In what seems at times like another life, the one before kids, I walked 2 marathons and one half. After taking a break from my own fitness goals and focusing on my kids, I eventually came back to it. I became a group fitness instructor, running coach and personal trainer, operating a fitness business from my home.
Soon after I started to run 5 and 10k's, an old knee problem reappeared keeping me from running and barely allowing me to walk more than a few miles without pain. Or what I “assumed” was a knee problem.
Once I took the time (aren’t moms notorious for putting themselves last?) to make appointments, research and talk to physical therapists, I discovered an overuse injury called IT band syndrome was causing my pain, not a knee problem.
In order to continue to be active and to continue my fitness career as a personal training and coach, I had to learn some pro-active recovery tools and make a plan. And so my mantra became Keep Moving Mama.
These action items gave my mind and my body something to focus on and helped both recover. It’s my hope that these will help you to pro-actively recover too.
This torture, I mean treatment device helps enormously in recovery of many injuries. Especially overuse injuries. It’s a type of self massage that lengthens muscles by releasing adhesio's along the muscle length. Muscles are wrapped in a sort of saran wrap called fascia. Often this sticks to the muscle itself due to a constant rubbing (overuse) or an injury like a fall or simply running into the corner of a coffee table. Foam rolling releases these sticky spots, called adhesions, allowing the muscle to lengthen and move freely. After that release, the whole muscle can move freely again. It can be done before exercise or after or even both.
I wasn’t joking earlier about the torture, this is really not fun. You’ll most likely find adhesions that you didn’t know you had. When you roll over one of these painful spots, you’ll need to stop with pressure on the tender area and practice your breathing till it releases. Then roll over it, come back and do it again. Then continue to another spot. Over time you’ll notice you have less adhesions. Foam rolling also releases delayed onset muscle soreness from tough workouts when done after the exercise.
Balance out the weakness
Often injuries are due to an area of weakness. For example, a knee injury called runners knee often improves when the larger leg muscles that support the knee are strengthened. Doing low impact exercises like bridges and leg extensions won’t bother the knee but will build muscle in the legs. Stronger leg muscles in turn support the knee, eliminating runners knee pain.
As a personal trainer, I’ve had many opportunities to help clients recover from injury with this strategy. Sessions can be arranged in Elk Grove, Ca or online workouts are available. Your own personal trainer, physical therapist or doctor may be able to help you determine muscles you can strengthen to support the injured are you have.
Find the exercise you can do. If you can’t run due to an injury, walk, if that’s not happening, ride a bike, do pilates, learn yoga, try a bootcamp, swim.
You hurt your shoulder? Focus on strengthening your lower body while it heals.
You twisted your ankle? When your yoga instructor is doing a balance pose, keep both feet on the ground and just do the arm movement…whatever you do just keep moving.
This not only creates balance in body strength and burns calories, there is no doubt it keeps the mind focused and strong.
It may never go away
Some injuries heal and go away, others we learn to live with and we adjust to accommodate. I know I’ll have aching in my hip and leg when I run long distances or run three days a week. So I stick to shorter runs and only run 2 days a week…to avoid this overuse injury flaring up again. If yours is one that’s not going away, determine what activities will not cause further damage. Then decide what you are willing to live with, or if you need to change your activity. And be ok with that.
Taping the area for enough support to allow you to keep moving is mood and activity altering. There are a few different kinesiology therapeutic tape brands out there, I’ve have the best luck with the KT tape brand. Using a combination of tension and placement it can support a variety of injuries. It’s use with plantar fasciitis is covered in my post Home remedies for plantar fasciitis. Visit kttape.com/instructions for videos on how to use it for other injuries.
Stopping all exercise due to one injury is simply not an option. Health, weight management and basic self-confidence are so much higher with active recovery than stopping. You will never again be as young as you are today, so embrace what you CAN do.
Last week I completed a 12 mile training run…my longest run ever in preparation for my first half marathon as a runner. The path here has included 7 years of leaning and practicing the tools I’ve described. 3 half marathon tries, training up to 9 miles then finding the pain too difficult.
