Friday, February 18, 2011
.... handing out HM/marathon training advice, like it is the one and only way? Why is it that some people think they have all the right answers? Where do some people get the feeling that they are certified to diagnose someone's physical ailment over the internet, and prescribe treatment?
This has been something that has bothered me for a long time. While most people here on SP are very kind, tactful, and respectful with their advice, there are some people, especially in the marathon training realm, who are just down-right rude. While I really love SparkPeople, and have gleaned so much running knowledge from being active on here, some people really go overboard.
It wasn't very long after I started my marathon training, that I started seeing some harsh advice being handed out, even someone insisting to me at one point that I had INJURED myself, and that I needed to stop running, when it ended up just being muscle cramps/spasms. The cure? Simple muscle relaxers. It wasn't an injury at all. At one point, this person even stated in their response something to this effect, "At the risk of sounding harsh...." Whoa. Wait a minute. If you even have to start a sentance like that, maybe you should just keep your comments to yourself!
In another situation early in my marathon training, I started having knee pain. At the time, didn't know what it was. I posted it in one of my blogs. Sure enough, I got a response from someone INSISTING that I needed to reconsider my training plan. i very politely thanked them for their advice, but expressed that I loved my training plan and planned to keep it that way.
**Let me just insert here, that the knee issue ended up being IT band, which I addressed with a foam roller, exercises and stretches, and it completely disappeared. **
Little did I know, this whole situation INFURIATED this person, simply because I did NOT agree with their advice. I got a very nasty email a few days later, much to my surprise!! This person simply couldn't accept that I didn't agree with their training "RULES."
Where do some people get off, seriously?!? There are so many training plans out there, all claiming to be the best, all claiming to keep you "INJURY-FREE". Which one is right? They are all so different. Some recommending speed training only after so many weeks into a training plan, some recommending NO speed training, some recommending the last long run 3 weeks out from the race, some doing the last long run 2 weeks out, some recommending the run/walk method.....
I mean, when it comes to physical problems, it is one thing to say, "Hey, I had a similar problem to what you are describing. This is what the doctor said, this is what it felt like, this is what I did to treat it. Hope you find out what the problem is and feel better soon!" That is helpful. But telling someone that they are training incorrectly, and posting angry messages when they disagree or don't do as you recommend??? Not helpful.
Oh, and about tapering - it seems to me that running your longest run 3 weeks out from the race is what is most commonly recommended here on SP. I could be wrong on that, but that is what I have noticed. My particular training plan had my last 20-miler out 2 weeks from the marathon, but I changed it due to advice from a fellow Sparker. I am not upset about that at all, but I did feel an ABLIGATION to conform. In the end, I did my 20-miler 3 weeks out, and a 16-miler 2 weeks out, and was planning to do most my mile-reduction in the last week pre-race. Was it really necessary to change my plan? Would I really have performed less optimal with my 20-miler 2 weeks prerace? Who is really to say? But I was even afraid to post that I did a 16-miler 2 weeks out for fear of the "advice" I might get.....
I think it is EVERYONE'S individual RIGHT and FREEDOM to choose the plan that best suits them. We are all adults here! We are all able to make these decisions for ourselves, and shouldn't be criticized by others for training differently! When it comes down to it, we are all pushing our bodies to the limit, and regardless of the training method, we could follow all the best "RULES," and STILL end up with injury!
Here's what I think:
1. ALWAYS running slow does NOT always = Injury-free.
2. ALWAYS waiting until the 6th week of marathon training to introduce speed work does NOT always = injury-free
3. ALWAYS running in run/walk methods does NOT always = injury-free.
4. ALWAYS running your long runs super slow does NOT always = injury-free.
5. ALWAYS doing a taper of 3 full weeks does NOT always = your best race performance.
6. ONLY increasing distance without increasing speed does NOT always = Injury-free.
While these things may HELP, it is NOT a guarantee. In fact, MOST injuries stem from preexisting PHYSICAL conditions in addition to the training, that only become obvious when we have pushed ourselves to a certain point. Things like:
1. Weight - obviously the heavier you are, the more impact your joints and everything will take, leaving you more susceptible to injury.
2. Unknown misalignment in back - we are all unique physically, and many of us are slightly misaligned and don't even know it. While this doesn't cause a problem from day to day, or with shorter running distances, it can cause problems later, when mileage is greatly increased, REGARDLESS of how slow.
3. Weak muscles - I have read over and over that weak hip abductor muscles, as well as abs and back muscles, can be the culprits. So STRENGTH TRAIN, runners!
4. Unknown bad running form - Studies have shown that a shorter stride will have less impact on your joints. For some people, it might be their stride; some people, it might be heavy heel strike; some people, it might be which way their toes are pointed (so I have read).
