Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Good afternoon and happy Sunday friends! I hope all of you had lovely weeks filled with fun, time in the sunshine, and some exercise.  I know I did!  Exercise-wise this week was a bit of roller coaster. It started out rough with a crappy four mile run, then a good run, then an okay run, then a wonderful bike ride, and finally best run I’ve had post injury. I think I am being too hard on myself with my runs. I was injured for 5 months, have only been allowed to run/walk or run for a month, and I just finished Physical Therapy a week ago, so of course I am going to be slow and feel out of shape. Sometimes, during a run, I forgot those things and wonder why 7:50 min/mile feels so hard, why my form feels off, and why four miles feels so far. I need to remember that patience and going slow (in terms of pace, miles per week, and number of runs per week) is important to prevent an injury relapse or a different injury.

Getting back into shape is going to take time and preventing an IT band injury relapse is going to  take dedication to my post- physical therapy strength exercises and to a slow return to running. I am up for this challenge! I need to remember that I am LUCKY to be running now. In March I would have given ANYTHING to be where I am today. I may not get back into shape, run my usual pace, find my running rhythm, or be able to race for a while. But I know I will eventually. I always do. Running is not always about the destination, sometimes it’s about the journey. I need to embrace my own  journey of getting back into shape and to be proud of how far I’ve come. 🙂 I will be back to my old, running self in no time if I am patient and grateful.

Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Monday July 20th: Rest day.

Tuesday July 21st: Warm up: clams, band walks (side steps and forward), and 5 minutes walking. 4 mile run at 8:04 min/ mile. It was a hot day and my legs felt heavy and I felt lethargic. Not a good run. 😦 Cool down: walking, stretches with the stretch out strap, foam rolling, and 3X30 sec planks (front, right side, and left side).

Wednesday July 22nd: Warm up: same as Tuesday. 3 mile run at 8:14 min/mile. Felt pretty good on this evening run after work, even though it was slow. :/ Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and 2X 1 min front planks.

Thursday July 23rd: Rest day.

Friday July 24th: Warm up: The usual PT exercises plus walking. 3 mile run at 7:56 min/mile. Even though it was very hot and humid on this run I felt pretty good! Cool down: Walking, stretches, and foam rolling.

Saturday July 25th: 16 mile bike ride. I paced my boyfriend on the bike and carried water for him on his long run.  This was hands down my favorite workout of the week! It was a beautiful day and got to see some parts of the Lakeshore Trail I had not seen before. I of snapped a few pictures of my lovely views (see below). I am inspired by my boyfriend’s dedication as he trains for the Chicago Marathon this fall. He is also fast, but probably doesn’t want me to brag here. 😉 I am one proud girlfriend and am glad we both love to run and stay active together! 🙂

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Sunday July 26th (today): Warm up: the usual. 3 mile run at 7:37 min/mile. I am finally running a bit faster and feeling closer to my old self. 🙂 This was a good run and it felt effortless! Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and planks (3×1 min. front planks and 3x 30 sec. right and left side planks)

Totals: 13 miles running + 16 miles biking

I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday! I am looking forward to some time to relax and read before the work week starts again tomorrow.

What books are you currently reading this summer and recommend? I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and I highly recommend it! I loved it because it was unpredictable! Today, I  just started Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and hope it’s as interesting as Dark Places. I can tell it will be a quick read though, so I’d love some recommendations!

Wonderful Wednesday: a Lakeshore bike path workout, the beach, and homemade granola

Hi there! Today has been a wonderful Wednesday. The weather was (and still is) absolutely beautiful here in Chicago-not cold or hot and mostly sunny! It’s been a full day because we woke up early and in the wise words of my boyfriend this was because we needed to “get up and attack the day”!

We started the day off right by getting up early to drink some coffee, eat breakfast, and study (well make granola in my case because I don’t have studying to do for my class today), 😛 Then, it was time to workout! I biked with my boyfriend while he ran. I’m still trying to ease back into running because of my IT band injury so I’ll try a short run again tomorrow.

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(What a perfect view during our workout today. I could get used to it! Smile)

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(We worked out on the beautiful Lakeshore bike path. There were tons and tons of people out there today and no shortage of amazing views.)

Then, after our workout it was time for lunch. We used the homemade granola I made earlier as a topping for peanut butter sandwiches. I love eating granola on peanut butter sandwiches for extra crunch. I’ll share the recipe for the granola below!

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After lunch my boyfriend and I went to the beach to get some sun and reading time in. It was a little chilly when the clouds came out, but otherwise a perfect day to lay out!

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(There was no shortage of bird friends at the beach either. 😛 )

All in all, its been a great day so far.  It hasn’t even been a week, but I already love it here!

