Everyone should own a foam roller… and use it

One of my goals this year is to stretch more…

But stretching alone isn’t always enough to release muscles tightness. This is why my goal has evolved into foam rolling 2-3 times a week as well.

Stretch

After this weekend’s race – foam rolling was/ is my total saviour. I raced the London ITU Sprint Triathlon in Hyde Park and it really took a toll on my body. My energy levels feel low and I’ve been really stiff and uncomfortable this week. My muscles have finally started to loosen up now which I will attribute to 1) drinking lots of water and eating lots of nutrient filled foods 2) taking a couple rest days directly after the race 3) swimming on Tuesday which got my muscles moving again (could also be called an impromptu ice bath because it was so cold!) and 4) stretching and foam rolling.

You don’t have to feel stiff and uncomfortable to foam roll however. Rolling out your muscles is a great activity which benefits all lifestyles…

Here’s some info about what it is, what it does and why you should give it a try!

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Recovery Tips

Stretch and RecoveryWe often forget that recovery is one of the most important ingredients to progress. Without it, we run our body down and impair our next performance.

There is a lot more to recovery than just stretching… and recovering properly makes you stronger and fitter in the long run — What is your recovery routine?

My body has come to rely on the following recovery tips…

  1. Never skip your cool-down. If you’re running short on time, skip the last lag of your main session and start your cool down early. If you’re absolutely spent, walking for 10-15 minutes can make a big difference — just remember to keep warm (layer up) if you’re cooling down outside in the winter months.
  2. Have a snack within 30 minutes of finishing your main session. Try to eat something high in protein and easy to digest.
  3. Re-hydrate. Find a water bottle you love or a glass you adore and keep it full. Sip on it throughout the day.
  4. Put your legs up. Spend 5-10 minutes with your legs up on the wall to enhance circulation and gently stretch your legs out.
  5. Invest in a foam roller. In addition to stretching – release muscle tension by rolling out tight areas and trigger points. Essentially an alternative for deep tissue messages… and (after the initial investment) it’s free!

I follow these to a tee after intense running sessions such as intervals or hills and after any race. For better or worse, I’m not so diligent after low-impact sports like cycling and swimming as my body doesn’t take as long to recover from these sessions.

If you’re crazy enough, ice baths go a long way. Dan does this after a big ride and finds that it helps a lot…. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it… I absolutely hate being cold!

Reflecting on my first 10k of the year

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Quite quickly, I went from being grateful and excited to cold and worried… hence my expression above! It was a cold and windy morning but all-and-all I really enjoyed the Regents Park 10k. This was a true test of my winter fitness and I was so pleased with the result… 10k in 46:45! Woot! Very close to my personal best at this distance and I walked away without shin pain!

RACE REPORT: The start was delayed slightly which threw a curve-ball in my warmup plans. I was starting to get nervous at the start line that my shins would play up after going from cold and stationery to high intensity running.

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Grateful and Excited

After suffering from shin splints last year, a few things were put into perspective… Going out for a quick 30-minute run was no longer an option. Instead, I’d have to pack up and walk to the gym to find some low-impact cardio. It became a chore being so restricted.

The shin splits lasted six months… I wasn’t able to run from March – November 2014. They’ve since settled down and I have been able to enjoy some beautiful runs around London again. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated going for a run as much as I do now.

Tomorrow, I’ll be racing my first 10k in ages!! I’m not going to bring my Garmin and instead I’ll just run by feel. If I leave with a sub 50-minute finish time and no shin pain, I’ll be a very happy camper!

To avoid any injuries tomorrow I plan to:

  • Do a long easy warm-up
  • Roll out my calves tonight and after the race
  • Take Monday off to recover

Enjoy your training. Enjoy the freedom of it. And take care of your body!

Get your om back

This Sweaty Betty om yoga vest top has arrived at such a perfect time! I have been slacking lately on setting aside time to stretch… this coupled with ramping up my training sessions for Triathlon has caused some stiffness and discomfort. I really do need to prioritise recovery — this was just the motivation I needed to keep on top of it.

Thanks Sweaty Betty for the perfect #healthieselfie give away!

OOoooooommmmmmmm
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