I don't have time to go into the specifics of each (Christmas guests!!!), but I'll share an overview of the things that I believe have kept me healthy. Over the next couple of weeks, I will break down each category into a more detailed post.
1) SHOES-Ok, this may be the biggest one for me. I've struggled with injuries on and off (mostly hips). I now rotate between 4 pairs and my legs have never felt better.
2) Changing my foot strike-I feel like this has helped me to stay healthy as well + get faster. BUT... this is how I got injured in the first place... I was too aggressive with going from a heel strike to mid-foot strike. My calves were sore for WEEKS (*red flag) and then the rest of my R lower leg broke down. Luckily, I had access to an Alter G and took another 6 weeks rehabbing on it, focusing on my form and changing into a lower heel-drop shoe SAFELY.
I love you, Alter G. You were so good to me.
3) I do my hard days hard and my easy days easy-I run by feel and I don't get hung up on the numbers. Sort of. For example, yesterday I really wanted to see if I could do my 19-miler below a 9 minute mile pace. I consider my long run day a "hard day." That being said, I still wanted to run it at a comfortable pace where I didn't feel out of breath. I also didn't want my body to feel like it was really struggling. I was able to hold a sub-9 pace, but had my body felt rough, I would not have pushed it. Today will be a VERY easy 4-mile recovery. If my Garmin says 10:00 when I look down at it, then so be it. I have spent my post-injury running completely running by FEEL, keeping in mind that the day after a hard workout needs to be gentle. NO TWO HARD DAYS IN A ROW.
4) Hitting the gym 2-3 times per week-For me, strength training is essential. I consider it a form of insurance. I work my legs/core HARD. I am actually sore most days after my strength training. It's working. My hips/knees/hammies are getting stronger and staying healthy. I have even been lifting the day after my long runs. I was nervous about this at first, but my coach said to go for it.
5) Compression Gear-I feel like it's helping. I've bought some new compression shorts and calf sleeves and I don them after hard workouts. Full review later!
That's it in a nutshell! I'll break the nut down in a bit... Off to get ready for this with the boys and the grandparents: