2016: A Year in Review

Another year another re-wind!  This year was full of firsts and most of them travel related.  All in all it was a great year, let’s kick it back all the way to January!

January:  Our first trip to London!!!  It was cold but it was fun.  We saw all the highlights but my favorite was the Harry Potter tour!!!!  Pretty sure I died from happiness here.

February:  I got to travel to Atlanta and take a day trip to Savannah.  I fell in love with Savannah and cant wait to take a run-cation here one day.  Seriously beautiful!  I also ran the Gasparilla Half Marathon with Brittany and got my best half marathon time of 2:13!!!!!

March:  My nephew was born!!!  However, you know the saying “if you didnt photograph it, then it didnt happen”.  Well apparently we didnt do anything in March because its a void of nothing on my amazon drive.  After two months of travels sitting at home and relaxing a bit is much deserved.  My calendar says I was in San Antonio and Dallas for work but those are boring places so that explains a lot!  I would post a picture of my too-cute-nephew but I dont think his mom and dad want him all over the web just yet 😉

April:  Its off to the races with a Kentucky Derby themed Gourmet Night which has to be the most fun we had dressing up in quite a while.  Joe and I also traveled to North Carolina and fell in love with Asheville.  I cannot wait to go back to the Biltmore Estate, the Vineary on property is delightful.  I also decided to sign up for my first marathon!  Yikes!!

May:  Work brought me to Orlando and just in time for the opening of Disney Springs as well as the ending of Flower and Garden festival.  I was all by myself but I got to experience a lot of new things at Walt Disney World which was a ton of fun.

June:  Joe and I spent a day celebrating the 2nd anniversary of a local brewery.  It was a day full of laughs and luckily nice weather.  Work also brought me back to NYC where I got to stay in my favorite hotel Archer New York, spent a few days in Atlantic City and did a 7 mile run over the Brooklyn Bridge.

July:  July started our stair-renovation project which took way longer than it should have but I love so much now.  Sometimes the solution is to rip all the carpet up and throw it out a window #noshame.  This is also the month I completed training and became a vacation specialist with Dream Come True Vacations!!!  #dreamjob.  Later in the month we traveled to Las Vegas for a surprise birthday for my uncle and it was a smashing success!

August:  August started with me doing the Blogilaties for Beginners calendar series and loving every second of it (being sore and all).  I also found myself in LA and exploring that city and its terrible traffic.  I also got to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and getting my butterbeer fix.

September:  ITS FINALLY HERE!!!  PARIS!!!  This month we took our week long trip to Paris and I ran my first international half marathon.  It was everything I hoped it would be and cannot wait to go back ASAP.

October:  October is always a great month because its my birthday month. This year was a big one celebrating the 3-0.  I didn’t cry or anything!  We took this month pretty easy since last month was crazy with Paris and next months will be crazy with half marathons!!

ceyydk5tmp6bnwaqedqnfpo6xopsk_vng6o-au35_hmpx92ib

November:  Back to back race weekends started this month off right.  First up was Wine and Dine race weekend where I did the 10k and the half marathon both with Brittany.  It was just the race weekend I needed to get back on track.  It was also a weekend filled with fun girl time.  I always miss Brittany and Amy.  The next weekend was Superhero race weekend in Anaheim with Joe.  I ran the 10k and half again this weekend but alone and in cooler weather.  It was a great weekend spending time at the parks and with my uncle.  Thanksgiving was great, we didn’t host this year and it was so nice to sit back and enjoy someone else’ hospitality.

December:  Another quiet month before travels this month is all about Christmas and celebrating the holidays and what that means.  I love Christmas and hate spending time away from home because I feel like I’m missing out on the holiday season.  Ending this year with a bang and a New Year’s Eve party at our house that I cannot wait for.

2016, its been a WONDERFUL year.  2017, you have a lot to live up to!

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal, Cruises or ANYWHERE!!!  Here is the link to my facebook page or email me at Rachael@DreamComeTrueVacations.com

CHIME IN!!!  How was your 2016?  What is your favorite memory?  Are you ready for 2017?

Weekly Workout 12/20-26

Santa’s coming!!!  Santa’s coming!!!  Oh my gosh I know him!!!  A little elf humor for you.  Its Christmas week and Christmas is on a Sunday so it threw my schedule off a little but its ok I worked for those Christmas calories!

