75 Marathons, 75 Days

Have you woken up the morning after a long race and thought, “wow good thing I don’t have to get up and do that all over again today, my legs are shot.”

Well, what if you did do it all over again? And then again?

What if you ran a marathon 75 days in a row?

That’s what Terry Hitchcock did. 75 marathons, 75 days in a row.

We’re all running a marathon one way or another. Whether it is staying afloat as a single, working parent, battling a disease or trying to conquer a fear, it all involves a fight. Join Fathom Events for an inspirational story about a man who ran 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days to raise awareness about the struggle of losing a loved one and becoming a single parent.

Dove Foundations says: “An astonishing documentary – it’s truly a story of endurance and faith.”

 

See what’s possible when physical endurance and the will of the human spirit unite in MY RUN in theaters March 31st- a nationwide, one-night only event.

Interviews with Terry Hitchcock and his son and support member Chris Hitchcock follow the feature movie, which is narrated by Billy Bob Thorton.

A portion of proceeds from the MY RUN Premiere event will benefit the Livestrong Foundation.

Find out more and buy tickets at Fathom Events.

 

Are you going to go see MY RUN? What inspirational running movies have you seen?

10 Things You Should Know Before Running Vibram FiveFingers

Today’s post is from the fabulous and gorgeous Teri. Ever wonder about running in Vibrams? Teri knows a thing or two about them and has agreed to share her experience with you. Enjoy!

Hi SoS readers! I’m Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit. I’m so happy to be visiting With a Side of Sneakers.

[I should probably tell you that I don’t have blonde hair right now. But that’s another story.]

Heather and I are both NC-ers but sadly, rarely see each other! However, we did have a blast hanging out in San Francisco last fall and at a bloggy Holiday Gift Exchange dinner last December.

Today I’ll be sharing my experience about running in Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs). I’ve been running for over 10 years; the first five years in Mizunos, the last five in Asics. And last July, I started running in VFFs. Today, I’m going to share some VFF secrets with you…

10 Things You Should Know Before Buying Vibram FiveFingers

10. You’ll get blisters. It could be a result of less-than-perfect form, treadmill running, no socks, or all of the above. You just have to find solutions. I’m still working on finding a solution since I have issues wearing the Injiji socks with my VFF (they don’t feel comfortable to me).

9. People will stop you constantly to ask about them. Do you like them? Do you run in them? Do you weight train in them? Can you solve world peace in them? etc.

8. You’ll need to start with very low mileage. Even if you are in marathon shape, your first run in your VFF should be less than a mile. You can read how I built up my mileage here.

7. They’ll get stinky. But you can just toss them in the washer on a gentle cycle and air dry them. Voila!

8. You’re calves will hurt like helllll for the first 2-4 weeks. They force you to change your running gait and you’ll be running more up on your forefoot, which really works the calf muscles. It will get better, but expect some major soreness and tightness. But, you’ll  soon have super-sexy calves!

7. You can run really long distances in them. Or maybe you can’t. Everyone will be different. I ran a half marathon in them but I know others who have major discomfort after just a few miles.

6. You’ll hate other shoes. When I wear regular shoes now (sneakers, heels, flats, boots, anything), I feel almost claustrophoic in them. I love the free and “connectedness” to the ground that VFFs give me.

5. Soreness is different than pain. You’ll know the difference. If your feet/calves/ankles feel achy, like they got a workout (which is kind of an odd feeling), you’re probably OK. If you feel sharp pain, discontinue using the VFF and see your doc. Some people have developed stress fractures from improper training in the VFF.

4. Your ankles and feet will be sore. You are running in a whole new way and forcing muscles to play that have been sidelined for a long time.

3. You’ll get an earful from non-believers. There are many skeptics out there that are convinced everyone needs really padded, structured shoes. And hey, some people probably do. But you are not everyone and you can decide what you want. You know how I deal with Vibram haters?  Them: “You know those are so bad for your joints and feet and you’re going to get hurt right?” Me: “Huh. Haven’t had problems myself.” I don’t get into it with them because sometimes, arguing just ain’t worth it with those that already know that they know. Ya know?

