Another day, another lesson learned?

I ran farther today than i have the past few runs before i had to walk a bit.  Getting used to the new pace is not easy.

Ran 1.27 Pace 8’52” – – Walked .2, ran .4, walked

I changed my floor exercises a bit as i am trying to expand and improve these.  I am doing a different kind of crunch.  Instead of rocking out 50 crunches, these have a little less total motion and you hold the pose when you reach max crunch for 1-2 seconds.  It definitely feels more intense.

40 crunches

I added a second kind of crunch.  These are a variety of “twisty crunches”.  From standard crunch pose, lift your feet until your calves are parallel to the ground.  When you crunch bring your left arm toward your right knee and straighten your left leg, return to neutral and do other side – right elbow toward left knee, right leg straight. It looks a little like bike riding…It is taking me a bit to get used to this motion and to maintain a focus on crunching and using my abs to bring my torso/elbow toward my knee instead of bringing my knee to my elbow.

10 total twisty crunches (5 each side)

I added the concepts above to my leg lifts.  I am now moving from about one foot off the floor to 2 feet off the floor (instead of 1-3 feet) and i am doing the procedure slower than before – i can feel the difference.

25 leg lifts

10 push-ups

190 lbs.

Today’s run was weird.  I wanted to go, i was excited to go, we have nice enough weather that i ran in shorts a t-shirt, but my legs felt weird.  I did stretch and i added a few new ones, but the muscles around my knees were tight.  Around .8 miles, i had a little internal/mental fight to not vomit the ball of green onions i ate in the yard not long before running (brilliant!).  I shut that down and kept going.  I knew that my pace was still good – still under 9 minutes, but i knew it was not very near to 8 or 8.5.  Since i decided to up my pace, i have been stopping at 1.1-1.2 near the bottom of a hill and walking up that hill and then mixing run walk the rest of the way home.  Today i could not make it to the top of the hill but i made myself run farther than before.  I ran to 1.27.  True, it was only a few more telephone poles up the hill, but i will run up that hill again and at my faster pace if i have to do it one pole at a time!  (It is actually a pretty gentle hill.)

Part of my struggle right now is morale and mindset.  I am not good at not being good at things.  Most things come pretty easily and naturally to me, and when things are more difficult and i can’t figure out why, i have to fight hard to stay focused and learn to achieve.  Not many days ago i was running 1.8-2.2 miles.  Now i am struggling to reach 1.5.  I understand that running near 8 minute miles is different from running near 10 minute miles.  I understand it but i don’t ‘feel’ it.  I am trying to focus on other things and stay positive.  I made progress today.

I learned (or re-learned) that taking a day off in between running days is ok, but those cannot be days of no activity.  My legs were tight today and i didn’t really stretch yesterday or do my other non-running exercises.  That is part of why i spent more time looking at runner’s stretches/exercises/ and core strengthening workouts today.  I have incorporated some of what i found already and i need to continue to add more stuff – not for the sake of volume, but to find the right stretches for me, and to find the exercises and drills that give me the best results.

I should have a good stretch every day and some floor exercise on running days, but i should have some more intensive strengthening drills on my non-running days.  I really would like to be able to run every day (or 5-6 days in a row) and i may try some back-to-back runs again this week.  However my body tells me to handle how many days to run, i need to tell myself to exercise one way or another every day.

Hopefully – lesson learned.

I watched the two parts of “The Runner’s Six Pack” for some of the ideas found above.

Stretching Part 1

There has already been enough talk about stretching, and good information shared on the topic, that i decided a new stretching category could be useful and fun!  I will begin typing up my stretching routine and post links to good stretching sites that i found or that people have shared with me.  I definitely welcome your thoughts and experiences with stretching and look forward to stealing your great stretches!


I always start standing up.  It should be easy to figure out the application – where appropriate, I do 10 stretches in each direction on each side.  Quick Note: any time I or anyone else says to “hold the stretch” or “hold the pose” make sure that you keep breathing.  My sports Chiropractor used to tell me to “breathe into the stretch”.  With every breath you can feel the stretch deepen.  If you hold your breath, your muscles tend to freeze up and do the opposite of stretching.  I use this stretching routine for almost everything; before a hike, if motivated – when i get up in the morning, before doing construction projects, before i play golf, when smart – before a road trip/plane ride, and before and after a run.

Standing Stretches:

1.     Neck Rolls – 10 clockwise, 10 counter clockwise.  (I have never had the problem, but I was told years ago, keep your eyes open if you are prone to dizziness and you will not get dizzy.  These should be kinda slow anyway, so that too should help avoid dizziness.)

2.     Shoulder Rolls – I do both (right and left) at the same time, but that is not necessary.  10 starting out with a forward motion.  10 in the opposite direction.

3.      Arm Swings – one leg forward, one a little behind you. If your left foot is forward, swing your right arm in a full circle (imagine a helicopter blade – then rotate the helicopter so that the blade is spinning perpendicular to the earth instead of parallel to it).  Swing the arm 10 times in a forward direction, 10 times in the reverse direction.  Switch positions – right foot forward, left foot back and repeat the procedure swinging the left arm.

4.     I don’t have a name for these – Side Stretchers – feet about shoulder width apart.  Raise your right arm straight up towards the ceiling until you feel the stretch.  Hold that a moment or two.  Keep the right arm at full extension, and slowly bend it towards your left side.  You are moving the hand over your head and staying in line with your body.  You are sort of making a reverse letter “c”.  If you were supremely flexible, you would end this by touching your left hip or knee (that is not the goal just a visual.)  Once you have moved the hand and arm over your head, in line with your body, allow your left side to continue to bend, helping you right hand in it’s quest for your left side.  Go until you feel the stretch then stop and hold it.      You should be able to feel this stretch up and down most of your right side.  From below your right arm pit, down your side and even down the outside of your right leg.  Hold the pose for several breaths.  Bounce in it a little if you want.  Do it on the other side.

5.     Another one I don’t have a name for – Twisty McGee’s – Feet Shoulder width apart.  Exact position of your arms is not critical, find something that feels good to you.  I raise my arms up below shoulder level, but above nipple level with my elbows sticking out and my hands facing each other.  This puts your “wings” parallel to the floor.  Use your right elbow to lead you and your whole body around towards your back.  Keep your feet planted and try to twist around as far as you can.  When you hit your max twist point, bounce there about 3 times.  Then go to the left.  Do each side 10 times.  It sounds and seems (and is) really simple, but it really loosens up a lot of muscles in different places in one simple motion.  You will be stretching your neck, parts of your upper body, your mid section, your hips, your knees, and I even get an occasional ankle pop out of the deal.

Next Time on Stretching: Standing Leg Stretches!

Good Stretching Article posted on my Facebark Page – i need to try these out to see if my this is my problem area

Stretches from Runner’s World – i just started doing some of these