Tuesday:  600 meter pick-ups today.  It wasn’t the best form but I got 5 repeats in for an 8:30 pace respectively.  Ended with 4.26 miles and an average pace of 10:34.  Did I mention how much I love running in the cold.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  Crazy hair day today what!!!

tuesday-run

Wednesday:  Rest day!  Well rest day from running I still had workouts to do and that was Blogilaties core videos.  I did a little of everything and felt the burn!!  Love blogilaties 🙂  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

20161221_190006

Thursday:  10 minute warm up, and 2 10 minute temp runs with 2 minutes rest between each set and finished with a 10 minute cool down.  My coach had a 50 minute workout with an average pace of 9:10.  I don’t know what she was thinking because based on simple math and the pace she asked me to do (9:30) there was no way I was going to hit either of those number.  Little things like this really annoy me, if you cant get a simple workout uploaded correctly how are you going to be my overall training right.  Sorry, rant over.  Ended with each tempo at 9:30 and 9:17 respectively.  4 miles with an average pace of 10:33.  Oh and PS—its almost 70 degrees again here.  Yeah, why, in winter, am I still able to wear a tank top and shorts.  GIVE ME THE COLD WEATHER!

20161222_061834

Friday:  And now for something completely different…for the first time in probably 6 months, I have a Friday morning run.  It was nasty and misting and Im pretty sure I have shin splints and ugh but I made my butt get out of the house and do 5 miles for an average pace of 11:06.  Who wants to switch legs with me, preferably a pair that has run a half marathon and has no injuries k, thanks!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses and icing that night.

20161223_073406

Saturday:  Im dreading today’s run because hello 80 degrees in December!  Luckily my friend and fellow runner Amy is joining me for the last 8 miles of my 18 mile run.  The fact that someone is meeting you at a certain time to run a certain distance has its way of motivating you 🙂  The first 10 miles of the run went ok, it was hot and humid but I had plenty of water.  Once I joined up with Amy the heat got worse, the sun came out and it was overall miserable.  Luckily Amy is really good at distracting me so there were only a few times I wanted to quit but never actually did.  I did have to take a few stop breaks to cool down and had to adjust my run/walk intervals to 10 and 1:30 instead of 10 and 1.  At the end though I finished all 18 miles and was able to walk that day.  I took a nice long epsom salt with essential oil bath after the run.  I only got to rest for about an hour though then it was time to make pie, gnocchi and Christmas Eve service.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  Oh and I had a grapefruit mimosa after the run, you know to help with recovery and all that 😉

mimosa

Sunday:  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!  I hope you are having a great time with your loved ones, I know i sure am.  No stretching or anything today I was too busy running around as Christmas host 🙂

christmas-day

Monday:  And another week where my coach posts a run for Monday but doesn’t post said run until Monday…so I missed the run.  I would say I’m upset I missed a training run but seriously coach get your mess together.  I’m not going to rant about this right now but I’m very upset with the way my coach has been handling these last few months and don’t plan on continuing training with her past what I’ve already paid for.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

CHIME IN!!!  How was your Christmas?  Did you get your runs in for the week?  Do you like running with or without another person?

Tips for Keeping Your Fitness on Track Even While on the Road

Most of you know I travel quite a bit for my job as well as my personal life.  With 4 half marathons and 3 10k’s this past year it was very important to stay on track with running no matter where I was in the world.  Here are some tips to stay on track even when it seems like you cant.

beach runs

  • Have a plan.  Even if its just “walk instead of taking the bus” that’s a plan.  Stick to it.  I have the blogilaties calendar on my phone as well as a running plan.  I may not follow them 100% to the letter but its a place to start.
  • Bring your gear with you.  I’ve been abroad for a few longer runs so I made sure to bring my water gear, gels, breakfast, shoes, everything like that with me so there are zero excuses.  Plus running in NYC was pretty fun.  Yes lugging all that with me was pretty inconvenient but so is missing a crucial training run.
  • Find an app or YouTube series you can follow.  I’ve mentioned here I love Blogilaties because almost all of her videos need zero equipment and most are pretty quick to do but have serious burn.  I have used sworkit (an app, review here) in the past and thought it was ok.  I prefer Blogilaties though because Cassey is so upbeat and keeps me moving.  Her workouts have saved me on trips like LA and South Padre.