As promised the granola recipe I made earlier is below. It is inspired by the recipe Awesome Granola by Liz Applegate in the Runner’s World Cookbook (page 20). I made some substitutions, though: flax seed instead of wheat germ, cashews and sunflower seeds instead of almonds, and I doubled the amount of raisins. Here’s a link to the original recipe: http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/better-bowl?page=single. This recipe is healthier than store bought because it only uses a small amount of oil and sweeter and it can be made vegan by substituting the honey for maple syrup or another sweetener.

Homemade cashew and raisin granola

ingredients:

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/8 cup flax seed

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup canola oil

1/3 cup honey

2/3 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease a medium glass baking dish

2.  On the stovetop, in a saucepan, combine the honey and oil and heat over medium heat until bubbles start to form.

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3. Combine the old fashioned oats, flax seed, cashews, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon in a different bowl.

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4. Pour the honey and oil mixture into the oat mixture bowl and mix until combined.

5. Spread the mixture evenly into a glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the granola turns a color brown color. Make sure to stir the granola every ten minutes.

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6. Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the 2/3 cup of raisins. Let the granola cool completely before storing in a Tupperware.

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This granola is tasty and I like it almost as much as homemade peanut butter granola! My favorite ways to eat granola are in oatmeal, on peanut butter sandwiches, and in Greek yogurt.

Have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday everyone! Smile

What is your favorite granola flavor and way to eat it?

Busy Thursday, banana pancakes, and weekly workouts IT band rehabilitation style

Good evening! I don’t know about you, but today has been an unusually busy summer day. My dad had the day off of work so I woke up early to grab breakfast with him. I got banana pancakes and they were delicious. I really wish I had snapped a picture of them. I feel like a complete dork, but anytime I eat banana pancakes I think of the Jackson Johnson song  and I instantly start singing it in my head!

After that, my dad and I went to visit my grandpa and grandma. It was nice to see them both one more time before I make my big move this Saturday. We also grabbed a late lunch there. I got vegetable, black bean, and rice fajitas. They were tasty! This has definitely been a day full of eating. 😛  Once we got back home it was late afternoon and I decided to tackle some packing since I move in two days. Thankfully, I don’t have too much to pack as I never unpacked all my things when I graduated from college a little over a month ago. After an hour or so of packing I decided it was time to get a workout in. I’ll finish up my packing tomorrow. It was a beautiful day so I decided to go for a short bike ride. I really wanted to run, but I still can’t because of my IT band injury. Thankfully, no IT band pain during the 30-40 minute bike ride so that’s a good sign!

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In addition to biking, I wanted to discuss what I’ve been doing during this injury to stay in shape, strengthen my body, and allow my IT band to heal. I do want to mention that after my half marathon and during the time I discovered this injury I have also taken several rest days, something I haven’t done in a while. As a previous college athlete, I used to almost fear rest days i(days where I did not run or do any cardio workouts). I think my IT band needed the rest and I am no longer training for specific seasons so I can afford to do this. I think because I took a little more than a week of no cardio workouts I was able to jump right back into biking, a workout that may aggravate or cause pain to some people with IT band syndrome. Below is a list of the workouts I have been doing, in addition to biking, for the last two weeks to try to help my IT band heal.

IT band rehabilitation routine that focuses on strengthening my hips and glutes. The routine I do is something I learned after going to a physical therapist my freshmen year of college when I got my first case of IT band syndrome. I do TheraBand exercises, balancing exercises and some core moves. Online I found a routine that is very good and quite similar to the one I do at Strength Running: http://strengthrunning.com/2011/02/the-itb-rehab-routine-video-demonstration/.

Core and pushups. I’ve been trying to do core exercises and pushups nearly everyday. I am up to around 50 pushups most days of the week so I am proud of myself! I also focus on whole body moves such as planks, bridges, and hollow holds as well as crunches and sit ups. I typically hold my planks and bridges for two minutes and do 50- 200 crunches/sit ups.

Yoga/stretching. This is my weakest area and possibly why I got injured in the first place. I probably did not dedicate enough time after my runs to stretch or do yoga. For that reason I have been focusing on improving myself, but I am definitely a work in progress. I love how yoga feels, but I hate doing it if that makes sense. I am not flexible by any means and sometimes I wonder if my hips are made of metal because of how difficult they are to stretch! I have a yoga app on my phone I really like called Yoga Studio. I like using the app on days I want to do a more structured yoga routine.

Foam rolling. So painful, but so good! I foam roll everyday sometimes multiple times per day focusing on my IT bands, but I still roll out all my muscles. All you need is a few minutes once per day and a brave face to endure the potential pain and reap the benefits.

Have you ever had a running or sports related injury? If so what kind of workouts and rehabilitation did you do in order to stay in shape and heal?