Rest Week Brags

Hello hello!

I have something very exciting and noteworthy to share with you all – I ran on Monday for the FIRST TIME IN TWO WEEKS. Yes, I went a full two weeks with absolutely zero running (apart from a frantic jog to catch my train a couple times).

Marathon TrainingHaha, my lack of running might not make for the most interesting blog post, but I wanted to take a minute to post about it because rest is one of these new hot topics in the running/training world, and for good reason. It’s really freaking important.

While I LOVE running, I knew that I was going to need a break after Hyannis, both mentally and physically. Much of 2017 was spent in training cycles – chasing PR’s in the half marathon in the spring which then transitioned into marathon training in the summer… which then dragged on into the winter after my hamstring issues. I love racing and going after goals, but I did get a little tired by the end of 2017.

As far as the mental side of things, 2017 was a bit of a roller coaster. I was so dead set on a half marathon PR last year and I trained really hard for one. And then I had a bad race and didn’t get it. So… I signed up for another half marathon 2 months later and went right back into work mode. That race was better, but still not the breakthrough I had been dreaming about. And then there was the major disappointment of Philly.

I know running is not the be-all end-all, but when you spend several months working really hard and targeting a specific goal, it can be a little upsetting when the race does not go according to plan.

I knew I didn’t want 2018 to be a repeat of 2017. Whatever happened in Hyannis, I had promised myself going in that I would chill out after. No big spring races. I’m signed up for Chicago Marathon which is in the early fall, which kind of works out perfectly. I can relax through these last few crappy weather months in New England and as the temps start to warm up again, I can slowly build up my mileage.

And let me tell you, I have been LOVING the whole not running thing these past two weeks. Everytime we get hit by another nor’easter, I think to myself, “Well, at least you don’t have to run!” (Sorry to all you Boston Marathon runners).

Turns out, March is ending up being worse than the whole rest of the winter was…

Instead of heading out for morning miles everyday, I’ve been doing a lot of baking and cuddling with Callie.

It’s amazing how much time I have on my hands now that I’m not running 40+ miles a week. And my laundry loads have decreased significantly too which is a pretty nice perk. 😉

I’m excited to eventually start training for Chicago, but right now I can tell this is exactly what I need. And when the time comes to really buckle down and get to work again, I know I will be ready and 100% committed  because I took this time to fully regroup and rest.

If you are in the northeast, I hope you are staying safe and dry and that your power does not go out with this storm!!


inBody Recovery Spa Review

*Disclosure: My mom and I received free treatments at inBody Recovery Spa in exchange for posting a review. All opinions posted are based on our experience and are my honest opinions. Thanks for your support!

Hello there!

As I mentioned in my last post, my mom and I recently got to test out some treatments at a new recovery spa in Arlington, Mass. Since I’m in the midst of heavy duty marathon training, I was super excited to try it!

A little background – inBody Relaxation Spa was founded by sisters Christine and Valerie as a way to promote a natural healing approach in the greater Boston area. Christine had been dealing with allergies and inflammation for years with no relief from prescription medicines. Only when she began incorporating holistic methods into her regimen, did she begin to experience relief from her symptoms. I’ve always been fascinated by entrepreneurship and I was so impressed to see two sisters running this awesome business that they are clearly passionate about!

My mom and I visited the spa during the afternoon on a weekday when it wasn’t busy. The space is BEAUTIFUL.

It’s such a relaxing environment and Valerie did a great job walking us through the various treatments they offer – cryotherapy, float therapy, infrared sauna, salt sauna, and chromotherapy. I had heard of cryotherapy before and was interested to try it, even though I was a little nervous about the whole freezing your body thing.

