From Coach Sara:
I hope you all had a great week and were successful in completing all your workouts. Hopefully you were able to enjoy a few cooler morning runs!
As we continue into week 5, you are getting into the swing of increasing your mileage slowly. With new distances and longer workouts, you might also be experiencing new and prolonged muscles soreness, maybe even muscles you didn’t even know you had! While delayed onsite muscles soreness (DOMS) is completely normal, it might also keep you from feeling ready to go for your next run, even if you had one or two days of rest.
When this happens, it is important to listen to your body and know how much more you can handle or when to take an extra rest day. One of the best ways to help with the soreness and break up stiffness is to get back out there are get the blood flowing through your legs. However if you constantly feel stiff and the soreness is only getting worse, even with walks, I would encourage you to take an extra day or two of rest. It is okay to skip or move a workout around if your body is experiencing over-training or exhaustion. You will not lose any progress from an extra rest day; in fact most likely you will see more progress when your muscles are recovered and fresh.
It is important to know the difference between muscle soreness and pain. If you still experience pain or extreme soreness after a few days of rest, you may consider consulting a physician to ensure there isn’t an underlying issue that needs treatment.
Also make sure you are working on your flexibility and stretching to complement your running. It is something we all know we need to do but can find any excuse to skip it. The primary and most important benefit of stretching is to help prevent injuries. It may be difficult to take the time to do it, but making it a priority is so worth reaching the start line feeling healthy rather than beat up and worrying if you will be able to complete it at all.
Static stretching before you run isn’t as crucial, in fact stretching cold muscles can cause more harm than it is beneficial. I do recommend going through a series of active/dynamic stretches that target muscles used for running. If you are short on time, I recommend using the first five to 10 minutes of your run as the warm-up, just take it slower and ease into your pace. You can find more information about dynamic warm ups here.
The ideal time to stretch is immediately after your run. You do not have to spend 30 minutes stretching but taking a minute to stretch each major muscle group will help keep you from feeling those tight, achy muscles later on. Here are examples of stretches that can be performed after your workout.
Foam rolling is also one technique that you may have heard of but may not be familiar with how it works or what to do. This is a form of self- myofacial release that is similar to a deep tissue massage. It focuses on loosening overactive muscles. It can be used as a warm-up and a cool-down to relax any knots or tight muscles built up from running. There are several different sizes, shapes and styles, all of which can be a great tool depending on your needs and sensitivity of your muscles. Red Coyote can help find what option is best for you.
This week, we asked our bloggers to share some advice for people just getting started. Read their answers below.
From Georgeanna: I get asked often, “Where do I start? How do I start getting healthy?” My answer is simple: just start. We may all be at different fitness levels, but everyone has a starting point. Nothing will change if you don’t just start somewhere. It may be walking for 10 minutes a day, or it may be running a mile on day one. But whatever it is, getting started is better than staying put.
There is a quote that I would keep in my head when I felt frustrated with myself at the beginning of my wellness journey: “You may be slow, but you’re lapping everyone who is still on the couch.” I had to remind myself that I had not worked out in years, and even if I wasn’t the fastest, at least I was trying.
Taking time to focus on yourself, to get moving, to get healthy is necessary. I would encourage all women to find some time each day to make themselves a priority. It can be hard with the commitments we have like work, kids, cooking, cleaning, homework. Where do we find the time? You make time. If you wait for the perfect time to start, it will never happen. No time is the exact right moment to start. The time to start is when you say it’s time.
I spent years taking care of everyone but myself. I identified myself through my commitments. I am a manager. I am a Mom. I am a wife. But where was Georgeanna in all of that? I was drowning in my other responsibilities and had lost who I was. I had been a gymnast, very athletic when I was young. I felt like I was supposed to be an athlete, to be fit, to be strong. But, that version of me had not been seen for years.
It wasn’t until I waved the white flag, asked for help, and finally just started that I found myself again. It was hard to start, but so worth it. I don’t regret a moment I spent with my family, but do wish that along with that, I had stopped to take better care of myself. Getting healthy has given me confidence I haven’t had in years. I feel like the me I am supposed to be.
I applaud those of you have already begun. I am so proud of the commitment you have made. If you have a friend, a co-worker, a sister who you think may be lost in the chaos that life can bring, invite them to get started with you. Tell them about your journey with Strong Together. Invite them on a run or a walk with you. Let’s help them make this their moment to get started.
From Christina: This week our blog entries are focused on one tip to share with others who are just getting started. My tip comes from Walt Disney who simply stated that "the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
I did a lot of talking to myself before I made the decision to start getting back to fitness with the Strong Together group. I talked about how little time I had to devote to a training schedule. I talked about how out of shape I was and how that would make it harder for me to get through the scheduled workouts. I talked about how I didn't have anyone to work out with since I was new to the city. I told myself that I could get in shape on my own (despite having not done this successfully on my own in the past) without having to commit to a group that I would be accountable to. Lots of talking. Even after submitting my story to MetroFamily Magazine and being selected as a Strong Together blogger, I still told myself that I may let the group down if I wasn't able to stay committed to the program. Once I stopped talking about making this much-needed lifestyle change for myself and started actually doing my walk/jogs following the runhers' Sofa2Success schedule I found that it was a worthwhile endeavor. The doing has gotten a little easier and a lot more rewarding as the weeks have passed. I have found friends to work out alongside me. I have found support and encouragement through the words of the fellow Strong Together bloggers and other women on the Facebook page. We are talking AND doing!
Are you a talker or are you a doer? Being a talker isn't a bad thing; what matters is what you are telling yourself and whether your talking is limiting your doing. Talk to yourself about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Talk about the way you feel about yourself after you have walked/run further than you had the previous day. Talk about the new friends (including yourself) you have made/could make after starting.
The Nike corporation sums up Disney's on getting started well: "Just Do It!"
From Shannon: There are so many "do this, don't do this" tips and tricks online. Different people will have their own opinions or stories. Some tips will be fabulous and doable, some will not be as easy or even possible depending on your current fitness level. I am not a professional, but I do have my own opinions and tips and things that have worked well for me. If they don't work well for you, find your own method and what works for you. This is a sure way to continue on your quest for fitness success.
By now you may be wondering now what my awesome tip is. Well, it is to just get started! Start where you are, do your best, not your friend's best. Set your own small, obtainable goals. Start something you can succeed with, and when you succeed, set out to make your next goal. You will be amazed at where you will be at in the next month, it is up to you to start and don't ever give up or quit. Starting your journey is one of the hardest hurdles but you can start your journey to be a better you.
From Piper: The biggest lesson I have learned throughout this whole process is to be flexible. There are so many times when it is easy to quit or to talk yourself out of a run because circumstances are not perfect but being flexible in these times is what separates those who cross the finish line and those who don’t.
Have you ever tried something that was completely out of your comfort zone? I know I sure have! When I was in elementary school, my mom wanted me to go to basketball camp for a week. She was a good basketball player growing up and I had been around it my entire life so it only seemed natural. My basketball skills were anything but natural, though, and the longer I attended that camp, the more obvious it was that I was not going to be good at playing or even interested in playing like my mom was. Even though it was not a good fit for me, I am still proud of myself for trying, overcoming the self-consciousness I felt, and committing to the week. If there is one thing I learned from basketball camp that year it was that obstacles don’t seem quite as scary once you have conquered them.
If I could give advice to someone just getting started it would be to simply be okay with your imperfections. It’s okay to struggle and finding beauty in the whole process can be life-changing.