20151212_090137

  • If you cant workout, at least get moving.  When we were in Paris we walked at least 10 miles each day.  I may not have been running but that was time on my feet with my body moving.  If you are in a city where you can either walk or talk public transportation, walk if its feasible.  Walking is also a great way to see a city.
  • NO EXCUSES.  Yeah sure I would rather sleep an extra hour or two, but I would rather not lose my fitness momentum either.  Its so easy to say “its ok Ill just take this day off’ and that day turns into a month turns into a year.  Stop making excuses and get up and get moving.
  • Treat yo self!  So this is probably not the best for the health portion of fitness but sometimes you have to reward yourself for doing something you don’t want to do.  In NYC, after that 8 mile run I went and had a delicious brunch with a bloody mary and pancakes.  Should I have eaten all those carbs, probably not, but I sure felt like I deserved them.

20160118_062422.jpg

  • Have an accountability buddy.  Mine happens to be my coach and she knows when I miss a workout or not.  She never gives me a hard time for it but at the same time knowing someone is basing next week’s workouts on what you do this week keeps me motivated.  This could also be a friend that works out and you text each other gym selfies or something silly like that.  Have someone hold you accountable.
  • Do it for the stats!  If you have a GPS watch, it stores the map of your run.  This is the big nerd in me but sometimes I like to look back at those maps to see where I have run.  Its cool to see Paris, London, Amsterdam all on my history.  Don’t you want to see that too?!
  • Find your reason why.  This is a general note and not just travel specific.  If you don’t know why are you working out chances are you are far less likely to keep it up when traveling.  My reason right now is I’m training for a marathon.  My reason in March wont be the same but I’ll still have a reason to keep me focused.  Fitness goals with no aim or goal usually fizzle out.  Once you have established your why it makes things a little easier.

20151016_092143

CHIME IN!!!  How do you stay fit when you travel?  What’s the craziest workout you did while away from home?  Where’s your next adventure?

Merry Early Christmas!

I know Christmas isnt until Sunday but I will be in full cooking mode and wont have a chance to write a post.  Keeping it short and sweet today because I know you are very  busy people.

I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you have a wonderful day spent with those you love and cherish those moments.  From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Weekly Workouts 12/13-19

Its getting closer to marathon day!  Sorry I keep saying it so much but since its my first I really just cant help it.  Traveling again this week and the treadmill and I formed a relationship that I cant wait to break up with.

Tuesday:  4.7 miles with 6x20second pick ups thrown in for good measure.  Finished with an average pace of 11:03 and all hot and sweaty.  Ugh hot fitness centers are the worst.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night and 2 blogilaties videos for lower abs and glutes.  Also not a bad view from my hotel room am I right?!

view-from-room

Wednesday:  5 miles with an average pace of 10.  Today’s run was more fun that I expected it to be with 6x 5 min repeats at 8:57 pace  2 minute rest intervals (1min walking 1 min recovery pace).  I say more fun because usually these long repeats kick my butt.  My legs must be getting stronger because these were still challenging but I didn’t want to die after the first set.  Yay for small victories.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night and 2 blogilaties videos for abs.  Workin’ that core!

Thursday:  Recovery run with 5 miles at 11:36 average pace.  My hips were a little sore from the videos I’ve been doing but the legs were going strong.  Today I did 10min run 1 min walk instead of the 1:30 walk.  I don’t know if I like it but I’m going to try it this weekend for the long run.  My coach has been saying to do a 1 min walk interval but I’ve been doing 1:30 which sometimes feels too long but when the miles start adding up seems too short lol.  I only have a few more weeks to experiment so now is the time.  No videos today I’m wore out!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  Sometimes I sneak a picture from the window of the plane.  The clouds were so pretty!

