I can do hard things.

Hello, hello.

It’s been awhile, too long. And my life has changed dramatically since I started this blog last year, and I’m vowing to do a better job at posting this time around — not only as someone with a passion for the sport of running, but for a #BadAssMotherRunner.

I’ll update everyone soon. But I had to get this out while it’s fresh on my mind.

This morning during my recovery run, all I could think about was how hard things have gotten in the past two weeks.

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This is how today started… after two late night feedings for the babe, he awoke around 5 a.m. and after three attempts at feeding him and putting him back down I finally gave up and decided we would all wake up for morning family playtime, while I rushed around in the dark preparing for my run. Meanwhile, I pump (just in case), take the pup, out attempt to stretch before quietly sneaking out into the dark sky.

I’m worried it may be icey — it’s not, thank goodness, but the clock is ticking by, and I don’t have much time for a warm up (which SUCKS because — HIP PAIN), and I take my first steps.. the first steps, first mile is always the hardest especially now, I’m thinking immediately when will I be done, when can I get back to my babe. It wasn’t this way when I started back running postpartum after having Miles, I loved getting outside, and hurrying back… but since returning to work, leaving is HARD.

Running postpartum was hard, but also enjoyable.
Returning to work and being a mom is harder, down right not fun.
The combination of training and working full-time is nearly impossible.

This is what I was thinking about around mile two of my run. It was cold, it was dark, I was tired. I’m nursing a sore hip and some other pains these days, but I also LOVED being outside and knowing I was getting my run in. So many emotions, and running allows me to get them out, no matter how hard it can be. The sun was starting to come up as I eased into my pick ups (5x :20 HARD with 1:40 recovery). I started feeling stronger and ready for the day.

I don’t mind these mornings, but I miss the recovery time with my wee bird.  I head home to shower/prep for the day and feed the babe before heading off to work for what has become the longest days of my life. Not because the days go slow, but because I feel like I’m missing a piece of myself when I’m away from Miles.

Nights go to fast – once I’m home it’s basically bed time for the wee bird, and then I attempt to stretch and roll recovery, before getting to bed myself.

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Yesterday, Steph Bruce shared this amazing post on the Oiselle Blog that inspired me so much to run today – #WinWithOne. It’s amazing to belong to this team, and be surrounded by such a supportive community of mother runners. I have become so close with so many of you during this time and it’s great that we can continue to push each other, but also be there to deal with the frustrations of how hard this all really is.

They say it get’s easier, I don’t think it ever will… I just think moms get stronger. I don’t know how I’m going to run a marathon in 76 days, but I do know that I can do hard things.

xxoo

JK

Friyay Faves.

It’s my favorite Friday of the year!!! Friday of March Madness. I’m a NCAA March Madness junkie. This is my Christmas.

1. NCAA March Madness Tournament – NCAA.com
You can watch all of the games from the convenience of your computer, which is helpful for those of you who have to work. I’ll be off to watch the games, and route from my alma mater! Fight, Fight, Fight for the Cherry and the White!

2. Runner’s World Warm-Up Routine

This running warm up is in the latest issue of Runner’s World magazine, and it’s just what everyone needs. I started including more dynamic stretching before runs over a year ago as I began increase speed to prevent injury and it has been a life saver. I fully believe in incorporating these moves to your routines… BEFORE a run.

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“A recent study reveals that a dynamic warmup routine can help you perform better. Researchers compared how well study participants ran after moving versus sitting. When runners did dynamic stretches, they were able to go almost two and a half minutes longer before they tired out compared to when they sat. The following routine is directly from the study.” – Runner’s World.

Click here for the full warm up!

3. Happy St. Patty’s — For St. Patrick’s Day I made this faux-Shamrock Shake with a recipe from @ChocolateCoveredKatie on IG. (Spoiler: The green is spinach, so it was the perfect healthy breakfast treat!)

4. Easter is around the corner… which mean it’s time to stock up on my all-time-favorite candy….
CADBURY MINI EGGS. Typically I’m a dark chocolate lover, but there is something special about the hard shell and milk chocolate that I can’t resist!

