dad’s a Planet Fitness member and has guest pass privileges so he brought me along! It was pretty cool to workout with him and use some equipment that I don’t have at the condo gym.

Lower Body Strength Training

Squats (Smith’s Machine) – 90lbs (not including the bar) @ 30 reps (3 sets)

Calf Press – 100lbs @ 45 reps (3 sets)

Leg Curls – 40lbs @ 45 reps (3 sets)

Hip Adduction – 135lbs @ 45 reps (3 sets)

I also did some core work, which I really don’t do often (part of my New Year’s Resolution)!

Vertical Leg Crunch – 10 reps for 3 sets

Crunches – 10 reps for sets

*1 minute rest between sets*

*5 minute warm up/cool down*

Thursday

My wonderful massage therapist Leslie gave me an amazing massage, so I decided that I was going to make this day a rest day.

Friday

 10k! Despite getting lost, (I just created a new route and forgot it mid-run), and developing a blister, I felt pretty good. It was freezing that day, but it felt good to know that I got out there.

training-recap-jan-1st-7th1

I love when I get a trophy on Strava.

Saturday

 Upper Body Strength Training

Pec Fly – 80lbs @ 35 reps (3 sets)

Tricep Extension – 35lbs @ 45 reps (3 sets)

Lat Pulldown – 80lbs @ 35 reps (3 sets)

Bicep Curls – Someone was using the 25s which I needed, so I just did 15lbs @ 45 reps for 3 sets.

*1 minute rest between sets*

*5 minute warm up/cool down*

Next week I start training for the Achilles 5k (yay!) so I want to make sure my nutrition and training is on point. I’ll also be sure to blog the training, so be on the look out for updates!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy