The Hills Return + Jeff Galloway Tips: Running Injury Edition

To kick off our new season of Hump Day Hills, I returned to the Hills of the Magic City with the ladies in my running group. There’s nothing fun or cute about these hills. Kudos, to Michelle for being a first-timer and sticking it out like a champ! It takes pure guts and determination to tackle mountains (yes, mountains). I just completed my 8th half marathon (recap coming soon) at the Run The Bluegrass Half in Lexington, KY and oh boy, did those hills have eyes! I won’t even get into that here…just know it wasn’t pretty–but I got it done!

I knew in order for me to even attempt four miles of hill training three days after completing 13.1 miles at Run The Bluegrass, I was going to have to take it slow and steady. I mean goodness, I was still sore and I didn’t want to overdo it and injure myself. As you may know by now, I am a huge fan of Jeff Galloway and I use the Galloway Method (run-walk-run) faithfully. I have used run-walk-run for all eight half marathons and for my first full marathon. Using run-walk-run and taking walk breaks has been one of the reasons I have been able to stay injury free. I’m not saying you can’t get injured, because things happen—but run-walk-run sure helps!

 The Hills Return + Jeff Galloway Training Tips/Injury Prevention: Why Do We Get Injured? | My Pretty Brown Blog #JeffGalloway #runwalkrun #runinjuryfree #running

BGR-Birmingham Hill Fanatics

 

Being a Galloway Blogger, I have the privilege of sharing Jeff Galloway’s Training and Motivation Tips. Running injury free is so important to Jeff and I’m sure it is to most, if not all, runners. In this installment, Jeff discusses INJURIES!

 

 Why do we get injured?  

 

1.  Be aware of irritation of weak links:

  • The Key Weak Links are body parts where my runners tend to experience injuries are these: Knees – Feet – Calf  – Achilles – Hip – Glute/piriformis/sciaticia.
  • The body parts that YOU need to be aware of are the sites where you are injured or suffer more aches and pains.
  • If you’re sensitive to the first indication of irritation in these areas and take immediate action it’s possible to avoid injury.

 

 2.  Stress buildup due to the way we train:

  • Training schedule is too intense—not enough rest between stress.
  • Adverse Training Components—speed is too fast or has too much, too soon.
  • Running form—too long a stride, forward lean, bouncing too high off the ground.

 

So staying focused on the way one runs and following these guidelines, can often allow runners to maintain a manageable increase without injury.  

 

Top 5 ways to avoid stress buildup-and avoid injuries:

  1. Take walk breaks more frequently, and run shorter run segments
    • AW: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking walk breaks. You’ll be amazed at how many runners PR (including BQ) using walk breaks. It gives your body control over fatigue as you prepare for the next segment.
  2. Form: shorter stride, feet low to the ground
    • AW: I try to remember this while I’m running. Sometimes I get excited (forget), especially race day, and I have to pull it back so I won’t overdo it.
  3. Slower long runs, with more walk breaks
    • AW: I didn’t understand this until years after I started running. Train slow to run fast (and strong). It definitely helps increase endurance while remaining injury free.
  4. Avoid Stretching
    • AW: I don’t stretch until after I run and I love using Mr. Foam Roller too!
  5. Be careful when running speed sessions
    • AW: You know your body. Listen to it.

 

MPBB and Jeff Galloway | My Pretty Brown Blog

 
 
If you missed my previous posts with Jeff Galloway tips, you can find them here and here. What else can you think of to add to the list for injury prevention? 
 
 
 
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It’s A Meal Prep Party!

Meal Prep Party | My Pretty Brown BlogSo here’s the low-down…I’ve been “saying” that I was going to start meal prepping months ago! I would cook and somehow what was left ended up being devoured. Not to mention one extra serving of fish just doesn’t cut it. Okay, maybe I just didn’t take meal prepping seriously. But then, I didn’t like having to figure out from day to day what I was going to eat for lunch (or dinner). I could take the easy route and just buy frozen meals for lunch, but I wanted a healthier option. Not knocking anyone who does, because sometimes a Smart Ones is what’s on the menu! Well…

My great friend, Leticia, inspired me to get serious about meal prepping. This girl stays on it and she does not deviate. She has the results to prove it! She turned down Krispy Kreme for some grapes! WHO TURNS DOWN KRISPY KREME?! That should be against the law!!! But, I tell you who does…somebody on a mission! I’m gonna be real with y’all…after getting on the scale the other day, I said, “This ain’t gonna cut it”. I knew after my marathon I could gain weight. Well…I did. Not a lot, but enough to make me change my focus. I was getting way too comfortable. My marathon was 3 months ago, so I can’t keep saying I’m still taking time off to recover. As for training, I don’t want to use “I’m carb-loading” as an excuse to pig out before a race. There’s a way to eat clean(er) and still run, crossfit, weight train, etc. 