Cryotherapy ReviewFor those who don’t know, cryotherapy consists of dropping the temperature in a standing chamber to between -160 and -184 degrees Fahrenheit using nitrogen vapor. The good news is that you only need to stand in those temps for 3 minutes! Supposedly, this has comparable anti-inflammatory powers to that of a 30 minute ice bath. Given that I was in the middle of a 45 mile week at the time, my legs had been feeling a little tight and achy and I needed some anti-inflammatory magic!

inBody Spa ReviewI don’t look thrilled, but it really wasn’t too bad. It was uncomfortable but so is foam rolling and that takes WAY longer! 😉 Valerie walked me through the treatment and was counting down the time which also helped a lot.

After literally freezing myself, the sauna sounded AMAZING. My mom and I decided to try the infrared sauna.

infrared sauna, inBodyThe infrared saunas don’t get as hot as traditional saunas, but at 100-150 degrees, it still felt nice and toasty. There was also soothing music that played the whole 45 minutes we were in the sauna which made it a little more relaxing than other saunas I have tried in the past. My mom and I had fun playing with the chromotherapy in the infrared sauna – supposedly, the different wavelengths of light can have different healing effects on your body.

inBody, Arlington Mass ReviewTesting out that purple wavelength. 🙂

Overall, it was a really fun afternoon and my mom and I had a blast! I would definitely be interested in adding the cryotherapy as part of my regular recovery routine during marathon training, as I felt pretty darn good on my runs in the days following the treatments. If you’re local to the Boston area, I highly recommend trying out some of the treatments over at inBody!

Have you ever tried cryotherapy before? Would you be willing to give it a try? I hate the cold and I survived!

 


Making Recovery A Priority

Hello Again!

It’s been a minute since I’ve shared any updates here. Part of it has been the whole ‘don’t jinx yourself’ mentality and some of it has been just the sheer craziness of life.

But things have been going well in marathon land, so I wanted to quickly touch on some of the things I have been doing differently recently that seem to be helping. For better or worse, I think 2017 taught me that I am injury-prone. Some people seem to be able to pile on the miles and workouts without running into issues … but I am not that type of runner. So with that said, here’s what I’ve been working on during this training cycle.

  1. Smarter commitment to strength training. I became more focused on this in 2017 but I didn’t really know what I was doing, my strength training was disorganized at best, and it led to some very stupid accidents. I love checking out the strength training moves of professional runners on Instagram, but implementing these moves was not always a good idea. For example, the one time I clunked myself on the head with a weight not once BUT TWICE while attempting a fancy plank with a weight on my back (supposed to help keep my hips from moving). And then there was the time I tweaked my hamstring doing curls on an exercise ball that turned into a full-on strain later that same week when I was running Montreal. So I finally realized I probably needed a little help in this department. Thankfully, my coach Mary, is also a strength and conditioning coach. Lift Run PerformSo now I am following her strength plans and thoroughly watching the directional videos she sends on all the moves so that I actually know what the heck I’m doing. Unsurprisingly, this seems to be working better than putting together piece-meal strength training routines based on what I see on Instagram. LOL, good job Nora.
  2. Foam rolling like a boss. I’ve never been into foam rolling. It’s kind of uncomfortable and I am always in a rush to do something else. But after reading some training books, I’ve been understanding just how much scar tissue is developing around my muscles which leads to that tight, achy feeling. And if rolling for 20 minutes on my tight-as-guitar-string IT bands will keep me from pulling something down the road, then sure, I will foam roll.
  3. Give me all the recovery. Lately, I’ve been making the time to take 20 minute epsom salt baths (always after a hard workout and periodically throughout the week as well). The idea of an ice bath is pretty horrendous this time of year, but an epsom salt bath I can do. The science seems to be pretty mixed on whether these actually work beyond a placebo effect, but I feel like what the hell. Might as well try anything I can! Along those lines, the opportunity came up last week to try a new recovery spa called InBody with my mom. I’ll have a full review coming up in a separate post, but I got to try cryotherapy along with an infrared sauna and it was awesome. inBody Cryotherapy As cold and uncomfortable as the cryotherapy was, I think it really did work wonders! The past two weeks I’ve been running between 40 and 45 miles, and I felt so fresh after the treatment.
  4. Sleep Sleep Sleep. Honestly, I love to sleep. I don’t understand how people function on 5-6 hours a night. However, getting a full 8 hours used to be really hard at my 9-5 job while marathon training. I was getting up around 4 in the morning to get my workouts in and that was really exhausting, no matter how much of a morning person I am. Thankfully, my hours are very different now and I can sleep till a pretty reasonable hour while still getting my runs in during the morning. I really do think the extra Z’s are helping me recover better. I wish I had time to take naps the way professional runners do, but oh well, I suppose I can settle for a full night of sleep 😉

