Wise words from Kara Groucher

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“Well, here we stand.

On the starting line nonetheless. Maybe you’re facing your first 5k. Maybe it’s a ten. Maybe a half, or a marathon, or an ultra. Maybe you’re even running Boston.

Waiting on that starting line, you’re beginning to feel it. The anticipation, the doubt, the excitement, the energy. The definitiveness of what’s behind. The uncertainty of what’s ahead.

It hasn’t been easy. There have been workouts that tanked. Weeks with missed mileage. Tired legs. Hard sessions. The daily dance of life vs. the plan.

But there have been great moments too. The decision to race. The dedication to train. Miles where you felt like you could run forever. Even the bravery of this morning, where you put on your singlet, fought the crowds, and met your fate at the starting line.

And now it’s here. It is time. No more countdowns. No more workouts to nail. No more wondering, “Am I fit enough? Strong enough? Prepared for what’s ahead?”

This is what you have been waiting for. No doubt you are nervous, but know that you are ready. You earned this opportunity. And you were born to fly.

So, take a deep breath, look around you, and soak it all in. Relish where you are. Realize how far you’ve come.

You are ready. You are powerful. And you belong.

Now, go get it.

Head Up, Wings Out. “

Kara Groucher

3 Ways to Kick a Hamstring Injury

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What is a hamstring injury?

An injury occurs when when you strain or pull one of your hamstring muscles. three in the back of your leg, in your upper thigh and extending down to the back of your knee.  I have one at the moment. It’s slight but still has to be cared for or it will just become an annoyance that won’t go away lol. Rest, icing and actually working the muscle correctly is your best bet for aiding recovery. I can be lazy and impatient with these steps, but this time I’m taking care of it. I am so thankful for Zensah compression sleeves. I use them for preventing shin splints and leg blood flow. And now I plan to use the thigh compression sleeve to help my lil injury heal up!

*Hamstring injury risk factors include:

  • Sports participation. Sports that require sprinting or running, or other activities such as dancing that might require extreme stretching, make a hamstring injury more likely.
  • Prior hamstring injury. After you’ve had one hamstring injury, you’re more likely to have another one, especially if you try to resume all your activities at pre-injury levels of intensity before your muscles have time to heal and rebuild strength.
  • Poor flexibility. If you have poor flexibility, your muscles may not be able to bear the full force of the action required during certain activities.
  • Muscle imbalance. Although not all experts agree, some suggest that a muscle imbalance may lead to hamstring injury. When the muscles along the front of your thigh — the quadriceps — become stronger and more developed than your hamstring muscles, you may be more likely to injure your hamstring muscles.

*Mayo Clinic

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Run/Walk/Run – The Galloway Method

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Men’s Blue Healing Mandala Tech By: INKnBURN

HOW TO WALK FASTER

Here is the procedure:

  1. Usually done during the middle of a recovery “walk day” between runs or during the warm down walk on a running day.
  2. Warm up by walking very gently for at least 5 minutes – then do the following Drill.
  3. For 10-20 seconds, pick up the cadence of the walk by shortening stride.
  4. Walk gently for 30 seconds.
  5. Keep alternating segments, finding a cadence or rhythm that is quicker.
  6. Ease back on the cadence if you lose smoothness.
  7. First day, do this for ten minutes.
  8. Increase by 3-4 minutes on each successive session.
  9. Goal is to have 20-30 minutes total in this workout.
  10. Do this once or twice a week to maintain adaptations.

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Jeff Galloway Resources: 

www.jeffgalloway.com

Run/Walk/Run Timer 

Obstacle Course Race Tips

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My added tips:

  • Take advantage of your local gym or club that specializes in cross training. The Vault
  • Find a local park and get busy. Some parks even have stations set up! 
  • Practice running in dirt and mud BEFORE the event so you know the feel and are ready for it.
  • Hydrate hydrate hydrate
  • Get adequate rest the day before
  • get over trying to be “pretty” out there
  • Read this book (amazon link, just click the cover)

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  • If you are inclined, there is a pretty bad ass routine here

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The Sound of Footsteps

“Work like someone else is working 24/7 to take it all away from you” – Mark Cuban

My dose of inspiration for the coming new year. This quote will be my driving force!