Don’t get me wrong, I will never be an advocate of deprivation. That’s why those cabbage, applesauce, baby food diets…just don’t work. We need real food! That’s the reason why I love Weight Watchers–nothing is off limits and everything is in moderation. I can easily eat a doughnut or a half a dozen (no judging), but that only derails progress. I’ve heard people say, “Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog!” Well, of course we’re not dogs…but if you know you want to enjoy a splurge meal or item, then plan accordingly. A sacrifice has to come from somewhere. You know your level of will power and I know mine. If I can go without something, I’ll wait until I REALLY want it—not just because it’s in front of me. 

Sometimes you have to shock your body by kicking in healthier habits that will benefit you for the long haul. Food prepping is actually fun! You feel a sense of accomplishment when you’re done. I’m talkin’ meals for the whole week! My HB was so intrigued by all my little meals and containers sprawled all over the kitchen, I think he wants to join the party!

Meal Prep Party | My Pretty Brown Blog

I pretty much baked everything at the same time. You may have to do two or more cycles depending on how much you want to prepare. My menu consisted of Brussels sprouts, yellow squash, broccoli, boiled eggs, salmon, chicken, brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruit, and mini snack packs. I measured out each baggie on the food scale to make my 100-ish calorie snack bags. You save so much money doing it this way. I never thought I’d love Brussels sprouts either, until I made them for the first time.  Did I mention, as a kid, I wouldn’t dare eat them? Now I love em’! I’ll also be switching up my foods/meals so I won’t get bored.

Meal Prep | My Pretty Brown Blog

If you don’t have a food scale, I encourage you to get one. I absolutely love my Weight Watchers scale and it has become my BFF. It converts into points as well. I measure everything. It amazes me how portions can get out of control, especially in restaurants—but it’s also interesting to see how often times we cheat ourselves. I was testing out a new recipe and I wanted French bread. I was surprised to see how much bread I did actually get, simply by weighing it. Weight Watchers Scale | My Pretty Brown Blog

I’m really excited about this new journey of food/meal prepping! I’ll check back in a little later to share how it has been going. Do you meal prep? What are some of your favorite go-to food prep meals/items?

 

Shake It Off, Tone It Up + Stairmill Workout!

I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready for spring! I have been in complete struggle mode the past few weeks. Winter really had me in a slump. Lots of rain, a few snow days…I really needed some vitamin D. Then I realized, I have suffered from SAD. Did you know that SAD existed? It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which simply means: you turn into Crabby Patty or you feel sad, anxious, tired, excessively eat with potential weight gain, and have trouble concentrating just to name a few. For me…I’m just ready for spring!

After my marathon, I had the Post-Marathon Blues. I remember my sister saying, “Artney, enjoy this moment! Your race will go by so fast and then it will be over.” Everything she said was true. About a week after my marathon the blues kicked in. You go through vigorous mental and physical training all while building a bond with yourself and your training. You put in days, nights, months of training then the big day comes, your excitement level is on fleek (yes, I actually detest this word, but it worked), then it’s over—just like that. I was sad, a little depressed, and this winter SADness didn’t help. I really enjoyed my sabbatical and not working out, but I can’t believe I’m saying this…I miss working out and I miss the endorphins! Euphoria, where are you? I had to figure out how to get out of this comfortable slump of laziness. It had to start with the renewing of my mind. So, I whipped my bum back into shape mentally and got on the physical train. One foot in front of the other and one day at a time. No More Excuses! 

Shaking Post-marathon blues, Stair Master, Fitness Exercises

Have you ever had that one activity or machine in the gym that you just wanted to run from? Well, mine is the Stairmaster/Stairmill aka the HELL-master! This is one of the hardest machines on earth and 5 minutes is all it takes to have me calling on Jesus. I get bored doing the same thing, so when I found this Stairmill Workout on Pinterest I got excited! But…it’s hard y’all!!! I have to stop mid-way to catch my breath because my heart rate is always off the charts—but it works! I’m not trying to go in too fast, so I’m going to stick with one cycle for the first few weeks then add another, etc. Next time you’re at the gym, try this awesome workout from ToneItUp!

 

 Stairmaster, Stairmill, Fitness Exercises

 

What’s the one workout or machine that you have a love/hate relationship with, but gets the job done?

 

 

It’s RunVember!

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I can’t believe November is here! You know what that means…the holiday season, peppermint bark, and 2014 is right around the corner! October was a rather interesting month for me. I wanted to up my mileage, but I had a few challenges so I didn’t get in as many miles as I anticipated. Busy schedules, long days, and doing what your body requires at that moment–it just happens. I had to get an unexpected surgery which limited my activity.  I’ve also been limited to mashies and ice cream, but I guess that’s not too bad. Well, when you eat a whole pint of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla for dinner, that can become too easy! But–I’m feeling much better!

