For the past 3 years, I have decided that I would complete a half marathon…as a runner. In what seems at times like another life, the one before kids, I walked 2 marathons and one half. Those experiences certainly shaped my approach to challenge and had a huge part in what I do now as a trainer and coach.
However, no matter what anyone else says, pretty much everything, yes everything changes when you have children. That change has never been a negative for me, I relish every part good and bad of parenthood. What a wild ride!
As it relates to fitness, becoming a mom has changed how I approach fitness and my own health. It has driven me to get more effective workouts done in little time, it has made the “pain” of workouts seem minimal, it has driven me to focus fitness for health above how I look and it has taught me to cherish my workout time as my own time.
During and after my long distance walking, what I thought was a knee problem became a factor and in my mind determined that I would not be a runner or do long distances.
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 around to exercise. I became a group fitness instructor, running coach and personal trainer, operating a fitness business from my home.
However, soon after I started to run 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 adhesions 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, 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. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/sore-muscles-dont-stop-exercising?page=1
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. Your 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. Keep your mind on the positive, not on what you cannot do.
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. It is used with tension and placement to support a variety of injuries. It’s use with plantar fasciitis is covered is shown in my post Home remedies for plantar fasciitis. Visit their website, kttape.com/instructions to watch 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 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 tomorrows half marathon, 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
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