If I’d quit, not done the foam rolling or walking, not cross trained and not stayed positive the outcome would have been quite different. I would still be walking shorter distances and cross training, which is good. But looking forward to my first half marathon this weekend, knowing I stuck with it, learned so much about my own body and can help others do the same is just plain AWESOME.
Please share your stories of injury and proactive recovery. I’d love to hear and help if I can.
Keep moving mama
Let it make you feel like a kid….or a badass. Either way, embrace the chance to run in the rain and you won’t be disappointed.
There are a few things you can do to prepare and ensure a good experience.
Know you will get wet
If you run in the rain you will get wet. Plan accordingly with a few dry things back at your car or by the door when you come into the house. Dry socks and a sweatshirt are two essentials.
Check the temp
Here in California, often it warms up a few degrees when it rains. Not sure the science there but it’s a pattern I've noticed. If it's not cold, you may be plenty warm without the heavy jacket during your workout.
“Honestly, I wear as little as possible when I run in the rain,” admits Sarah Louie, one of my running clients. She recalls running in the rain in just a sports bra for high school cross country training on the secluded trails in the woods. “It was so fun!”
Not too many of us moms are running around in just their sports bras, but a light weight shirt is better than a rain soaked cotton tee. Cotton yoga pants are a guaranteed problem too. Pick out light weight wicking materials that won’t weigh you down.
Your favorite running shoes will be ready for the next run if you dry them well. Stuff them with newspaper, changing the paper every few hours till it’s dry. Newspaper is tougher to find these days, so I have found that tearing up a paper grocery bag or using a postal wrapping paper like the one here works well too.
That sweat proof hat or visor you wear in the summer is of course also waterproof. Wear that to keep the rain off your face. Head sweats is one brand among many, this one’s great.
Last but not least, just remember....you won’t melt.
Have fun running in the rain!
Keep moving mama.
This blog post contains affiliate links to products I recommend and use myself. If you choose to buy them I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
Plantar fasciitis is by far is the most common pain my running clients ask about. My husband and both kids also have flat feet making plantar fasciitis fairly common in our house. So my research into the topic has been fueled by a need to keep all of the above moving.
Symptoms of Plantar Faciitis
If this sounds all too familiar, seek out a doctor’s advice. If it is confirmed to be plantar fasciitis there are a number of things you can do at home to speed recovery and reduce re-occurrences.
No flip flops
I know, it’s no fun at all. Flip flops do not provide support and make the arches work extra hard. Forget walking barefoot too. Choose shoes that provide arch support and cushion…athletic shoes are best. If you are a runner or long distance walker it is well worth having your local running store fit you in the proper shoe. Even after you recover limit flip flops and bare feet as much as possible.
After exercise be sure to stretch the muscles along the heel and arch of the foot. A simple calf stretch works perfectly. Use a curb or step to increase the range of motion in this stretch.
Keep moving tip: My husband has had great success with the Pro stretch. It's basically a device that simulates a curb and allows you to do an effective calf stretch anywhere. Keep it next to your shoes and make a habit out of using it before putting them on.
Draw the ABCs
That shooting pain when first out getting out of bed is a typical symptom of plantar fasciitis. When you first wake up, hang your feet over the edge of the bed. Using your whole foot and ankle draw the ABCs in the air. This stretches and strengthens the muscles in the foot and ankle that have tightened while we are asleep.
This one is a tough one to do but it's very effective in controlling the swelling around healing tissue. After exercise or stretching, fill a large tub with ice and water. Stick your whole foot in and keep it there as long as you can stand it. Till numb is best. Repeat this several times a day.
Rolling your foot on a frozen water bottle can provide relief for smaller flare ups, but there's no replacing the whole foot ice bath. Sorry.
Therapeutic tape used by physical therapists is now commonly available. KT tape is my preferred brand. Tape one piece from the ball of your foot over the heel and anchor it to your ankle. Then another shorter piece the opposite way, starting inside your arch over the initial strip and across to the outside of the ankle. This taping method provides a bit more support during activity, and is much less bulky than an ace bandage.
