This was a lower mileage week, to refresh myself in anticipation of a heavy race schedule for the next few weeks. In fact, I'm going to be low mileage for quite a few weeks to come, and probably skipping most of the weekday track workouts after this week, since I'll be racing back-to-back weekends. It does feel a bit odd to have the extra free time from running. On the other hand, work continues to remain quite hectic, so it balances out.
The subject of time, free or otherwise, leads to the subject of time management. And then the question I sometimes get of "how do you fit in all this stuff? The running and the swimming and the foam rolling and the weight training?"
- I play the game on easy mode. I have no children. That's an extra hour or two of time a day right there. I also telecommute full time, working from a home office. Since I don't have to get myself to work, and I also don't have to get dressed up for work (my computer webcam is taped over), that's another hour+ in each day right there.
- I negotiated at work to have my business day start at 10 am (generally I work until somewhere between 6 and 8 pm in the evening). That late start gives me a chance to run errands around 8 or 9 am in the morning on a weekday, when grocery stores and pharmacies and dry cleaners are absolutely empty. More saved time. It's great, if you have the seniority at work to swing it.
- Through serendipity (my partner bought our house long before he and I met), I live literally a 2 minute walk from the track and the pool. This is another huge time saver.
- I also frequently combine runs with other things. I'll run to and from yoga, or the gym. Or I'll run to the grocery store, pick up stuff, and then take public transportation home.
- A lot of my injury prevention work really doesn't take that long. Foam rolling is 10 minutes or less, generally. And I rarely spend more than 30 minutes at the gym (often closer to 20).
When I'm at the gym, I minimize my time spent by rotating exercises for more efficiency - I'll do a set of pull-ups, and then do planks and eccentric calf dips while my biceps are recovering, rather than just standing around resting. Two or three rotations through those exercises, and then I'll move to another area, and go back and forth between chest presses and single leg deadlifts, or something similar. Basically, I do an upper body exercise, then a core exercise and/or a lower leg injury prevention exercise, and repeat 2-3 times.
To be clear - I don't think this is the optimal way to train for strength in the gym - but I don't really care that much about being stronger. My focus is more on maintaining the strength I have, preserving my bone density, and protecting against running injury.
- Finally (and this what nobody wants to hear) I do make it a priority. To me - foam rolling is in the same category of brushing my teeth and showering - if I have enough energy and time to do one, I have enough energy and time to do the other.
From time to time, I hear people say that they don't have time to foam roll or do core exercises. However, they do have time to get a pedicure or a facial or go to happy hour. If that's the case - it's not that you don't have time to foam roll or do planks, but that you prioritize the other things.
I'm not criticizing the priorities, but rather the failure to own the choice. It's absolutely fine to choose to spend your time differently - but acknowledge that you've made that choice. Don't use language that implies it wasn't a choice.
(I do the same thing myself by the way - I have to continually remind myself that if I really wanted to get a pedicure or similar, I'd find the time. The truth is that I've chosen to be slovenly, but to have a strong core and active glutes and a lack of muscular trigger points. And I do try to own that).
In other news I attended a yoga teacher training on Saturday, even though I'm not a yoga teacher and have no ambition to be one. This specific training series focuses on yoga as a therapeutic modality for chronic injuries, with the particular session I attended focusing on the pelvis and SI joints, where many of my problems originate.
I learned a LOT of really helpful stuff in 4 hours - too much to cover here. But one thing that really stood out was her method for relieving trigger points at the bottom of the pelvis - the deepest part of the groin where your inner thigh muscles (adductors) and some of your hip rotators (obdurator) tie in. It's a really delicate area - one that you can't really ask your massage therapist to work on - it's just too awkward.
In a nutshell, to relieve those areas, take a thin yoga mat, and roll it up as tightly as you can. Then lay the rolled up mat lengthwise (north to south) and sit on top of it, so your crotch straddles the rolled up mat, with the mat protruding both in front of you and behind you. Then assume butterfly pose and rock slightly forward. The rolled up mat will press on the trigger points of those muscles, right below where they attach to the bones of the pelvis.
This exercise is extremely uncomfortable if you've got trigger points in those muscles. But I was shocked by how much better my legs and my gait felt on Sunday morning, after doing that release on Saturday afternoon. Perhaps it was just the perfect weather. But I think finally relieving those trigger points had something to do with it as well, and I'm going to add that technique into my foam rolling routine.