I am working on all sorts of things to keep myself healthy and uninjured this year. I do not want to continue this trend of having something hurt for most of the year and then taking time off to let it heal. I have to tell myself that if something hurts, I should rest it, so it doesn't get worse. There are a lot of things out there that "they" (whoever "they" are) say you should do to prevent running injuries. Strengthen your hips, strengthen your core, stretch, breath right, don't strike on your heals, run stairs, squat, etc. I am actually not great at being consistent with the exercises I have found to help with these things, but I have been trying a lot more lately.
One of the things that I have been working on is breathing. I have heard from different sources at different times that it is beneficial to inhale and exhale on opposite feet each time. For example I inhale when I step with my right foot, they (there's that "they" again) say that the next time you inhale you should do it when you step with your left foot, and so on. This is supposed to prevent stress on one side of your body. So, you inhale for 2 steps and then exhale for 3 steps, and so on. For the last 2 years or so I'll think about this every so often while I run and try to figure it out. I have never been able to figure out how many steps I have taken while inhaling and exhaling, so then I hold my breath for a beat until I get to the "right" foot. Of course, this doesn't last long because I sorta need to breath. =)
I am a counter when I run. I count my steps between cracks in the sidewalk. I count my steps when crossing a street, I just like to count my steps. I don't know why this never occurred to me before, but I finally figured out the breathing technique. I have to COUNT. (duh!) So, now, instead of counting my steps between cracks, I count my steps between breaths. Inhale 1, 2. Exhale 1, 2, 3. Inhale 1, 2. Exhale 1, 2, 3. How simple is that? And once I start, I find that I do it even if I forget to count for a little while (I don't automatically start this when I start running, I usually don't think of it for a block or 10, but once I start, I continue.)
I have also gotten fairly decent at doing at least one move my physical therapist told me to do to strengthen my hips. But I find I'm only doing it after I run as part of my stretching (which is probably not long enough). I go in spurts with squats. Sometimes I'm really good at squatting all the time (strengthening legs) and others I get "busy" and skip it once or twice (or for weeks at a time). And don't even ask me the last time I did a plank (core).
This weekend I went for a run both Saturday AND Sunday. This is the first time I've ran 2 days in a row since September. Saturday was a 4 mile run, which was uneventful. Yesterday I decided to do a short run to the park with Maddox in the jogging stroller. Remember this summer when I was home all the time and I started running with Maddox almost everyday? Remember that I used to live in a very hilly area, and so I was pushing the jogging stroller up hills everyday? Yeah, all that conditioning is gone. Where I now live is flat. There are no hills. (I'm a little sad about this, I like running hills, I feel like it kept me in great shape.) The park where I live now is a little over a mile from my house, so I thought I'd run there with Maddox and then run home, making a nice 2 and a quarter mile run.
For a little while I debated about doing a 3 mile loop, but then I was pushing that dang stroller and remembered how hard it is, and decided not to. Well, when we left the park, I conveniently forgot how hard it is, and gave Maddox the option of which way to go, and of course he chose the long way. I was dying by the time I got home. I even had to stop and walk a couple times at the end, I was so tired.
When I got home I decided to let Maddox play a little outside, so I did some squats and some lunges. My butt hurts today, but I feel good. I'm ready to be more active. I'm ready to start running more and feeling more like myself. I don't want to feel so tired after a 3 mile run (even if I'm pushing a stroller). So, for now, as long as my feet hold up, I'm going to run every other day and both Saturday and Sunday.
Because . . . as we all know . . .