First, if you haven't already done so, PLEASE go vote for me (Shannon Mulcahy) to become a member of the Refuel With Chocolate Milk team! I would really appreciate all the support I can get so go tell your friends to vote too! Voting is here!
I have done a few posts over the past week or so about how I have been running more consistently. I have really fallen in love with running, especially running higher mileage. Last night I went out for an easy 4 mile run and I wasn't feeling too great. I felt pretty slow, and my shins were bothering me. I made sure to keep my pace slow so I didn't end up in too much pain but by the end of the run my knees and the tops of my feet were also bothering me. I started to panic. I had been feeling so great the past week and was so scared that it was all a fluke. I immediately started thinking of ways to recover so I wouldn't be in too much pain or discomfort to do my long run tomorrow. That was when it hit me. I have not been taking proper care of myself following my runs.
Ever since I got home from vacation I have been slacking a little. My running has been going really well and I have been getting faster, but I have been skipping out on a bunch of other important things. First of all, I stopped icing after my runs. Before I used to have to ice or else I would be in too much pain to run the next time. But once I wasn't in pain after running anymore I stopped icing. While I do not think that it is necessary to ice after every run, I do think it is crucial to ice after any runs that are hard or leave me in any kind of pain or discomfort. Tuesday night I did a hard tempo run and afterwards my knees and shins were bothering me but instead of icing them like I should have I went out for ice cream with my mom. I could have iced when I came home but at that point I was feeling better so I decided that is wasn't necessary. WRONG. I payed for it yesterday during my easy 4 miles.
Another thing I haven't been doing that I should be is cross training. Sure I have done a few non-running workouts here or there but not nearly enough, especially considering I have a triathlon next weekend. (eek!) The best part about cross training is that each different type of workout benefits my running in a different way. Swimming loosens me up and helps build upper body strength, cycling works on endurance, and Insanity really builds up lower body strength. I feel so much better while running when I am hitting my cross training workouts.
I know this may sound crazy, but I do not normally stretch before or after I run. That is something that I really need to change though. I know how important stretching is for the body, since it really made a huge difference when I used to swim competitively. I used to be pretty flexible but I am not anymore since I haven't been stretching. I would also like to add a weekly yoga session if possible to help with stretching.