I can’t even begin to tell you how worried I was about this morning’s run. Worried. What an understatement of a word, if ever there was one.
Why, you ask?
Well. First, there was the sharp wind, which was absolutely howling. Blowing ladders around like little wooden sticks. Opening screen doors and then banging them shut again and again and again. Showing no mercy.
And then there was me, in my winter running garb and sneakers, wearing big, thick mittens and a blue wool hat. And what felt like a lofty goal of running 6.5 miles. A feat that I haven’t accomplished since last January before my knee injury.
Worried. Psshh. What an understatement.
And yet I was surprised at how quickly everything came together. All the old tricks that I used to use to pull me through my long runs never really left. You know, those self motivating pep-talks. They work like a charm!
“Three miles to the top of this hill. You can do that!”
“Two more miles. That’s easy.”
“The first two miles are the toughest. Just get through this and you’ll be fine.”
“Don’t go too fast. Hold on to some extra steam for the last hurrah.”
And then…suddenly…the run was over.
Six. Point. Five!!
I felt so proud at the end of this run. Six and a half (pain free!) miles may as well have been a marathon. :D
My Post Long-Run Rituals
1. Foam Roll
Foam rolling hurt a lot (a LOT) the first few times that I did it, but it is much, much easier now. My physical therapist had me doing this during my knee injury last year, and it really did help with my leg and knee pains. It’s basically like having a really affordable, deep tissue massage.
Be sure to hold those painful positions for at least several seconds! It takes me a good 20 seconds or so to bring the foam roller from right above my knee to the upper leg.
I’ve found this position to be particularly good for any IT band issues and/or knee pains. Using your hands and leg for balance, roll yourself from right below the hip to right above the knee. Back and forth, really slowly, stopping in any painful positions to let the massage go deeper.
2. Ice Baths.
Yes, they help with inflammation.
Yes, they’re totally painful.
If it’s just too painful, grab a bag of ice and compress any sore, tender areas for about 10-15 minutes. That works well too.
Try to focus on getting some carbs and protein in for refueling your body after a long run. Milk is known as the “perfect” choice because of the carb/protein balance that it has. But really, anything that you feel like you can tolerate will do just fine. Toast with peanut butter. Half a banana with peanut butter. Crackers and cheese. A fruit smoothie.
Some people can’t imagine eating a large meal after finishing a tough workout, while others could eat their arm off in hunger (ahem, that would be me.) Find what foods work for you and stick with it.
For dinner tonight, Dad grilled up some burgers.
Mom made a batch of whole wheat hamburger buns.
And I made the eazy peazy, balsamic glazed onions and peppers.
Balsamic Glazed Onions and Peppers
This is one of my favorite toppings for steaks, poultry, and hamburgers. You could also use it in a veggie wrap, on top of a fresh garden salad, or chopped into brown rice with tofu. Or, you could really just grab a fork and eat it as is.
The important thing is to let the balsamic vinegar completely evaporate after you’ve added it. It’s at that point, when the onions and peppers will begin to brown and caramelize, thanks to the heat of the pan. It’s lovely, really. And it’s also super easy. Enjoy!
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1/2 or 1 whole green bell pepper
- handful of fresh mushrooms, sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
- balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- In a nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and mushrooms.
- Continue cooking until peppers and onions are still firm but beginning to soften. Add a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Enough to coat all the veggies. Turn the heat to medium high and continue cooking until all of the liquid has evaporated.
- Continue cooking and stirring for 1-2 more minutes, or until vegetables have caramelized. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. ENJOY!
Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan
Week 1: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—4 miles
Week 2: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—5 miles
Week 3: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—2.5 miles
Week 4: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)
Week 5: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—3 miles
Week 6: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—8 miles
Week 7: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—3 miles
Week 8: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—9.5 miles
Week 9: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—4 miles
Week 10: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—11 miles
Week 11: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—4 miles
Week 12: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—12.5 miles
Week 13: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—4 miles
Week 14: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—14 miles
Week 15: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—5 miles
Week 16: Tues—3 miles Thurs—3 miles Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY!!
Question: What are some ways you keep yourself motivated during a tough workout?