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Happy Friyay!!!! Bring on the madness!!!

Weekend Recap: Birthday (eats) Edition

Let’s catch up! 

The hubs surprised me Friday night with a homemade Funfetti Birthday Cake!

“What happens when you let an architect make a cake.” LOL. It was even better than I imagined. Perfect surprise!

We also indulged in a very tasty pie from Little Anthony’s in Media!

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Reminded me of the beach!

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Woke up Saturday eager to RUN!!! And I was excited my girlfriend Lauren was able to join me for early morning miles to start the day! She’s training for her first marathon this summer, so it was just the beginning of her training. I’m so excited for her and was happy to join her.

I wrapped up 11 easy, paced miles to end the week with 32 miles!!!! Recovered with a green smooth [Silk Chocolate Milk. Spinach. Half a banana. 2 teaspoons PB2. 1 TB spoon chia seeds] and some stretching and rolling.

To start my birthday weekend off… the hubs and I ventured into the city for brunch (my favorite meal of the day at Parc in Rittenhouse Square). Have you been? I highly recommend making a reservation to get out there over the spring. They have gorgeous window seats that you can people watch and take in the sights for hours. We literally felt like we were in Europe.

And of course….

The bread basket and pastry basket is enough to make you SCREAM for more. My favorite bread was the raisin/walnut. The hubs liked the baguette (when in France). Out of the pastries my favorite was the chocolate croissant, his was the vanilla creme puffs, and well anything dipped in that raspberry sauce. And of course a delicious cappuccino.

 

Hers: Croque Madame + mixed greens

His: Eggs Benedict + roasted potatoes

Shared: Pommes Frittes

The eggs were perfect prepared on both dishes, and the ham on both made them just savory enough for the perfect brunch items. We savored each bite and lingered over the views.

We then did some shopping on Walnut Street, and ventured around Rittenhouse Square.

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Unfortunately the sun didn’t stay out so we made a quick trip to Pamcakes Bakery for cupcakes to go!

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Eat Cake for Breakfast.

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Day light Savings had us up earlier than expected so we made an impromptu  trip to King of Prussia Mall for some shopping!

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Reppin’ Oiselle #FlyStyle (Heads Up Wings Out Trucker Hat + Trails Hoodie + Bolt Tights)

I got spoiled with a new pair of sunglasses as an early birthday present and we even had lunch at Shake Shack! Does it get any better?

[The new chicken sandwich is dynamite…. crispy chicken + lettuce + pickles + herb mayo]

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              His: Double Shack Burger + Soda + Fries                                    Hers: Chick’n Schack + Fries + Black/White Shake 

We spent the afternoon relaxing. I finally watched Cinderella and really enjoyed the new version of the classic. And the hubs surprised me with a scavenger hunt of birthday gift. I’m truly blessed.

One of my gifts was this Nespresso VertuoLine + Frothier!!! The most perfect cup of cappuccino!

Since this weekend was all about the eats, we ended it with dinner at El Vez, one of my favorite Mexican spots with the best guacamole, with my best!

Pictured: El Vez Margarita + Taco Platter (Clockwise from top: Beef, Sea Bass, Chicken, Mahi, Carnaitas (middle)) — The absolute perfect pairing to try everything. Not pictured… ALL the Guacamole!

It was a great weekend of celebrating the end of a year and preparing for the start of a new one!

Obviously I was glad I got in a run this weekend with all these delicious eats. How was your weekend? Best thing you ate?

Weekly Update + Miles

Monday

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Rise and Grind! I indulged over the weekend, so hit the gym early to log some quick (4.5) miles and get in some core. I took to the deadmill knowing that spring temps would bring lots or running outside! It was a busy day at work of jam packed meetings, luckily I got away for a lunch date with the hubs!

Tuesday

AM: Another meeting filled day, including a lunch meeting so hit the spin bright and early for a 40 minute ride, followed by a Tone It Up Full Body Work Out.