5. Overpronation/underpronation: Both conditions can leave you more susceptible to IT band issues.
There are probably more physical conditions that might be contributing factors.
So, I came up with my own rules about running and training. Here they are:
1. Listen to your body, first and foremost!! If you have concerns about pain or discomfort, see a doctor, and read all the information you can. Educate yourself, and be proactive. There are many things, like piriformis problems and IT-band-related knee pain, that can (in most cases) be easily treated to keep you running the way you love. Find treatment that works for you, and if worse comes to worse, change your running plan.
2. Find a training plan or method (whether you follow a specific plan or not) that best suits YOU, and how YOU love to run. Don't let anyone else govern your training method. By all means, please educate yourself on the best training advice, but in the end, the choice is yours.
3. Choose the taper period that best suits YOU, and don't necessarily do a certain time period because everyone else seems to be doing it.
4. Base your running goals on you and you alone, and always put reasonable expectations on yourself.
5. And by all means, please be polite and respectful when handing out your running tips. Just because you are "INJURY-FREE" doesn't mean you have all the right answers. You could've just gotten lucky.
It's all about RESPECT, people!! Respect people who may have a different approach than you. Respect people who may have a different opinion than you. Respect people who may like to run differently than you. Always hand out your advice and tips and personal experiences with a big dose of respect.
Happy running, EVERYONE!!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I have the flu.
Yesterday, I went from feeling ok and doing a pretty great run in the am, to barely being able to lift myself from the couch in the afternoon. Although at one point I questioned if I REALLY felt THAT bad, that I should skip my BodyPump, it soon became apparent that I would not be going ANYWHERE. Even if I did manage to drag myself to the gym, I didn't have the energy or strength to lift a finger....
About mid-morning, I started feeling a little achy, but still not bad. I got in a nap right after lunch, and slept for almost 2 hours. I felt really cold, and had a long-sleeved T-shirt on, plus a thick sweater, plus a thick sweater jacket, PLUS a scarf! And I was STILL chilled! And my house is not THAT cold. By mid- to late-afternoon, my body was RAGING - achy all over, feverish feeling (though I didn't take my temp), and just not good at all. I had absolutely no energy or strength, and getting up to walk around was strenuous.
So, yep, I skipped BodyPump, and my run this morning. Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day, and I will have to see how I am feeling for Saturdays run. But like I said, I am not disappointed. I actually welcome the rest at this point. Gonna sleep as much as possible today and tomorrow, take it easy, drink lots of fluids, eat lots of soup, and hopefully, I will be back to myself in no time. I am already feeling a great deal better than I was late yesterday. My body is not raging like it was. I still don't feel great, but it is already much better.
ONLY 9 more DAYS!!! My big marathon debut is in ONLY 9 DAYS!! Just thought I would throw that in there. You knew I couldn't write a blog without mentioning that, right?!?!
Thank you, all my fellow Sparkers, for the encouragement and tips!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Sooooooooo, 10 DAYS, PEOPLE, TEN DAYS!!! Yep that is right, my marathon is in only 10 DAYS!!!
Ok, now that I got that out of the way......
The last few weeks, I'll be honest, I haven't run in my VFFs at all. I really wanted to focus on my running and training for my marathon, so I kinda put the VFFs on the backseat.
But now I am tapering, my runs aren't so long, and I thought I would break them out... So, yesterday afternoon, I snuck out while my little ones were sleeping for a quick 2 miles. Then this morning, after much debate in my head, I decided to take them out for my full run, a short one, but still the full length.
I had 4.5 miles planned, but I was really tired and sluggish this morning (I think I am coming down with something, or my body is fighting something... I'll come back to that topic...), so it started getting late, and I figured 5K was good enough. After all, I am tapering, right? I think at this point, I can't really condition myself any more than I already am, so dropping a mile and a half off the run won't matter.
So, I set out. Actually we had a thin layer of fresh new snow from last night! So, I got to leave my Vibrams tracks in the snow. I probably had all the people wondering, "What kind of crazy tracks are THOSE?!?! Somebody out here walking around barefoot?"
Yeah, ok, so it was a little chilly this morning, plus running in the snow, so my toes did get a bit cold! They felt really cold at first, but after a mile, it wasn't so bad. I also did NOT have socks on with them. I need to try the socks out...
So, I did 3.3 miles this morning, 2 miles yesterday, and I might even try for 6 miles tomorrow, though that might be pushing it. We will see! All I know is that I have no foot, ankle, or calf pain from running in those. So far, it looks very good.
As far as me not feeling good.... yeah, my kiddos have been sick over the last couple of weeks. Nothing that seems too terribly serious - slight fever, lots of coughing and congestion, whiny-ness (of course!), tiredness, not eating as much as they usually do, and so on.