20161212_094703

Friday:  Rest day!  My body is so tired today so I enjoyed my rest day with some popcorn and Christmas movies.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

20161216_193923

Saturday: Hello long run, we meet again!  Except this time things did not go as planned.  With the temps being 80 degrees and my legs feeling like lead at mile 4 I only got in 14 miles instead of the 18 planned.  I was only 30 minutes shy of the time goal though so there was no way I was going to hit the 18 anyway.  My pace was 12:47…yeah that’s right, 12:47.  I haven’t seen a pace like that in a long time.  That right there told me I made the right decision.  Covered in sweat and my whole body aching I came home and took a epson salt bath then rested these old bones.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night plus baking about 10 dozen cookies, because hey they wont bake themselves!

img_20161217_100112

Sunday:  Recovery run and its 50 degrees cooler outside.  You think Im exaggerating…it was 80 yesterday and it was 30 when I woke up this morning.  Let me just demonstrate how much of a difference cooler weather makes on my running.  Finished 4.5 miles with an average pace of 10:47.  So yeah that’s 2 minutes per mile faster then yesterday.  I should also point out that this pace in no way felt difficult or my legs were like lead, none of that.  My legs felt good and the pace felt perfect.  Everyone cross your fingers and toes that I get cool weather for the marathon!!!  No stretching or foam rolling tonight we had a double date and when I got home I just wanted to go to sleep.

20161218_084211

Monday:  Rest day huzzah!  I love rest days.  Ok well actually today wasn’t a scheduled rest day but I didn’t check my training log last night so I didn’t see that there was a workout today.  Whoops.  Unfortunately I don’t have time today to get a run in anymore so today is now a rest day.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

CHIME IN!!!  Do you have crazy weather like I did where you are?  Do you run better in the heat or the cold?  What was your longest run this week?

How to Host A Major Holiday and Not Lose Your Mind

The past few years I’ve hosted most major holidays at our house and while I wont trade that for anything it can be stressful.  Over time I have come up with a few crazy-saving strategies to make cooking for a crowd much easier.  I know not everyone can get together for the holidays but these strategies have worked for big parties as well.  It seems like a lot of work, but you know, planner Rachael here 🙂 .

DSC_0184

  • Make a plan.  What are people going to eat, drink and snack on.  Print out any recipes you found online so you don’t have to worry about finding the recipe again when your ready to cook.
  • Look at your food plan and ask yourself “do we really need this much food”.  There are so many creative food ideas out there its tempting to make them all.  Just keep in mind how many people are coming over and how much those people eat.  Leftover food is great but there is such a thing as too many leftovers.
  • Make a grocery list.  I write down every grocery item I need to make the recipes then cross off what I already have on hand.  Make sure you only cross it off if you have enough in quantity for the recipe and wont be using any of said ingredient in the meantime.  Whatever you don’t cross off get at the grocery store.  I space my grocery trips out over a few weeks.  First trip is goods that wont go bad (paper goods, frozen meats, canned goods etc), next trip is things that go bad but over a longer span of time (think milk and cheese) the last trip is things like fruits and vegetables.  This also helps space out the cost as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  I have my family bring 1 or 2 things from my list of food items so I don’t have to make EVERYTHING.  Doing everything yourself is really stressful and I have a family that loves to pitch in so I definitely take advantage of that.
  • Make a schedule.  The week of Christmas I start prepping food.  Some days its as simple as putting the ham in the fridge to defrost and other days its prepping a few dishes.  It will depend on what you want to make but some dishes can be made up to a 3 days in advance!  Don’t cook everything day of if you can help it.
  • Make a schedule part 2!  Day of you will probably have a few things that need to go in the oven.  I like to write down baking times and temps and use those oven racks to my advantage.  It usually isn’t realistic to have everything done at the exact same time but using a cooking schedule can get you pretty close.

cookies

  • Prep, prep, prep!  I like to set the table the day before.  That way I know if I have enough clean dishes and silverware.  I also get out any serving dishes I need, make sure the dishwasher and trash are empty.  Morning of I get a drink station ready with ice water, cups, and any other drink we are serving.  Nice and organized so Im not scrambling to get everything done when guests arrive.
  • Homemade is always better but if you are stressed for time a lot of food items can be catered or purchased from the grocery store.  Now you wont see catered or store bought food at my holiday gatherings but I’ve had 7 years of practice…and I love making things from scratch.  I know that’s not the case with everyone but in my opinion a from-scratch holiday meal is love.
  • Sit back, have a glass of wine and let the compliments of how good the food tastes roll in!

wifk7ae0rlrwzoekwrfwk1i8vzvuyvewep6ybpfh8vupx92ib

CHIME IN!!!  Do you host major holidays or parties?  What are your time saving tips?  Homemade or store-bought?

