Saturday, 29 March 2014

Five Things That Are Helping My Running Right Now

There comes a day in every runner's life when you realise that the things you do in between running have just as big an impact on your running as, well, running itself.  Not sleeping well?  You'll feel it on your next run.  Eating junk?  Your body will definitely let you know.  I'm most certainly not implying that one should never have a late night out or never indulge in an ice-cream or two, but I've come to learn that there are many things that I can do in between running to benefit my running.  And right now, as the mom of an infant and a toddler, I find this more relevant than ever.  Here are five simple things that are helping my running right now:

1.  Foam Rolling

The Wheelbarrow Calf Roll.  Don't try this at home, kids.

I personally believe that no runner should be without a foam roller.  Ever.  But now, as a new mom who regularly runs with a jogging stroller, implying fewer running route options and therefore more frequent runs on slightly slanted surfaces, I simply cannot do without mine.  I try my best to roll on every non-running day and focus on my sorta-kinda mumbling IT Bands.  And it keeps them happy.  Here's how.

2.  The Semi-Supine Position

In their book Master the Art of Running, Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields encourage runners to spend 10 minutes per day in the semi-supine position to benefit their running.  Now it might be that I'm delusional from a lack of sleep, or perhaps I'm just way happier than the normal man on the street to spend 10 minutes per day on my back on the floor, but this really works.  It makes me feel refreshed and definitely increases my sense of body awareness (as in "wow, I'm slouching, sit up straight").  And don't worry - I'm definitely not one for airy-fairy foo-foo gimmicks.  Here's how I do it, but it would be advisable to get the proper instructions straight from the book (and no, I'm not getting paid to say this): 

3.  Proper Rest & Recovery

I used to be pretty diligent about properly resting and recovering in between runs even before becoming a mom, but these days, with the lack of sleep associated with having a newborn, I find that I simply cannot skimp on recovery.  I need to do it properly, or else I get sick or cannot perform on my next run - as simple as that.  For me, at this stage of my life, proper rest and recovery includes the following*: Hydrating properly directly after each run (coconut water is still my favourite!); ingesting a mix of protein and carbs shortly after that (e.g. muesli, yoghurt and berries after an early morning run); properly stretching all the major leg muscle groups after each run; and resting enough in between runs (I try to never run less than 36 hours, but preferably 48 hours, apart).

Coconut water.  For gulping down post-run.
4.  This Guy

At this stage of my life I need help to get out there and run.  I haven't run with both children in our double stroller yet (J has been to young for this up until now), so I always need someone to watch him while I run with K.  And I'm sure that pretty soon I'll need someone to watch K while J and I go for our first runs together.  

Will is super supportive of our running and, after training really hard for his recent racing highlight of the year, has cut back a bit on the cycling in order to give me the opportunity to get back into running shape.  What an amazing man.

5.  Dark Chocolate

Haha, only kidding.  But a girl can dream, right?
What is helping your running at the moment?  
Semi-supine: Foo-foo or effective?

*This is what works for me right now and may not be equally beneficial for everyone.


  1. I'm the same way with my running - I try to make sure I have at least 36-48 hours between runs. I need to give my body a chance to recover!

    And you can never go wrong with chocolate. ;)

  2. Yum to the dark chocolate! I'm all about the reward system after a run ;) That semi-supine technique sounds really interesting and it makes sense to me to work on your posture while not running so it can transfer over to your posture while running.

    1. You'd be surprised how effective it is, Hailey - I definitely was. Plus having an excuse to lie down on your back for 10 minutes each day is absolutely heavenly ;) !

  3. You just reminded me how important it is to foam roll.. and that 10 minutes might be the best 10 minutes of my day in the semi-supine position!
    No chocolate coaxing necessary. :)

    1. Lol, Raina, those 10 minutes are very often one of the highlights of my day ;) !

  4. Things have changed a bit for me the past few years and mainly because I don't care about times anymore. I've done all my PB's and now I concentrate on distance PB's rather. I have a few interesting goals ahead and some are not linked to races even but just me running on my own. My greatest help at the moment is focusing on my long term goals.

    1. I also find that my motivation often takes a knock when I train with no goal (race or otherwise) in mind. Definitely a huge motivator.


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