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Fuel post-work out with all the greens. My current favorite is tropical greens

  • spinach
  • almond milk
  • chia seeds
  • dash of PB2 peanut butter
  • dash of Vega Protein Powder
  • handful of Trader Joes’ Tropical blend frozen fruit

I’ll post more recipes for blends soon!

It was also International Women’s Day! I loved seeing all the empowering posts on social media from so many different women in my life.

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“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” — Maya Angelou

PM: Power Yoga session at Enso Yoga. And a soak in the tub!

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Wednesday

AHHH….. SPRING IS HERE!

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Match game on point in new Oiselle threads. Wazelle Long Sleeve + KC Knickers (similar here

AM: Running brings to me life. I got to rock my new Oiselle FlyStyle for 6 morning miles with 3 at marathon pace! The most perfect temps to break in my knew KC Knickers. Followed it up by some strength training for the upper body. Because, gun show.

Post-run fuel included the new blueberry flavor from SO Delicious topped with KIND’s blueberry granola.

It’s spring break on campus, so some co-workers and I had a chance to dine al fresco for lunch! It was amazing, we went to House, a cute little spot that has the most amazing grilled cheese. Since it was so warm out we all opted for the half and half special — salad and sandwiches. I had the Winter Salad, not pictured, (spinach + figs + pecans); not pictured and the Southwestern Sandwich, pictured above, (panini w/ turkey + chedder + ranch + bacon + pico). If you are looking for a tasty lunch, I highly recommend.

PM: I was able to get back OUTSIDE for a quick mile warm-up and some kettle bell work to unwind from the day.

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First run in shorts in so long!!!

Then met some of my best girls for a late dinner at Firebirds — and I did a terrible job at documenting what I ate. 😦 #fail I guess it was because the company was just so great I was distracted from anything else. Because, girlfriends are the best friends.

Thursday

AM: Some days I wake up before the alarm because I’m just so excited to RUN. And this weather has me soooo in the mood to run all the miles! It was a perfect morning to log miles, the temperature allowed me to wear shorts and a tee and to rock my brand new Oiselle Heads Up Wings Out hat!!!

8 miles | 8:16 pace | 3 @MP

Spring I hope you are hear to stay!

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I’m in love with this hat!!!

Post Run fuel: Another round of SO Delicious + banana + KIND vanilla granola (I suppose I’m a creature of habit).

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It doesn’t get old. 

And to prove that I’m not always in running gear…

Sometimes I adult, well most days… Thanks to The Limited, it’s not Claire Underwood’s wardrobe, but it’s close!

PM: I was able to get out in the warm temps for a quick mile warm-up followed by my leg workout from hell… three weeks later and it’s not getting any easier… YET.

Followed by the most delicious and colorful salad! Perfect way to quench my thirst for greens this week!

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Spinach + Argula +Cucumbers + Carrots + Cherry Tomatoes + Avocado + Hemp seeds + Broccoli (Lemon + Oil for dressing) 

After an evening conference call, I was able to pop in for a quick mani (OPI “You Don’t Know Jacques.”) I gorgeous taupe color for spring!

I even made it to Zumba at Fuel House Fitness Studio (three weeks in a row with mama). And bonus, my girlfriend I had dinner with Wednesday as also there!

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Friday

The morning breeze and yesterday’s workouts pushed my crosstraining session to the afternoon…. unfortunately I had a to hit the bike to give the legs a rest to prep for a long run over the weekend, even tho temps were perfect for a run. I opted for 40 minutes of spin and back strengthening.

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Oiselle Aero Tights

I know my back is something I often forget to work out, but it’s vital to keep strength there as a distance runner, so I try to do it a few times a month. My workout includes: low rows, lat pull-downs, upward rows, and back extensions, with some core work thrown in there.

I came back to the office to a surprise of the BEST chips and pico with avocado dip I’ve had from 320 Market. HAPPY FRIYAY!!! TGIF!!!!

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Looking forward to kicking off my birthday celebrations tonight 🙂 Hope you have a fantastic weekend and get to enjoy the weather while it’s nice!

Friyay Faves.