Motivational Video – The Sound of Footsteps
Created at Your World Within
Speech by Eddie Pinero
Music by Eddie Pinero

7 Best Alternatives For Running From Bearbody Living Plus My Additions

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This is an awesome list from Bearbody Living to get you started on a great cardio fitness routine that isn’t running. Most of these are a mix of cardio and strength training. That is exactly what everyBODY needs! You need both for optimal fitness and health.

 

 

 

So why no running you may ask?

  • Boredom – everyone needs a break from the run once in a while. And it’s a good thing to add in strength training and to work on different muscle groups.
  • Adventure – Some, like me get restless with routine. If and when the run starts to lack joy I quickly move on to another type of workout. And just as quickly I’m then wanting to run again. But I tend to try and incorporate 3 or 4 different types of activity so I never get that restless feeling.
  • Injury – With some running injuries running is out for a while, but other types of physical activity are allowed.
  • Group Activity – It’s nice to get out of solo stuff and be with a group training or enjoying an activity, like repelling or climbing.
  • Just Don’t Like It – Enough Said…

 

I have a few additions to Baran’s list

hiking

Hiking

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CrossFit

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Indoor Rock Climbing

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Stair Repeats

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Skateboarding (at a rad skaepark, not just rolling down the street)

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Zumba 

Running out of my darkness

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 writer for New York Magazine wrote this article “How Running and Meditation Change the Brains of the Depressed” and exercise helping depression is something I knew was real but something when you’re slipping into that dark place, you forget.

I’m not a full fledged “runner” by any means, yet. But I know just lacing up my shoes and stepping out the door were some of the first moments I was reminded, I am alive and I breathe. So I’m thankful just for the training, for the ability to step out into nature and move forward. It was hard at first. I cried. I couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating a few times. But every day was just a tiny bit easier. Easier to live beyond the sadness, or despite it. Easier find bright moments in a day that would remind me that I needed to thrive.

Something about feeling the sun beating down on my face (vitamin D is awesome) and leaving the emotionally cocooned safe  walls  of our apartment allowed me to not have anywhere to hide from the vulnerability of grief. And I think that’s a necessary step in battling depression. Allowing the vulnerability to release itself maybe is where you find renewed strength of spirit. That comfort of four walls are like arms embracing you with a huge hug when depression begins to set in, especially from loss. But soon the walls become a prison cell locking you into a moment in time. Maybe we do that because we fear we are letting go of that which we lost, that last spark of life remembered.

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But we don’t. All the good memories remain as long as you choose to be brave enough, vulnerable enough to remember. I still cry. I still hurt. And I think when we lose someone (this includes furbabies as someone’s) who is close to your soul, you always will hurt, there always will be tears. But you have to find a way to smile despite it all. You have to choose to live the life they can’t. It’s the very best way we can honor them.

So how does it all work this running (exercising, walking, aerobics) help with depression? What’s the proof, or scientific mumbo-jumbo?

 

 

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Running

• It elevates the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, slowing cognitive decline and strengthening your capacity for and rate of learning, and protects neurons against the corrosive effects of cortisol (exercise boosts BDNF ) 8 Ways To Increase BDNF Levels (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)

• It promotes brain growth. Not like, your heads gonna get big lol. Running and the chemicals release while going through very physical things stimulates new nerve growth. Endorphin’s are an amazing fix for depression! 5 Ways Running Boosts Brain Power .