I firmly believe that actively recovering from injury keeps your body moving and your mind confident. You need to rest your foot, but there’s no need to stop moving completely.
Swimming, biking, weight training, pilates and yoga are great exercise avenues while your foot recovers. Warm up with gentle movement before exercise, follow exercise or prolonged standing with stretches to reduce the chance of re-occurrence substantially.
Comment below with your experiences and feel free to share, post, tweet and pin for others.
Keep moving mama,
Yahoo!! Whoot Whoot! Let’s do this mama! Time to throw out the excuses, make time for you and train for 13.1.
First off if this is your first half, or your first in awhile, find a team and/or an experienced coach. You are going to need support, emotional and physical. They will also teach you about fueling and race day expectations. All important stuff.
There are a few extra “real deal” items that aren’t in the typical training plan. But someone has to tell you, mom to mom. You can always count on me to give it to ya straight.
Yes, it will hurt
I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy. Some training runs are smooth as butter and some are not. Pushing your limits means your body may “talk back” with a pain here and there…or for the whole 8 mile run.
But you have kids, you know pain, you’ll power through. Especially after you take a bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts.
Keep moving tip: A pain that goes away after you stop to stretch, ice, get new shoes or take a day off is no biggie. Otherwise get it checked out. You may also find that seeing a physician who is also a runner yields more active recovery options if you do have an injury or concern.
What you do the night before your training and your event day does matter. As your runs get longer, eat good food, hydrate and go to bed early the night before. Having wine, beer or that big ole slice of pizza doesn’t always sit well at mile 5.
Never miss an opportunity to go
Get up early, especially for long runs or on race day. You want to go #2 before. I’m not big on potty talk so we’ll leave it at that. Go before you go. And planning training runs around parks with bathrooms and coffee shops is a common practice.
Keep moving tip: Long lines at the porta potties miraculously clear out 2 minutes before race time. If you forgot, sneak over then and you’ll avoid a line. Most races are chip timed now, meaning your time starts when you cross the start line not when the gun goes off. Gun time only counts if you are trying to place or win the race.
Gu and Gatorade are optional
You don’t need fancy, processed, expensive sports drinks, chews or gu’s. You can (and should in my opinion) train with ordinary food you probably have in your cabinet right now. Raisins, Peanut butter sandwiches, etc. Read Fueling with whole foods for more specifics.
Disgusting has a new definition
There are a few things I used to be appalled by when I saw runners do them. Disgusting! Pushing my limits in running has required an adjustment to those. Girl, you just need to re-define.
Keep moving tip: Many a mama runner has pulled out baby wipes for a quick baby wipe “shower” before stopping at the store on the way home after a workout. If you must know, my kids are 11 & 13 and I still have wipes in the car. They smell better than wet ones too.
You will feel guilty
Mom guilt magically appears the millisecond we discover we are pregnant, hug an adopted child the first time or lay eyes on the kid. It’s built in, face it head on. When you take time to reach a personal goal, you come home a better mom, are a strong role model and let’s face it you’ll be happier. Do this for you, it’s ok.
Feeling like a kid
At some point during your runs, you’ll feel excited, thrilled, like you can do it all…just like a kid. Give it time, pretty soon after a long run your legs will feel like cement and you’ll move like your 100. Totally normal.
It’s the “feeling like a kid” part you remember for weeks or years later when you look back and when you decide to do it again. Hold onto the post run high, the feeling of accomplishment and relish the joy of it all. You got this.
Please share if all of these just happen to me or if you can relate to a few. Share, post and comment away. Thank you for stopping by.
Keep moving mama.
On more than one occasion I have been accused of having an answer for every excuse.
And I admit it’s true. I have made it my goal as a trainer to have an excuse for every excuse.
Today I’m tackling hydration. All sorts of excuses come back in response to this topic. Truthfully though the benefits to being hydrated far outweigh the excuses. When you are hydrated:
Ok, you say. “I’m in” where do I start?
I strongly believe we are more likely to follow through with anything when there is a goal to work toward. For hydration, I prefer a more personalized goal than the traditional 8 glasses per day. Take your body weight in pounds (the real one, not whatever made up number is on your driver’s license) and divide it in half. Drink at least that many ounces per day.