What’s RunVember? Complete 30 miles in 30 days. The goal is to get people out there and get active. It takes 28 days to form a habit, so what better way than the RunVember Challenge! Run it or even walk it–just get those miles in. I can’t think of a better time than November!

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I signed up for my first Vulcan Run 10K which will be held this Saturday, November 2. Even though I might walk it, depending how my body feels, I’m really excited about it! I definitely don’t want to overdo it. The great thing is–whether I walk or run it, I’m still going to get out there and get those miles in…and there’s still time to register!

magic city half

I’m also excited about another big event towards the end of the month. It’s perfect timing as we get ready to partake in Turkey Day festivities and good eating! I’ll be running the Magic City Half Marathon part of the Ruben Studdard Celebration Weekend. I decided to add this race to my 2013 calendar as part of my preparation/training for my first Run Disney event, the Princess Half Marathon, in 2014! *insert scream here* I’ll tell you more about that later. This will be my second, half marathon and a lot of my running buds will be participating as well!

I’m looking forward to a great RunVember and an awesome month as we get closer to bringing 2013 to a close. I’m expecting GREAT things and I hope you are too!

Do you have any special plans, big races, or events coming up this month?

More Sweat, Less Jiggle | The Biggest Loser 15

bl15

The season premiere of The Biggest Loser 15 is almost here! I’ve always been a fan of the show, but I would always catch it mid-season. This will be my first time watching it from beginning to end. I watched the last few episodes of BL14 with winner, Dani Allen, and knew I needed to subscribe to Hulu so I could catch up on what I missed. I loved her transformation and watching her change right before my eyes. Dani is also a runner and now runs marathons–so inspiring!

I am also a Jillian Michaels fanatic! She’s an absolute BEAST! Even if you’re not competing on the show, she makes you get your bum up and get it in. She will have your glutes and “hammies” on fire! I also love trainers, Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince–motivation at its best. BL15 kicks off tomorrow, October 15 at 8/7c. Sorry BET Hip Hop Awards, you will have to take the back seat and get DVR’d! I’m excited that Ruben Studdard, from my hometown (Birmingham, AL) and American Idol Season 2 winner, will be competing for the Biggest Loser 15 spot. He is the heaviest contestant on the ranch weighing in at 462 pounds. He said he will be dedicating two hours a day to himself to continue losing weight. The fact that they are all making the decision to change their health and lives is commendable.

Best of luck to all of the contestants. Will you be watching?

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Wine-down (Sort of) Wednesday at the Park!

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The weather yesterday evening was absolutely perfect! My friend and I decided to change up our scenery and go to our local park to get some miles in. It was absolutely beautiful and feeling the breeze was another reminder as to why I absolutely LOVE Fall! The park was full of activity–yoga, bikers, skateboarders, runners, walkers-and people just relaxing!

imageZumba in the park!

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Jams was “pretending” she was dreading our walk/run. It’s only Wine-down Wednesday–it can’t be THAT bad!

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Clearly it wasn’t, because it didn’t take her long to get fired up!

imageZumba in the park was still going strong!

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My View!–What a beautiful canvas for a run!

 

 

Happier Hour, Happier Girl!

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I woke up Saturday morning with every intention to run early. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. My Friday night was rather eventful (long story lol). I didn’t get much sleep so it totally threw my Saturday morning run off. Rest is so necessary! I started my run two hours late, my iTouch completely un-synched ALL of my playlists. I didn’t even have my Soundscapes to run to. Then it started drizzling (which is fine), but the rain + my crabby mood — I was DONE! I just wanted to push the start over button. I could have pushed through, but Oscar mode was in full effect. I cut my long run short and I completed two miles. I normally go to Zumba on Saturday’s, but I really just needed a mental health day so I played hooky. Sorry Marta! :-) I went home, got some sleep, and decided I was going to enjoy my day.

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 I stopped by Taco Bell for Happier Hour! I love Happy Hour so it definitely cheered me up!

 

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Beefy Nacho Burrito and Mountain Dew Blast Freeze (and other items)–$1 on the Happier Hour Menu from 2 pm-5 pm (at participating locations).

 

My next stop–one of my favorite things…THRIFTING! It was long overdue for a thrift-store haul! I was greeted at the door with a company giving away big bags of cherries. I was happy about that. Plus, I found some REALLY great stuff!

   

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I don’t like to keep going back and forth so I make my rounds, grab what I want, try on, then I’m out the door. I’m glad everything worked out perfectly.

 

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This was NOT all of the bags!  <<< Thriftaholics Anonymous STAT!

 

Really glad my day turned out to be a great one. It was a relaxing weekend from then on out. I’m recharged and ready for a great RUN week!

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