Vacation Planning 101

Hello and welcome to Vacation Planning 101, here is your syllabus.   Haha, sorry I couldn’t help myself.  But seriously, vacation planning is an important part of any successful trip.  I see you back there “fly by the seat of your pants” people, I see you and I ignore you.

DSC_0917

I’ve mentioned this before for Paris but having a plan, even a lose plan helps guide you and works to ensure you see everything on your travel must list.  I could just say to contact me and Ill take care of all the details for you…which is 100% true…but I thought I would share my crash-course in planning as well.

DSC_0701

  1. Figure out where you want to go.  Seems like a non-issue but listening acquaintances shows that not everyone is as decisive as me.  Some people actually switch #1 with #4 but that’s not my style.
  2. Get a travel guide and read up on the destination.  Pinterest is great and has a ton of information but I find travel guides like those from Lonely Planet and Rick Steves have very beneficial information.  There is also something very helpful as marking pages in a book.
  3. Find your top 5-10 MUST DO items depending on your time at said destination.  I bet there will be more than 5 things you want to do but narrow it down to 5 things you absolutely have to see before you leave.

20160120_161206.jpg

4.  Start shopping for flights, use the Hopper app to track prices and it will help you know when is the best time to buy.  Like I said some people actually look for cheap flights and base their travel around that but this is really only good if you live in a city like New York City or Los Angeles where there are a ton of international flights.

5.  Find an area you want to stay in and book your accommodation.  In London we wanted to be by a tube line.  In Paris we wanted to be in a nice district that wasnt overpriced.  In Italy we wanted to be close to tour sights.  Where you stay will depend on your preference and goal of the trip.  Talking to people who have been to the place before can also be very beneficial.

6.  Start putting your day together, what do you want to accomplish each day.  I like to put all the places I’m interested in on a google custom map.  This helps me figure out what points of interest can be clustered together, thus forming a day to day plan.  Its great to walk around a city and its much easier to do if the things you want to see in a given day are within walking distance.

view of the bridge

7. Don’t forget food!  Find a few places you would like to try and make reservations if necessary.  Food is an important part of travel so make sure and dine at one highly reviewed restaurant at the very least.

8.  Research transportation and how you will get around the destination.  Not every destination has great public transportation if any so make sure you know how you are going to get around when you get there.

9.  Research currency, credit cards accepted, identification requirements etc.  You have money to spend make sure you can!

entrance

10.  Notify your bank, embassy, credit card company that you are traveling (mainly necessary for international travel but sometimes necessary domestically depending on your bank).  Credit card companies can freeze your credit card if they think its been stolen so make sure you let them know you are traveling so that doesn’t happen.  Notify the embassy also helps in case there is a disaster in your destination.

11.  Make sure someone at home has your itinerary or at least your flight and accommodation details just in case of emergency.  I don’t like to think worst case scenario but honestly its a good idea that someone close to you knows where you are going to be.

12.  Get a mobile hotspot or international data plan for you phone and install WhatsApp (free text messages around the world).  Or don’t if you want to be totally off the grid but better safe than sorry right!

NYC sunset

13.  Print out any necessary documents and paperwork and keep them in a safe place when traveling.  Also make a copy of your passport and hide it in your suitcase.  This will come in handy in case your passport gets stolen.

14.  Bring some snacks just in case you hate the food (this came in handy in Amsterdam)

15.  GO HAVE FUN!!!!!

rachaeljoseph-784

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal, Cruises or ANYWHERE!!!  Here is the link to my facebook page or email me at Rachael@DreamComeTrueVacations.com

CHIME IN!!!  Are you a planner?  Where have you always wanted to go?  What’s stopping you?

Workout Recap 12/6-12

Its finally getting cold outside and finally I’m not sweating my booty off!  I forget how nice it is to run in this weather because the summers are so horrible!  Lets talk about my “rest” week this week.