Use your fitbit to help you track your water and to write down your goal. The Make the most of your fitbit post tells you how.
Keep moving tip: Take note of the potty water. A dark color means you need more water, light color means you are hydrated.
"But how" you ask?
Here are a few time methods that have worked for not only me, and have been proven to work by my mom clients. Pick the ones that will work for you.
Keep moving tip: A pint and half ball jar is my water glass of choice, but this one comes in a 9 pack. 9?!?! Try this Make Ahead Soup-In-A-Jar idea for the other 8.
A few exceptions
There are things that will bump up your need for water. Diuretics, for example, talk your body into flushing the water out a bit faster. The big one for us moms is coffee, caffeinated soda is another. Drink a cup of coffee? Add a cup of water to your goal.
Sweating during exercise means you need to replace that water. Add 4 -6 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise. During the exercise whenever possible.
Now that you have both the reasons and a few tips to hydrate, it’s time to commit. Are you ready to hydrate and feel the difference? Comment below with your strategy and goal. Thank you for stopping by,
Keep moving mama.
Have you noticed fitness trackers on the wrists of all sorts of people recently? fitbit is the one that is most popular with my clients and that I use.
You see, fitbit and I see eye to eye on the need to track, analyze and challenge with facts and figures. It holds me accountable and tells it to me straight.
“0 active minutes? Get up and MOVE IT!” - fitbit said on Sunday
“Over 10,000 steps, keep it up!” -fitbit said yesterday
My fitbit of choice is the Flex. Simple, small and not too expensive. I’m seriously eyeing the Fitbit Charge HR but haven’t made the jump yet. Partially due to my investment in bands, more on that later.
Here are 5 ways make the most of your fitbit:
1. Wear it constantly.
The only reason to take off your fitbit is to shower or swim…or charge it. By keeping your fitbit on you can use all of it’s features. Period.
Keep it moving tip: Charge it when you shower and you’re a multitask-er.
Invest in a few colors or styles of band to mix it up.
Dress it up by pairing your fitbit with a few bracelets, it’s in style now to wear multiple bracelets.
2. Use the built in peer pressure
Find friends on fitbit.
Click on “friends” on your app or webpage, then on “find friends”. fitbit will search your contacts or facebook account to find others with fitbit. You can also email people directly to invite them to be your fitbit Friend. Fitbit "find friends" tutorial link.
Where do you rank?
Once you have friends, look at your feed and see where you rank with steps per day compared to your friends. Then see if you can over take someone today, maybe 2 tomorrow. A little competitiveness is good for ya!
This is a super fun feature. Challenge your friends to a Workweek Hustle or a Weekend Warrior challenge. Within the challenge you’ll see a list of each friend that accepts, how many steps they have AND be able to cheer or message them throughout the challenge.
When you win a challenge, I highly recommend you taunt your friends by posting a screen shot of your "You Won" message on facebook.
3. Track It
There are a number of stats that fitbit automatically tracks for you. You can not enter or edit them, you just have to do them.
Track your water. Click the water glass each time you finish a glass or bottle of water to enter the ounces. Being hydrated is one of the most over looked ways to improve your health. You’ll feel more energized, flush out toxins, feel less as hungry and your wrinkles will show less…if you don’t have any yet, you will.
Track your weight. Weigh yourself once a week and add it to the tracker. Facts keep us honest.
4. Connect your Fitbit to other apps
Keep moving tip: Only log things in one app. Log runs on fitbit, log food in Lose It!, not both. Use the primary tool so you don’t end up with double credit it.
5. Set alarms
Your fitbit will vibrate and lights will blink when an alarm goes off. This is sooo awesome, because no one else realizes your alarm went off. I love this when I get up before my husband for a workout, it doesn’t wake him to like a regular alarm would
Set an alarm for reminders
Fortunately or otherwise, I have called into customer service several times. They always teach me something I didn’t know before, and have even sent me a replacement, actually 3 times. If you don't know how to use a feature look it up on the help page or just call fitbit.
Research all the features your "toy" has, try them and let them motivate you to move more and eat less.