1. All things Maybelline. I recently looked in my make-up bag and realized Maybelline was currently the dominate brand, lol. It could have something to do with my options for the Nude palette eye shadows they’ve launched. I have them all – the Nudes, Blush Nudes, and my most recent edition, Rock Nudes. Perfect set of dramatic shades.

 

2. BubblesPina Fraise. Y’all know I love my bubbles, now I can drink them more often, like during work hours thanks to La Croix.Have you tried this sparking water? If you haven’t I highly recommend. They have so many fun fruity flavors too, which is perfect as these spring temps roll in!

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3. Fresh Manicure. In preparation for my up coming birthday, I was able to squeeze in a mani, and while I typically opt for a dark purple shade (Lincoln Park After Dark/Devil’s Advocate), I decided to switch it up today with this taupe color – “You Don’t Know Jacques.” It may be the prettiest mani I’ve had in a while.

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4. Homemade Soft Serve. What?!?! I know, I know. I still need to make the ice cream bread, but we hit RECORD hit temps this week… and it has me thinking about all the cool treats. Have you ever tried making homemade soft serve… with a Kitchen Aid mixer?

This recipe looks easy enough; https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/soft-serve-ice-cream.

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5.14 Essential Outdoor Dining Spots in Philadelphia. This list was shared on a radio show this morning and it got me excited for all things to come this spring, including dining outside. If you are in the Philly area this list from Philly Eater is a MUST; http://philly.eater.com/maps/where-to-eat-and-drink-outdoors-in-philly. Cheers to the weekend!

Happy Friyay Ya’ll! 

 

Weekend Recap: Shamrock Edition

As I mentioned on Friday, last week was killer… and I couldn’t wait to curl up on Friday night and start the latest season of House of Cards. Who can resist the power couple of Frank and Claire? And I mean.. can I get her wardrobe?

Needless to say Friday included all the pizza and the beginning of Season 4.

To see the full trailer:

[Note we did not finish and still have a few more episodes to go. No spoilers please!]

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Just the motivation I needed to get out for a solo run in the park. I was feeling worn out so, I didn’t want to push to hard but ended up with 8 miles @ 8:10 pace to start the weekend!

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“There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.”

Those trees, their soul. I was glad I got outside!

And bonus it meant I could spend the afternoon with the hubs! We started with brunch at one of our favorite spots (Frankie’s) and then ventured to the mall for some spring shopping — it is spring break for those in college…. I mean, gotta have some fun!

His: (not pictured) Crab Cake Benedict, you heard that right… thing eggs Benedict, but switch the english muffin for Texas toast and the bacon for a crab cake with all the tater tots.

Hers: (pictured below) Banana’s Fosters Waffles, yes you heard that right. It was that or pumpkin cheesecake pancakes. Don’t get me wrong I’m a total egg lover, but sometimes when I’m out I like to splurge on something I wouldn’t make at home. These were perfect, with the right amount of flavor and not too sweet. Two small belgian style waffles topped with bananas flambeed in butter, a carmel syrup and pecans. All the yum!

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I did not need to add syrup. 

That afternoon we saw Zootopia, yes as grown adults. And it was the most fun I’ve had at the movies in awhile. I highly recommend! There are some GREAT adult references, even an ode to Walter and Jesse and the overarching theme is on racism; it’s so interesting and entertaining. The characters really take shape!

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That night I got roped into watching the UFC fights with the hubs… some big upsets if you follow it. Needless to say Sunday we slept in… and relaxed with the pup. For lunch we went big and opted for our annual indulgence of a Shamrock Shake.

I rarely eat fast food, but every March that green shake of goodness calls my name. Still not sure where those fries came from… umm…  I recently discovered some recipes to mimic the shake with spinach, and I’m very excited to try at home and find a healthier version that will quench my craving!

How was your weekend? Did you binge anything? Do you ever try doppleganger recipes at home? What’s your favorite?

Weekly Recap + Miles

Monday 

5 breezy, recovery miles at lunch. Had to fit my run in somewhere, but underestimated the strength of the wind.

It was a meeting filled day, so it was nice to get outside!

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Tuesday 

Morning miles in motion on the spin bike to start the day, plus some dynamic stretching.

