Fitness News Fridays

Happy Friday! I have had a very productive Friday that began in the wee hours of the morning when it was only 36 degrees outside. You read that right. It’s FREEZING here in New York. I hear it’s been snowing upstate and my dear family in Colorado just got blasted with their first snow of the season. Apparently, Vail looks like this:

Courtesy of Vail.com

Wow. Ski season is totally on. Red and her BF must be thrilled!

Anywho, there’s lots going on in the health and fitness world this week, too! As predicted, most of the news is about running and marathons as we count down the days (9) to the New York City Marathon. It’s funny, it’s not the biggest or only marathon in the world but when people in New York ask me, “Are you running The Marathon this year?” they are referring to the New York City Marathon and have rarely heard of another outside of possibly Boston. They are often confused when I say, “No, Philly. The Philly Marathon” and don’t know how to respond.

On that note, GOOD LUCK MARINE CORPS MARATHONERS!!! If you find yourself near Washington, D.C. or Arlington, V.A. this weekend, take a walk along the course and cheer on the 35,000 people running The People’s Marathon this year. I love, love, love this marathon and hope to do it next year.

OOOORAHH!

And now, the news.

  • If you are a female runner, you have Dr. Julia Chase-Brand to thank for paving the way and debunking the myth that your uterus will fall out if you run for more than half a mile.
  • If I had kids, I would make these for Halloween. I may still make them. JB and I are big kids.
  • California has banned teens from using tanning beds. Personally, I dig it cuz it causes cancer.
  • ACL and meniscus injuries in young athletes are on the rise. This drives me crazy because their mostly overuse injuries. A year-round single sport child seems to me to be on the fast track to lifelong debilitating injuries.
  • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall calls magazines out about unhealthy images portrayed and how it affects young women’s perception of health and beauty. Good on her.
  • Sam Fox is running 2396 miles to raise money for his mother who has Parkinson’s. What have you done for your Mom lately?
  • Yoga helps to relieve back pain. Do you really need MORE reasons to take up yoga? Do it.
  • Adidas made a shoe in honor of the late, great Grete Waitz. 100% of the proceeds goes to Waitz’s cancer foundation.
  • People rarely challenge me to an Anatomy/Physiology discussion about running being “bad” for you (guess who wins that one?) but not everyone has the information to back up their plans to run a marathon and sometimes they encounter the nay-sayers. My advice, tell them “I’m doing it because I want to.” So there.
  • It’s never too late to save your life and start exercising.

One last thing, by popular demand, Aleah and I will be hosting ONE MORE BRICK workout tomorrow starting at 12:30pm at the Upper East Side Flywheel. If you didn’t make the list, come on by and jump on the wait list. See you there!

Have a great weekend. Now go out and run!

Too Much is TOO MUCH (and how to avoid doing too much)

You ever have that nagging pain that just won’t go away? Do you feel tired on every single run and never get anything resembling a “runner’s high”? Are you getting sick all the time? Do you have trouble completing what would normally be an easy run? Does it take you forever to recover from a workout?

You might be doing too much.

Things like tendonitis, stress fractures, torn labrums, illness, muscle strains and stupid injuries sustained from tripping over curbs and face-planting because you’re too tired to lift your own feet while running…wait, don’t tell me I’m the only person who’s done that. Well, there you go. I trip when I’m tired. It’s very embarrassing and always leaves a mark.

These things happen when you’re doing too much. And where your body is concerned, too much is too much.

As someone who has an auto-immune disease, I have to learn the very hard and painful way what is too much for me. For most of you out there, you can still power on through for days and maybe weeks before your body starts to talk to you. Maybe it comes in the form of tendonitis or a more serious injury. Whatever it is, you will know it because it will stop you dead in your tracks if you don’t take care of it. But there are always warning signs you’ve chosen to ignore. Here’s how to avoid doing too much:

#1. Schedule your days off. At least one day completely off from working out. This doesn’t mean, “Oh, I’ll hop into an easy spin class” or “It’s just a 60 minute yoga class. Stretching is good, right?” Wrong. Yoga is NOT just stretching and breathing. It is hard and it is a workout. Rest is rest. You’ll know it because you’ll feel RESTED after having done it.

#2. Add mileage gradually. Jumping into a marathon training schedule before you can run 8 miles straight without stopping or finishing in torturous pain is a recipe for failure and injury. Stress fractures and muscle strains are common in people who decide that this is the way to go and they are not easy to come back from. Plan ahead at least six months before undertaking such a long race. You’re much more likely to succeed if you take your time with adding miles.

#3. Cross-train year-round. Cross training isn’t just for the off-season. You should be cross-training throughout your race season, but just do it less. You don’t try to set your personal squat record during training season, but you do incorporate lower body strength training into your schedule at least once a week. See the difference? Cross-training will keep you healthy and balanced so that you can best stave off overuse injuries like tendonitis that happen when you do TOO MUCH of one thing.

#4. Listen to your body. It’s talking to you.

#5. If it hurts, don’t do it. If you have a sudden pain that just won’t go away, something is not right and you should stop what you are doing that causes that pain and get it checked out. Good rule of thumb for many things in the fitness world. You know the difference between “it hurts because it’s hard” and “it hurts because it hurts” so don’t go commenting on how all exercise hurts. It’s a different kind of pain and you know it when you feel it.

Really, though, you have to know your body and know your trigger points. When my hips start to ache, I know I’m overdue for new sneakers and I kick myself for not remembering to stop by JackRabbit last time I was down in Union Square. My hips never hurt unless it’s my damn shoes, so if they suddenly start hurting, it’s either the shoes or something serious. Know thy self.

Be kind to your body. It’s the only one you’re going to get.

Now go out and run!