Workout Wednesday – Guest Post

 

Today’s Blogger of the day is Brittany from Living The Moment

I have read her blog for a few months now and have literally fallen out of my chair laughing and/or been brought to tears by her posts. She is a very talented writer that can turn any life situation into a story. I love reading her blog and thought you would too. I asked her if she would be willing do her ‘Workout Wednesday’ over here today and was super excited when she said yes!

Hello, everyone!  I am Brittany, a fellow blogger, who normally spends my time waxing on over at my blog, Living in the Moment (www.brittsbeat.blogspot.com).  But today, I am so thrilled to be here at Destination 26.2, talking to you all about one of my favorite topics, running.  Thank you, Linz, for having me! 

I’ll be honest; I’m not a bonafide runner.  I do run; I also train some runners.  But I do a variety of other fitness-related things, as well.  While I’m a high-school teacher by day, I’m a personal trainer and fitness instructor by night, and I’ve gotten the great pleasure of watching clients and friends use fitness and healthy tips to ascend to levels of marathon star-dom.

 
Running is a passion for some; it’s a hobby for others.  Some use it as cardio exercise; still others use it as stress relief.  There are women who jog on treadmills, while some others hit outdoor trails.  Some people dream of finishing a 5-K.  Others won’t rest until they’ve run (and won) the Boston Marathon.
 

The beauty of running is that it meets every single person where they are at.  It looks different, and it looks the same for everyone.  Anyone can do it, but no two people can do it exactly alike. 
 
As a trainer who works with runners, I see this all the time.   What motivates one soul won’t impact another.  What changes one runner’s body will sometimes hurt another’s.  So it’s hard, for those of you just starting out on your run, to figure out what you need, when what works for the woman next to you on the treadmill might very well hinder your performance.
 

Still, there are some things that every runner needs.  And I’m not just talking about a good pair of sneakers and a sports bra.  There are basic, affordable supplies everyone who considers themselves a “runner,” wannabe or otherwise, should keep in their figurative back-pocket. 

Every client I have – even if they’re a power-walker who one day wants to complete a 2-mile dash, or an Iron-Woman – uses this stuff; it’s just that effective.  It’s just that good. 

And, it’s just that affordable.   

So, I give you, the Four Bargains Every Runner Should Have. 

  1. Epsom Salts

 

    At $3 to $5 a box, these little miracle minerals are a God-send for physically active adults.  Made up of magnesium sulfate, these pellets can be dissolved in bath water to ease muscle tension, stress and reduce swelling. 
    And trust me, every runner worth their (Epsom) salt is going to have some swelling.  In the ankles.  In the knees.  In the shins (Hello, Shin Splints!) It comes with the territory. 
    But a 20-30 minute soak in a bath of these cheap mineral salts will ease your pain and your swelling.  Which means you’ll recover faster.  Which means you’ll be able to run again.  Faster.  And sooner. 
    These salts are not an old wive’s tale.  Buy yourself a box for your bathroom before your next run. 
  1. A tennis ball

 
You can buy one ball for less than a dollar.  And that one dollar can save your feet from a world of pain, and, possibly, surgery. 

Runners are often prone to an injury called plantar fasciitis (PF), where the muscles along the bottom of your foot swell and inflame.  It’s incredibly painful; also, if left unattended, can be incredibly dangerous, as the muscles can require surgery to repair. 

Preventing PF, though, is a snap.  All it takes is a tennis ball to relieve the tension and swelling from the bottom of your foot. 

After a run, you place the tennis ball under your bare foot.  Bearing down and pressing your foot into the ball, roll it back and forth across the bottom of your foot. 

It’s going to feel a little uncomfortable, but it’s also going to achieve myofascial release, meaning that gentle, intentional, applied pressure to an area of tightness and pain allows your body to work out the kinks and unnatural tension you’ve built up in the muscle through actions such as running. 

Myofascial release is healing; it’s therapeutic.  In some circles, it’s called massage therapy.  (What’s that?  You’ve heard of it?)  And it also costs a ton of money.  But you can do the same thing for your feet with a tennis ball.  For $1. 

  1. A calcium supplement

 

    Now, unless you and full-fat dairy products are best friends, chances are, you’re probably not getting enough calcium.  Especially if you’re a woman.  And especially if you’re a runner. 
    Like Epsom salts, calcium actually relieves swelling and can work as a minor pain reliever.  In addition, it bolsters bone and muscle growth. 
    Runners, who we’ve already established are prone to swelling, are also prone to joint and bone pain, along with issues with bone growth, as they’re constantly pounding the pavement with their skeletal system. 
    But a calcium supplement can help all that.  It will keep your bone strong, reduce inflammation, and help you manage pain.  (Although, don’t get ahead of yourself.   The stuff isn’t morphine.  But it does help.) 
    Even grocery stores carry calcium supplements these days.  I buy mine at a health-food store.  A $10-bottle has a month’s worth of capsules.   
    For those of you that run longer distances or more frequently, you may want to splurge on a more expensive calcium blend.  For instance, some health-food-store options offer a mix of calcium, Vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium (which, remember, helps reduce inflammation.)  You’ll get more bang for you buck. 
  1. A hard runner’s insole

 
Grab your running shoes.  Take out the insole.  Bend it in half. 

If you can do that, you need a separate, more supportive insole.  Any sports store will have options available for you.  

You need more support for your heel and the bottom of your foot.  Most shoes – made to fit a wide variety of users – rarely come outfitted with insoles that are actually suitable for running. 

You need something more supportive, more durable.  You need something that won’t bend in half thanks to the strength of your forefinger and pinky. 

For $20-$35, you can find a light-weight, hard-bottomed insole that will last you through two pairs of running shoes (typically one year.)  They slide right in your sneaker; in place of the shoe’s original insole, or under it.  And they will keep your foot supported and pain-free throughout your run. 

I know this is by far the most expensive “bargain” on my list, but trust me, you’ll be a convert once your try them.

So, there you have it.  What every runner needs, in my humble opinion.

 
Now, of course, I am not a doctor, and I’m not your trainer.  I’m just telling you what has worked with my clients and me.  Before taking anything or trying anything you’re unsure about, please consult a physician.

 
And if you have any additional questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at britr@ufl.edu.

 
Thank you again, Linz, for having me over here today!  Hopefully I’ll see the rest of you all around as well.  You can find me at Living  in the Moment (www.brittsbeat.blogspot.com

 
Happy Running Everyone!

 
– Brittany

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12 thoughts on “Workout Wednesday – Guest Post

  1. Brittany! This was so helpful!! I’ve been running on average 18 miles a week, and my body is feeling it! I’m definitely going to invest in some epsom salt and a calcium supplement!

    Thanks so much for your advice!!!

  2. Great tips! I came over from Brittany’s blog & she always has the best advice.

    I keep a tennis ball at my office under my desk for the very reason Brittany described, but I also use it to stretch my feet (high heels).

  3. I had a bad case of PF in college, when I was cheering and training every day and the trainer said that a regular old soup can works to ease the pain too! Just a helpful hint :o)

  4. i love epsom salts. Funny thing, the bf surprised on monday and bought me a bunch! yay!

    and i like the tennis ball idea. that is great advice.

    AND today i bought some calcium!

    wow, u r right on the ball…..a tennis ball perhaps! hehe.

    great guess post!
    will follow ur blog from now on, Brittany!

  5. Great info! And love epsom salts too…especially lavendar enhanced! On the Calcium, I get mine from a homepathic doctor, and they are wonderful. They are from Metagenics called Cal Apatite with Boron. Complete bone nutrition. They have been proven to even help women with osteoporosis.

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