So in between all the running, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Here’s to hoping it helps me keep this up for 1 more month!

 


OOFOS OMG Shoe Review!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS OMG Shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Happy Friday!

As we head into the weekend (usually a great time for some R&R), I wanted to share with you all my thoughts on the OOFOS OMG shoe which I was sent to test out and review as a Bibrave ambassador.

OOFOS OMG Shoe ReviewOOFOS is known for their recovery footwear and frankly, I’m glad that a company has started paying more attention to this. As runners, we’re only wearing our running sneakers for a small fraction of the day and then we’re putting on other footwear that are probably not the best for our feet (*cough cough… flip flops).

OOFOS is different from the other ‘squishy’ types of shoes on the market in that it is made with a special foam that absorbs 37% more shock than other types of shoe foam. I actually got to see a little demonstration of this when I was at The Running Event where they dropped 2 golf balls side by side on pieces of foam, 1 from OOFOS and the other a different brand. When the golf ball hit the OOFOS foam, it barely bounced at all while the other one bounced a good 2-3 times. That’s because OOFOS was absorbing the shock.

After I’ve gone for a 12-15 mile long run on the weekends, I want nothing more than for my feet to be totally babied. By that point, I’ve already put enough stress on them. Slipping on OOFOS feels fantastic and SO much better than a regular pair of slippers or flip-flops.

The weeks leading up to the Fast Half had me running pretty high mileage and some tough workouts. I wanted to take care of my feet and keep them in good shape for my race, so I just decided to wear the OOFOS OMG shoe to work! I couldn’t really have pulled that off with their sandals this time of year given how crappy the weather in Boston has been.

OOFOS OMG Shoe ReviewHere’s a few more specific notes on my experience with the OOFOS OMG shoe:

  • Fit was true to size. I’m generally a 9.5-10 in regular shoes and a 10.5 in running sneakers. I went with a size 10 and they fit comfortably (both with and without socks).
  • I wore them a lot when I first got them with no problems at all. On maybe the 4th day wearing them, I did get a tiny blister on my heel from the shoe rubbing, but this does happen to me a lot with flats or certain sneakers.
  • I wouldn’t call these the most fashion-forward shoe… They’re pretty plain and if I were to see them in a store, I wouldn’t pick them out for myself. But, the black style I got does pretty much go with everything and I can wear them to my office without looking too silly.
  • They really do feel insanely comfortable in the way they cradle your arches and absorb the shock of your steps.
  • Color choice: currently, the OOFOS OMG shoes only come in black, gray, and a neon yellow. I’d love to see more options become available down the road.
  • Cost: $120. Yes, these are a little pricey, but it is funny how as runners, we wouldn’t even bat an eyelash about spending that on a pair of running shoes. When I look at it that way, it kind of makes sense that you should pay that much for a great recovery shoe.
  • Overall, I really do think these are a useful pair of shoes for a runner to add to their arsenal. I’m stoked to have a pair myself as I know the mileage will start picking up again soon as I dive back into marathon training for Philly!

OOFOS OMG shoe reviewBrady would recover in the OOFOS OMG shoe too if they made a version for dogs.

What are your favorite recovery techniques? Have you tried OOFOS before?