Was able to get back to the gym at lunch for some strength training.

15 minute Warm-up
Leg workout: Ladder + deadlifts + jump squats + side plank, leg raised holds + tricep push-ups + squats, single leg squats + hamstring stretches and single-leg bridges on the stability aka my new hell.
Glide stretches

Needless to say, it was a day when I needed al the coffee. The vanilla, hazelnut latte from Einstein Bagel is my go-to on campus!

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Wednesday 

Another easy 5 miles with 3 at marathon pace followed by a full body work out from the Tone It Up girls!

Enjoyed running with my momentum bracelet!

Followed by all the flavors. I wasn’t eating to much diary for awhile, so this was a nice indulgent surprise! Oikos ‘Triple Zero’ Greek vanilla yogurt with Kind blueberry and vanilla granola and a banana!

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Thursday 

Made it to the gym for strong HIIT workout. Do you ever incorporate HIIT into your training? I used to do it a lot when I started running, and while I don’t do it as much I like to incorporate a few times a month. This cycle included am easy warm up followed by plyometrics and 400 meter sprints for 3 rounds.

[high knees + jump squats + wall sit + push-ups + lunge jumps + mountain climbers]

Be a Beauty, Train like a Beast.

Motivation to get to my upper-body strength training  as well. Worked a routine with triceps, biceps, and shoulders with some core thrown in there.

Needed some post-run fuel, which included this killer salad. Greens are always so refreshing to me after a workout, but I also crave protein so the chicken and hemp seeds were a great addition today.

I also recently discovered these new Chobani crunch packs, do to my rekindled love of yogurt this week, and they make a great late afternoon snacks for long days!

I even made it to another Zumba class… who though I’d go back after we discovered my lack of rhythm last week. I was a dancer all my life…. Running obviously changed me. Dose anyone else feel that way as miles increase?

Hilarious group shot:

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Friday 

Snow day! I’m ready for spring as much as everyone here on the East coast, but there is something beautifully serene about running in the snow. It’s so tranquil. Just me and the snow flakes for 5.5 easy paced (mostly due to the snow) miles with 3 miles at MP. I only had  a short chunk of time, but I felt like I could have ran forever!

Post-run I fueled up with some Special K Protein cereal and berries and bananas — I love getting my fruit fix in all day long! Had to get some carbs in me before heading to a Barre class at Barre Balanced. It’s always such a great workout and burner for the glute and hamstrings, which is what I’ve been focused on this past month!

 

Recovered with all things peanut butter to make up for missing my fix on national peanut butter day earlier this week. [half almond butter + jelly and half natural peanut butter, Nutella, and banana].

This quote couldn’t be more true. Peanut butter is my love language, and it holds my life together.

 

I don’t know about you, but this has been an exhausting week I’m ready to catch up on the new season of House of Cards and carb up for a run this weekend! Where are you logging miles? What’s your favorite show to binge?

 

Friyay Faves.

1. Momentum Bracelets #sharetheSPARK

The folks over at Momentum launched a campaign from now through march motivating others to #sharetheSPARK. The #sharetheSPARK campaign hits at the heart of Momentum – our goal is to inspire & motivate others, in their personal and athletic lives – to do more, be more, to support & celebrate more.

I know I already posted about this in a previous post, but it’s a really great campaign and it’s only $10 to send a bracelet to friend to give them that extra motivation!

2. Nike Pegasus

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Flash Women’s Running Shoe delivers highly responsive cushioning and lightweight support to help you find your fastest run. A reflective, water-repellent upper keeps you visible, dry and comfortable in dark, dreary conditions.

These are one of my favorite shoes. I don’t have the Flash yet, but I’ve been eyeing these up — as we prepare to turn clocks forward (and lose and hour) it will be great to have additional reflective gear in the mornings!

 

3. Ice Cream Bread

O.M.G. This has been scrolling across my newsfeed, and I finally stopped and watch this video. WOW — it looks incredibly easy. And I’m adding it to my list to things to make! How fun is this? And it only includes TWO ingredients (self-rising flour and of course, ice cream!)

Check it out, here.