• It helps ward off stress. If you include some sort of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, like walking and running your body and mind is better prepared for whatever comes at ya in the form of stress or depression triggers. If everyday stress is minimized coping skills are much more effective and with easier transition. Physical Activity Reduces Stress

• It’s kinda the closest we have to a Fountain Of Youth (naturally) Physically, the effects are obvious. But also mentally. Following a half hour of strenuous exercise, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex works harder to resist distracters and performance on tests of attention improves. Studies also show that immediately following exercise, problem solving, memory, and attention improve.  Think Better: Exercise

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•It interrupts the mental feedback loop of stress, anxiety and depression within our brains. When we are stressed in our everyday life, or depressed because of a loss of some kind or dealing with anxiety because of something life has thrown unexpectedly at us, we can get “stuck”. Our brains go on a loop and doing a vigorous activity can be just the thing to snap our brains back into problem solving, or at least into acceptance of a situation if no other resolution is possible. Along with this, when depression sets in our bodies produce less Cortisol and that is bad news for our body trying to help us out of that loop, exercise increases Cortisol levels! The Brain on Stress

• It reduces muscle tension. Ever notice your body when you’re stressed out, or depressed? We tend to contract muscles and hold them in tense states. It’s all a part of that fight or flight mode ancient humans carry within them. Our body is ready to defend us against the perceived threat. Even if that threat is coming from ourselves being depressed or stressed to the max. Exercise, running, gives those muscles something to actually do. It then tires them out, they feel they fought the good fight and finally they can relax. Exercising to Relax

• It improves your self esteem which in turn gives you the confidence you can move forward away from the depression and anxiety. Developing Self-Confidence Through Running: How I Found Myself Out on the Road

 

So I don’t run very well, nor very fast or far (yet). But lacing up those shoes and putting your best effort in is what matters. You don’t have to be skinny, or already healthy. And you don’t have to be happy either. But your mood will lift as you continue running out of your darkness and into a better state of physical and mental health.

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All content found in this article, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental health advocate,  or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately. Or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-8255 – Available 24 hours everyday

Advice from links to educational content and websites are to be taken at your own risk. runningtozen.org is not responsible for the claims of external websites.

 

Training, how’s it going?

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INKnBURN Medieval Tech

All this election and post election chaos and I haven’t let myself slip too far off my training schedule, yayy me! Honestly, I’ve needed the distraction and running and working out helps relieve stress and frustration.

I feel I’m starting to get back in sync with the training and have been finding the joy in it again. Depression and stress can kick you on your butt. And it’s so messed up that the one big thing that can help get you out of depression is getting those endocrines flowing and physically feeling better and stronger. Everything just starts to fall back into line. Like a domino effect. My nutrition has been getting healthy again and full circle, that is helping with both the training and the depression. So, much like the ouroboros dragon, swallowing its tail, like a symbol of wholeness, is the circle of cause and effect with physical activity, feeling better, eating better and feeling better so you want to continue over and over again because of that cause and effect.

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The hard part of course is that getting back into it all after you sat the sidelines a while. The good part is that to some degree your body has some muscle memory.

Muscle memory has been used to describe the observation that various muscle-related tasks seem to be easier to perform after previous practice, even if the task has not been performed for a while. It is as if the muscles “remember”. The term could relate to tasks as disparate as playing the clarinet and weight-lifting, i.e., the observation that strength trained athletes experience a rapid return of muscle mass and strength even after long periods of inactivity.”  – Wikipedia

Of course the longer you’re away the less muscle memory, the longer it will take to “bounce back”. I’m no professional but I can tell you that after 3 months away from it all, that first step out the door was hard and the next couple steps were kind of brutal. But then like riding a bike, it was like my body remembered, yeah I like to do this, I like this challenge. Challenge accepted! So don’t despair if you’ve been on the sidelines. Our bodies will follow where our mind leads. And the human body wants to work. It wants to move. Our bodies function better when we make the time to take care of it.

 

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INKnBURN Medieval Capri

It’s a good mental break from all the stress life can throw at you. Politics, world issues, your job, relationship problems, financial problems, whatever. It’s just good practice to get out of your own head and go for a run, or take a lap or two in the pool.

If you’re a nurturer like me, who tends to take care of everyone and everything else around you  first, before yourself, you have to remember you need to remember to take care of yourself. Otherwise you’ll burn out.  Find your mountain and climb it. Be your own hero