Running …

… because I can … because it's fun … because it's healthy … just BECAUSE.

2011: 5 things I did differently

My friend Jeremy (Train to Tri) asked me in a comment recently what I felt like I did differently to stay injury free during Baltimore Marathon training. When I think about this year and what went well, I like to think that the combination of what I did differently worked. Here are 5 things – in no particular order – I did that I think have contributed to my well-being this year.

Epsom salt baths
I think I started doing a salt bath once I got to 16 miles for the long run. They’re so relaxing and always left me feeling refreshed. I would usually do one the night after a long run and then occasionally during the week. For those screaming at me to do ice baths, I tried it once and couldn’t bring myself to do another one. Maybe next year. Scream away.

running, differenceRunning faster
Getting quicker was not high on my priorities this year, but speed, as well as drastically improving my race times, was definitely a big factor in making this year a different year. And in this last month as I run in a non-training mind frame, I’m only getting faster without intentionally running faster.

Rotating shoes
I’ve been a big fan of rotating shoes since I started that in early 2010. This summer I added in another pair to the mix and now rotate two pairs of Brooks Ravenna and one pair of Brooks Ghost 3, which is nearing the end of its life. In addition to alternating shoes when running, I also alternate what I wear to work from a brown casual pair to a pair of New Balance to a couple of pairs of retired running shoes. I think all these combinations have kept my legs and joints from another repetition-type injury.

Walking at work
I don’t talk nearly enough about this, but the job I started in the spring has a great workout program. I generally add a couple of walking miles a day to the time on my feet Monday-Friday. That extra movement, especially on days that I feel sluggish or sore, has been key. That said, if I ever change jobs, I will insist that I be allowed walking time.

Better training log
While I was training for Baltimore, I utilized a Google Documents spreadsheet to closely monitor my weekly mileage, as well as my cumulative mileage and how it compared to what I did in 2010 when training for the Richmond Marathon. That led me to always know where I stood with my mileage at any given time. I’ll admit at times it make me obsess a bit more about things than I normally would have, but I intend on refining the process in 2012.

As I look ahead to 2012, I’m looking forward to trying even more new things and improving on what I’ve already done differently. Things such as cross training, which I did a lot of in 2011, need to take more priority, as do losing 10 pounds that I never seem to try hard enough to lose. For now, though, I’m looking forward to these last few days of the year.

Image: digitalart /

Category: Things (lists)
  • Steena says:

    scream: DO THE ICE BATH!! (kidding).
    I agree with the running faster thing, maybe that's why I'm hurt again, I lost my faster pace. Crap.
    I started the rotating shoes thing this year, but I'm not sure if it necessarily prevented any injuries, i sometimes wonder if a certain pair of shoes made my shins go crazy.
    And I tried to record more info on my training this year too: weather, hills, etc.
    Good idea for a post though, maybe I should sit down and think of 5 things I did differently to make me have more pains this year.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm
    • David H. (Twitter: @RunningBecause) says:

      It was hard to narrow it to just 5 things, but I hate long lists. I could have easily added wearing compression gear (specifically Tommie Copper) as a key thing, wearing sunglasses on long runs and doing more watchless runs than usual, just to name a few other things. Rotating shoes is debatable – for some people it works, for others it doesn't. I think the key thing is getting properly fitted and then getting suggestions from there.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm
  • Coco (Got2Run4Me) (Twitter: @got2run4me) says:

    Steena, I'm sure we can help you think of new ways you were a pain in the ass in 2011! ;-)
    I've only done a few epsom salt baths because my stupid Giant doesn't keep them in stock. I need to go to Rite Aid more often. I do believe in ice baths, but they are much more tolerable after a summer run than in the winter, so i think this is a good time to see how epsom salt baths work.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm
    • David H. (Twitter: @RunningBecause) says:

      Not sure if you have them in Northern Va. or not, but I found some luck at Food Lion with Epsom salt. Target is good too.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm
  • @PatRuns says:

    Sounds like you already have a good plan leading in to 2012. I'm sure it will lead to more improvements in your race times. Keep up the good work!

    December 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm
  • traintotri (Twitter: @traintotri) says:

    Good post. I know it can be hard to pinpoint the things with the greatest benefit, but it's obvious that none of the things you've mentioned are hurting you. Personally, I got some compression sleeves and a foam roller for Christmas and I'm eager to see what kind of difference they make.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:19 pm
    • David H. (Twitter: @RunningBecause) says:

      I really should have put compression sleeves on here as they've been ahuge help after my runs. Even now in the shorter miles, but doing theHoliday Run Streak, I believe they've helped me from getting tiredlegs.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

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