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4. Oiselle “Heads Up Wings Out” Trucker Hat is now in stock!!! (Dreams do come true).

From Oiselle: “Our trucker hat is different. It’s a “low profile” style – with a better fit for discerning heads. That means a soft and open mesh, a cotton twill (no foam!)”

It also comes in a dark blue color (midnight) and light green (mineral). The perfect lightweight hat for the spring!

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Happy Friyay! What do you have in store for the weekend?

Run This Life: “Talking Body” Maintenance

I’m talking body today… As many of you know this past year (while has been amazing with races), I’ve struggled with a few injuries. From IT band issues to sciatica nerve pain, I’ve learned the importance of body maintenance this past year.

It’s definitely a work in progress, and not something I have perfected, but I am happy with the extra attention I’ve put in to maintenance. I know many runners face so many similar issues, so I thought I’d share some of the main things that have helped me!

Everyone’s body is different, so this is suggested tips. It’s most important to listen to your body — at all times. Your body knows what you need, so listen to it!

1. Stretching (and warming up)

I don’t think I understood the value of stretching before a run until I suffered from tendonitis a few years ago. After a round of PT, I learn some quick moves that I can do as part of my warm-up routine.

These include: a. standing quad stretch, b. hip opener stretch, c. hip stretch on the wall, and d. calf stretch

 

Warming up is also important before starting a run, especially a long run. Dynamic stretching is a beneficial because it builds up momentum from active stretching, as it propels muscle in an extended range of motion.

Some great dynamic stretches include: a. high knees, b. butt kicks, and c.leg swings.

2. Foam Rolling is a great form of self-myofascial release. I discovered the benefits of foam-rolling once I started taking marathon training more serious, and had several IT band issues.

Foam rolling can help rehab muscles: calves, IT band, piriformis, hamstrings, adductors, and your quads.

For some tips on “how-to” roll check out this Runner’s World article.

onarollmay200_13. Chiropractor 

Misalignment happens — and it happens to most people, especially runners for a number of reasons; the surfaces we run on, the wear of our shoes, and our 9-5 job. Our lifestyle outside of running causes a lot of internal rotation in our backs; think about it — sitting at the computer for hours, texting, etc. We often don’t spend enough time reworking the damage in the opposite direction. In order to open up the back! This is just one of the very many reasons to make a chiropractor a part of your monthly or weekly routine!

Chiropractor’s can help with a number of issues, some that aren’t running related, including headaches and even neck pain.

I started seeing my chiropractor during this roudn of injuries in 2015. It started with laser treatment on my IT band, and followed by regular adjustments. Sure, it was scary at first because really who wants someone that close to their neck. But I always feel 100x better after. And now after several other injuries… the chiropractor is often my first stop in getting back on track, especially as miles increase with marathon training.

4. Massage 

Yes, Please! Massages are amazing, whether you are a runner or not. I used to treat myself to a massage after all my major marathons. My masseuse would always tell me how much I needed more tone-ups, and should try to keep up with maintenance as much as I can.

So I did. Last year, my husband surprised me with a membership to Massage Envy. I was able to get monthly massages and bi-monthly 90 minute sports massages. Not only do massage improve circulation, but they also reduce muscle soreness. Active Release Therapy and Sports Massages add the component of stretching, as well which can be painful, but is always worth it — and I know it’s worth it. Regular massage can also help runners recover faster and therefore be a valuable training tool.

For more benefits of massages for runners, check out this Runner’s World article.

Click here for more information on memberships at Massage Envy.

5. Epsom Salt Baths (and ice baths!) 

Finally, something easy that you can do on your own. I try to take weekly epsom salt baths, typically the night before or after a long run. Fill the tub with warm to hot water and then add two cups of epsom salt, and a hint of lavender. You can also add some baking soda and apple cider vinegar for a more detoxifying steam.

Don’t forget your ice baths — especially post-run. I know it can be hard this time of year, but the cold can help reduce inflammation of the muscles! So bundle your upper body, and try to soak your legs in some cold water with some ice for 10 minutes after your longs runs this training cycle!