Tuesday:  5 easy miles today.  This is what I mean by I forget about the good weather.  My pace should have been 11:37 but ended with 11:03 because my legs felt good and I wasn’t hot as hades.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

20161206_062951

Wednesday:  I hate this workout.  I mean out of all the worksouts my coach has given me this one is by far my absolute least favorite.  10min repeats with the pick-ups at 8:54 pace.  For once I actually did all 10 minutes but hated almost every second of it.  Finished with an average pace of 10:25 and a little shy of 5 miles but I was done with today. D-O-N-E.  10 minutes stretching and foam rolling tonight, not as much as a I normally do because we got home a little late from a holiday party.  Yeah we fancy 😉

15327427_10207987735913019_3663059002636168328_n

Thursday:  Recovery run today!  5.2 miles with an average pace of 10:53 which was a whole minute per mile faster than I should have gone.  Whoops!  I have been using the interval function on my garmin but the only drawback is it doesnt beep at you with each mile and average pace.  When Im running I really dont want to do math so I go mostly on feel.  I guess the cooler weather and crazy winds made me think I was going slower than I actually was.  Whoops!  Oh well I felt good so there’s that.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

20161208_063208

Friday:  Rest day today and I am so tired!!!  I plan on going to bed super early like the old person I am and getting plenty of rest for my long run tomorrow.  Also its really cold out right now so Im staying inside nice and cozy like with the pups.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

wp-image-1944407949jpg.jpg

Saturday:  Officially LONGEST RUN EVER today with 17 miles exactly with an average pace of 11:30.  So I’m gonna ask yall because you can maybe relate…after this run and my 14 miles I had a super sore “pain” where my bladder is.  Like…not my bladder but whatever muscles is there.  Anyone else have this issue, know what it is or how to deal?!  Just me, I’m weird, gotcha!  Well after the run I took a nice long detox bath, got a hour massage (which wasn’t great) then had the stellar idea of walking a few more miles with my SIL for lights in the heights.  So…tired…cant…walk…need…sleep.  No foam rolling tonight because of the massage.

lights-in-the-heights

Sunday:  A rest day on a sunday?!  What’s this?!  So happy about this.  Sleeping in with no agenda for the day, pure bliss friends.  Pure bliss.  My body definitely needed the rest after yesterday but I did get some QT on the feet.  Its baking season y’all!  Gingerbread cookies for everyone!!!!!

cookies

Monday:  Rest day from running and got a few blogilaties videos in.  My back has been hurting from the long runs so I need to get it back in shape before marathon day is here.  Gotta love big hotel rooms with plenty of space!  15 minutes foam rolling / yoga poses / stretching that night.

CHIME IN!!!  Ever had that weird bladder whatever pain?  Do you bake for the holidays?  Whats your favorite holiday tradition?

Foam Rolling Techniques That Have Saved My Legs

Let me start by saying that I am not a licensed physical therapist.  I don’t have training on muscles and how they work.  These poses and comments are what have worked for me and my training.  I have included a link to RunnersWorld where you can see videos of these stretches from a professional.  As with any training program consult your physician.  I did receive all these techniques from my physical therapist when I was working through my hip issues.

Ok, disclosure done lets talk foam rolling.  This used to be my least favorite part of training partly because it hurt and also because it does take some time to do all the poses.  Now its my favorite part of training because I have come to see the immense value in foam rolling.  If I’m training and I go a week without doing some form of intense stretching my legs get so heavy and tired.  Now I make sure to carve out at least 10 minutes of my day to at least foam roll.  If I don’t get to do the yoga poses that’s ok at least I got the rolling in.

Notes on form:  You will only get a great benefit from foam rolling if you are doing the poses correctly.  This means spending a few seconds on each section of the muscle you are working on.  If you just roll up and down quickly you aren’t getting the full benefit.  Click here to see videos of each stretch from RunnersWorld, make sure and check them out if you are concerned about your form.  Consult a licensed physical therapist if you need additional help.

Also make sure you aren’t spending more than about 10 minutes doing these.  Foam rolling is great but you can over-stretch and lead to injury.  Be mindful of that and my general rule of thumb is to stick with 1-2 minutes per pose per side.

IT Band:  This one is by far the most painful for me and for runners in general.  This is one of the largest muscles in the legs and connects down almost the entire length of your leg.  If you have a pain somewhere chances are its related to the IT band.  Adding this roll into my routine and focusing on especially painful (like deep tissue massage painful) areas has helped my legs works better.  To do this roll lie on your side with the roller near your hip, rest your other leg’s foot on the floor. Move along your outer thigh. Increase pressure by stacking your legs.  I’ve never been able to get to the stacked leg phase because my IT bands are so tight but its a goal.