I have had some congestion lately, and felt more tired than usual. And this morning, I felt like someone was sitting on my chest! So, I definitely am fighting something. I really haven't come down HARD with anything yet, and if I do, I would actually welcome it. It would just mean a forced rest during my taper, which I think will only be better for me come race day! But I want to kick whatever this is fast, so it isn't plaguing me on race day. I can always feel it in my runs when I am fighting something, my energy level definitely takes a hit. I often notice it in my energy levels before I really have symptoms. Weird.
Well, Here's to taking care of myself over the next few days, and getting myself all well and ready to RUN, RUN, RUN!!! 26 POINT 2, BABY YEAH!!! Or should I say, 42 POINT 2!! Since we use the metric system here....
Keep Sparking, Sparkers!!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
So, um.... about my marathon....
I think I should just start all my blogs that way, since that is about how all my sentences start these days!!
But about that, MY FRIEND IS COMING!! She bought her tickets and is to arrive on Friday, the day before my marathon, and will stay with us for about a week. I am so EXCITED!!! It's so cool. I think we are gonna have a blast!!
The date I had with DH on Saturday was FUN! We NEVER eat out.... I mean, hardly ever. We just can't afford it, plus babysitting... Seriously, last year, I think we ate out a TOTAL of 3 times the entire year of 2010. I just cook, all the time, and I try to keep good variety to keep it interesting, and to keep it healthy.
So, because we so rarely go out, we had a hard time deciding where to go, since we haven't been to 99.9999999999% of the restaurants in our area. So, we finally decided on this Italien place about 30 minutes away. We got there, and it was a really cute little place. It was DEFINITELY authentic Italien, the waiter dude and the restaurant manager (perhaps the owner?) were Italien. It was so cute to hear them speak German with their little Italien inflection....
My husband LOVES melon with Prosciutto ham, so he ordered that as an appetizer... They came out with this HUGE plate with about 7 slices of melon (at LEAST half a melon, if not MORE)... We were totally shocked! It was the size of a main dish... Here it is AFTER he already ate a few slices of melon with the Prosciutto...
So, we decided to ask them if we could take it with, since it was sooooo much food, and we wanted room for the main course. When we called the restaurant manager over, he comes to me, really concerned like, and says, "Senore, WAS ist LOS?" (What is wrong?) It was SOOOOO CUTE! Italien accent and all!
I ordered a filet steak from the menu, served with a honey balsamic sauce and steamed vegetables that was TO DIE FOR!! Delicious! And, unfortunately, I went overboard, and got dessert too, even though I was SOOOO FULL! I never order dessert at restaurants! NEVER! But those Italians, they had me swept away with their AWESOME FOOD!
Oh, did I mention, when we left our house, it was snowing hard? We haven't had any snow for week now, and it's been warm, but right before our babysitter came, the snow just started coming down. By the time we got out of the restaurant, this is what our car looked like:
That is after less than 2 hours!!! We had to drive home really carefully, so we decided to nix the after-dinner plans we had had to go play pool or bowling. It was all good. We had a great time! This is us, riding home:
And we even did a little something special together yesterday too. Nothing big, just here at the house, but still nice. I am very blessed with a wonderful hubby!
About the cafe, I snapped a couple of pics of the outside yesterday. Here they are:
I wish this one had turned out better, but I think you get the idea:
And the sign from the street - um, yes, that is the MAIN street through our village that you see....
Have a wonderful Sparky day, everyone!! Happy running and fitness to all!
Monday, February 14, 2011
.... has been OFF THE CHARTS!!! And NOT in a good way! Sometimes, I eat too much, but I try to keep it healthy choices... But that's not the case in the last few days. We're talkin' TOO MUCH & NOT healthy!!!
I know I'm training for a marathon and all, but that is no excuse for this eating behavior. It's just down right ridiculous and uncalled-for. Ive eaten so much cakes, dessert, torte, chocolate etc., and consumed far too many alcoholic drinks in the past few days.
Why?!?!? I really don't know. This is not like me. Maybe it's my nervous excitement about my marathon... That's in 12 DAYS!! Again, no excuse.
But this has GOT to STOP!!! There's no more important time than now to make sure my body is getting the right nutrients... So tomorrow, guess what?!? That's right, it's back on track, full swing, full speed ahead, with all the strength and determination I can muster! There'll be plenty of time and reason to indulge and celebrate in 2 weeks. But for now, I must FOCUS!!! Even through taper!!
Any encouragement is greatly appreciated!! You Sparkers are the BEST!! Thanks for all your support and encouragement, everyone!!
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