Bottom line is, to get your money’s worth and motivation from your fitbit use it.
What features do you like on fitbit? What do you use your alarm for?
As an athlete (yes that's you...see definition)
one of the most critical ways you can support your body is by providing fuel during long workouts.
Often new athletes will do a long run or ride, drink plenty of water and then be baffled at why they are tired, out of energy or even dizzy at the end. Simply fueling the body during the effort can provide the energy it needs to power you forward. Teaching clients to do this with whole foods often leads to "ah ha" moments, which are the most rewarding part of training moms.
You don’t need to fuel during an hour of gentle yoga or a 30 min run, eating well before and after are perfect here. Fueling during exercise comes into play with a workout over an hour or a shorter but very intense workout.
Finding a fueling system that works for you takes trial, error and time. That’s why it should be part of your workouts and certainly part of your event training process. When looking for fuel, we want easily digested carbohydrates that will absorb quickly and give you a nearly immediate boost.
The fuel market is full of gels, gu's, bars, chews, you name it. Flip it over, read the ingredients and see if you know what you’re putting into your body. I do this with everything I eat already so there’s no sense in throwing that practice out the window with training. Athletes trained with whole foods long before the gu market exploded and there’s a great way to find balance here.
Whole food fuel options:
Stingers – on one particular run, I discovered I’d dropped my fuel zip lock and changed my route to pass the local running store. They had these honey stingers which met my need to have something on the go, while still being mostly whole food ingredients. My nod to living in the real world and not being psycho with my whole food quest.
Zip lock bags are perfect with fuel. An open honey stick is not your friend at mile 8 when you discover it is oozing out of your pocket. The snack size small enough to fit in a pocket, or easy to store in a race belt (fanny pack who are we kidding here). Repac makes a great quality reuse-able bag worth checking out.
Buy a few options or raid your pantry for some foods you have already. Start by eating a small something every 30 min. then play with that. Is every 20 min better or 45? If you are training for an event, find out how often there are water stations available and try matching that interval during your training. A sip of water with any fuel is ideal. Again, training for an event has to include practicing fuel options. Over time you’ll discover you really can fuel with whole foods for your strongest finish.
Do what you would tell your kids to do. Wear clean underwear and eat good food.
Keep Moving Mama
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Sweet! The kids are off to school, I’m up, the good socks are clean and my phone is charged. I’m going for a long overdue solo run.
If I had only remembered to put on my Glide, I wouldn't have had chafe spots to hurt so bad in the shower! What’s Glide you ask?
It’s MAGIC, plain and simple.
In 1998 I trained for my first marathon with a group and the leader told us to buy a huge tub of Vaseline. We soon figured out why, you put that stuff anywhere clothes will rub, on your feet, under your sports bra, you name it. But even if you put handfuls on it would wear off after several hours, your feet would be raisins and who wants to carry Vaseline during an event much less sit down take off your shoes and put on more?
Fast forward to 2008 I’m leading Moms In Motion running and walking teams and discover Glide....the clouds opened up to blue sky and the sun shined right through…really it did. This stuff is in a stick like deodorant, so you can smear it on without getting it all over your hands. AND it stays-for-hours. Bra line, arm where your arm band is, ends of your toes, inner thighs, booty when you cycle, anywhere fabric may rub across your skin or you tend to get blisters.
Glide is MAGIC I tell ya. If you are a heavy sweater, ahem, do any endurance sports, hike, cycle or mountain bike you're likely to be familiar with the extremely uncomfortable chafe of which I speak. Order some Glide on amazon right now!
Keep moving tip: You can also buy an adorable pink Glide container. It’s the same exact product, just more expensive cause it's cute.
Silly as it sounds, I absolutely love this stuff. If you must know I actually keep a sample size stick in my purse. Have you used Glide? Or do you have another magic item for workouts?
Keep moving mama
Combining a love of real food, commitment to exercise, a home based business and a family without going over the edge is the balance I seek daily. There is a confidence that comes from combining these things into life.
This blog post contains affiliate links to products I recommend and use myself. If you choose to buy them I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!