Hip Flexor:  Oh hip flexors you are almost as big of an issue as the IT band.  There isn’t a video for this but I do this area as part of the IT band roll.  As you are rolling the IT band make you way all the way up to your hip bone and apply pressure with body weight to the area.  Gently roll your weight back and form in very small motions.  This one is a little hard to explain but if you have hip issues you will know what I’m talking about.

Quads:  This is a pretty strong muscle and I forget how sore and tired it can get until I do this technique.  When I had my quad strain I actually used the trigger point roller which to me feels like it goes much deeper into the muscle.  It was more painful but helped me heal faster.  To do this technique lie on your stomach with a roller placed under the front of your thigh and slowly roll up and down from the bottom of your hip to the top of your knee.

Glutes:  Another big muscle that gets ignored a lot but does a lot of work.  This roll is also good for parts of the hip as well.  I only really feel this technique when I’ve done long or very intense runs.  To do this roll sit on the roller and place one foot on the opposite knee. Lean into one buttock and roll forward and back, using your supporting leg to control the pressure.  With the same leg over the same knee lean into the other buttock and roll forward and back.  Now switch legs and repeat.

Calf:  Very important after long periods of time on your feet, long flights or after a hard speed session.  I find that the calves take a little longer to work out with a roller but don’t have problems as often as other areas of the legs.  I use the trigger point roller when they are very tight and will supplement the rolling by wearing compression socks during runs until they loosen up.  To do this technique put the roller under a calf. Rest your other foot on the floor. Roll from the ankle to below the knee. Rotate the leg in, then out. Stack ankles to add pressure.  I always stack my ankles, otherwise to me its not enough pressure but you be the judge.

Hamstrings:  To be honest I never feel this roll not even when I use the roller with grooves.  I have heard that for some people this stretch is very painful but that has never been the case for me.  I leave it in the rotation because all muscles are connected and I don’t want to get an injury just because I didn’t take 2 minutes to roll out the hammies.  Plus its almost the same pose as the calf stretch so it makes sense to go ahead and do it.  To do this technique place the roller under your thighs. Roll from the knees to the buttocks. To increase the pressure, roll one leg at time, turning your leg in and out.  For even more pressure stack your legs.  I stack my legs because otherwise I don’t feel any benefit at all but do what feels right for your body.

Tools of the Trade: I actually have 2 foam rollers (large and small) as well as trigger point rollers for quad and calf (this set).  Each one works differently for me but I prefer my small foam roller the best.  I think it has something to go with the grooves in my small foam roller but it gets the kinks out better.  For my hip specifically I have this ball which has helped me out a lot with the stupid hip pain.  I still have issues from time to time but using this ball has helped get to those random hard to roll places.

CHIME IN!!!  Do you foam roll?  What’s your favorite pose?  How many foam rollers do you have?

Perks of Southern Winter Running

I don’t think you can really say we have winter in the South.  It rarely gets below 20 degrees and if that does happen its only for a few hours.  I see meme’s all the time about how horrible it is to run in the winter and it got me thinking.  Running in the winter in the south isn’t that bad!  I actually look forward to it.

  • Yes its cold, its not ice on the ground, blizzard warning cold but its still cold

runinsnowstorm_thumb

  • All those long sleeve tech shirts I got from fall races are now coming in handy.  Who needs a jacket, long sleeves are enough

323ac1fcf44a5b8654f0029d6fa7a4ea

  • Too cold in the morning, go at later in the day it will warm up

no-winter

  • No need to buy all that winter running gear!  Gloves, bah who needs them.  Ear warmers, hand warmers, fleece lined pants, yeah I don’t need any of that.

saucony-winter-running-2

  • Snow slowing you down, not in the South!  What is snow anyway?

84820176

  • Training in the winter is like a vacation to the hell that is summer training.  Or should I say training in the firery inferno

runningecard

Stay running my friends 🙂

CHIME IN!!!  Where my southern runners at?  Have you ever run in a snow storm?  Favorite season to run, go!