Friday, 8 April 2016

Finally Getting This Recovery Thing!

Hidy-ho friendly friends and happy Saturday!! Yay!

Today I have a topic that I feel needs to be discussed.
It's not really one specific topic I guess now that I think about it but it's vaguely circling around over training, trusting your body, resting when rest is required and honouring your body as best you can because it does so much for you.

Now, I've been down that road, both in fitness and nutrition whereby I shut off everything my body tells me and just go with what I believe my body deserves.

If I was ravenous but it was only 2 o'clock, I would make myself wait until my 4 o'clock designated snack time before I would allow myself to eat. If I craved a sandwich or a bowl of rice for dinner but had already had some grain/ carbohydrate for breakfast than I would stick to veggies. Already eaten both nut butter and avocado in one day? No olive oil/ other healthy for me at lunch or dinner.

Fitness wise- working out everyday. Felt like I needed to stay in bed? Nope, up and at em' and high intensity cardio! Need another rest day? Nope- only one a week is what I should need. Legs tired and heavy, nope 10+km to go before I'm done. Legs hurting, running becoming slower, motivation waning? Keep. Going.

So, mucked up eating habits + unhealthy over training= problems.  Generally in the form of injury, fatigue and unhappiness.

But have no fear, that was quite a while ago now and I actually appreciated that time in my life for teaching me how to better look after my body in times of it crying out in crisis.

So recently I had been incorporating some more sprints/ hill runs into my run sessions, alternating with a long run each week- which seemed to be going quite well. I could feel my fitness growing and the power in my legs increasing. Then I decided it was time to increase my weekly mileage and come one weekend I did a long run both Saturday and Sunday.

Ok, on reflection, it was a bit too much at once and I should have taken Sunday to rest and recover my legs from the run the day before and the familiar pain in my left knee as a result of an extremely tight ITB (a very common running injury). Signal to Steph. Stop.

So I haven't run again in about a week and have stretched and foam rolled every night since Sunday. That first night of foam rolling... was utter torture. I don't know if you've ever foam rolled on a leg with the most gigantic knots, but just sitting there, rocking back and forth on a built up ball of muscle in your thigh is quite literally excruciating. My poor mother, who was trying to relax and watch some TV, had to sit through my cries and groans of pain and my falling off of the roller every time the level of pain from hanging out on a particular knot became too much!

Didn't know which pic to choose because they're all so accurate!
Every morning for this past week I alternated between core, arm and glute/hip/thigh workouts to strengthen up my body so I can be strong enough to prevent this injury from recurring (weak hips is a common cause and I will admit I had neglected to strengthen my hips and glutes for quite some time- you'd think I would have learned from last time!!). Today I went for a hilly bike ride which did push my sore legs but a good foam roll after and the pain doesn't feel too dangerous now- it feels more just like recuperating muscle pain, instead of injury pain.
Come on legs- I believe in you!! Pre-bike ride

Tomorrow shall be my first try at a run (very short distance, maybe 2km) and a good stretch and foam roll to follow.

And now looking back at all of this I know I am honouring my body. My past, unhealthy self wouldn't have coped with taking time off and would have pushed her body to breaking point (like last time- do not want 10 weeks off again!!) and this girl? This girl just stopped. She knew her body needed a break and an active, recovering break is what she shall get!
People, we need to respect the machines that carry us through our day to day lives. Our bodies know what's truly best for us, not what some disordered thinking article on weightloss tells us. I know from experience how to pick up on unhealthy behaviours and so I guess this post is a message to anyone who might be going through the same thing. Stop and rest. You're allowed to. And in the long run, you're body will be so much stronger and better off because of it. Trust me.

Your turn:
What's your worst exe4rcise related injury/ over training story?
Ever turn to bike riding for some active recovery? So peaceful first thing in the morning?
Best advice for treating runners knee/ IT band injury?

I hope you all have a fabulous day, look after and love your bodies because they are all amazing and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELCIIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

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