2. All your running injuries will disappear. FOR-EV-ER. Or not. Who knows? Everyone is different. For me, my IT band problems are gone. I had major IT issues for over 6 years and since switching to VFF, the problem has completely disappeared. I wouldn’t say that’s a result solely from running in VFF, but more an issue I had with form. And for me, running in VFFs helped me improve my running form to where my body could run more easily without that pain. But others may experience new injuries from switching.

1. Your experience will be different than mine. I have had incredible experience with VFF and have heard multiple other success stories. But I’ve also heard stories of woe and pain. Listen to your body. Read (with a grain of salt) others’ experiences. But ultimately, you’ll just have to see how it goes for you. But i hope it’s a good switch.

If you want to read more, check out these links on my blog:

Would you ever run in VFF?
What color would you want?
I love my hot pink ones. They definitely get noticed!

*Remember, I’m not a doctor or running coach, but am just sharing my experiences. Please check with your own health professional before making changes to your exercise routine and always consult a professional for injury diagnosis and treatment!

4 Speedy Steps to Faster Running

I may not be doing much any running right now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about it, right?

{In case you don’t know, I’m sidelined with a running injury– my IT band revolted against me. I might have possibly mentioned it once or twice or a billion times.}

speedwork

One of the things I’ve been working on is shortening my stride when I run. Apparently a long stride can stretch your IT band and aggravate it, causing it to rub in all the wrong places.

Intentionally running with a shorter stride feels wrong and unnatural. Part of the joy of running is being able to let go and just let your legs do what they want. But since I can currently run a grand total of 50 seconds before the knee pain kicks in and stops me in my tracks, I’m willing to try anything.

But shortening your stride has an upside– injury or not.

Did you know the fastest runners have the shortest strides? Sounds backwards. But it’s because a shorter stride allows for a faster cadence.

Cadence is the number of time your feet hit the ground in a certain time period. Elite runners keep a cadence of 85-95, regardless of how far they’re running.

running speed

How to Speed Up Your Running

1. Count your steps. How many times does your right foot {or left} hit the ground in one minute? {You might want to hit the treadmill for this one.} You can also count how many times one foot hits in 15 seconds and multiply it by four.

2. Don’t overstride. Keep your steps short. Shortening your stride helps keep you on top of your feet, which helps you hit mid-foot {instead of heel-striking} and keeps your momentum going forward.

3. Keep your feet close to the ground. It should almost feel like you’re shuffling- your feet barely leave the ground.

4. Practice. If you don’t naturally run with a high cadence, it’s going to feel strange. During each run, spend a little bit of time counting your foot strikes- try to achieve a cadence of 85-95.

Ironically, running with a high cadence shouldn’t be as tiring as running with a low cadence. I’m still working on that one…..

running

What do you do to speed up your running? Do you incorporate running drills into your workouts?

Running for Health

Today’s post is from Katie at Catch Me if You Can. I love Katie’s story about getting starting with running and navigating injury. Her story reminds us that everyone comes at life and all it’s obstacles and triumphs from a different perspective.

Catch me if you can

My running career began innocently enough as a way to stay thin in college.  I began at one mile {ouch those were painful miles} then progressed to a consistent 3-4 miles, with maybe 6-7 on the weekends. I was so proud of myself– I had never worked out, played a sport or done anything remotely athletic one day in my life.

This is when tragedy struck.  As the rest of my life went into a downward spiral, so did my running.  My knee began to swell up.  I thought it was no big deal because hey I’m running a lot and everyone knows it shouldn’t be easy.  Famous last words!

It progressed to the point where hitting the accelerator on my car hurt.  I finally had to admit defeat and began to utilize the elliptical to maintain my weight loss.  Here’s the thing that I wish I had know: I never needed to lose weight to begin with.  I finally had to accept that disordered eating had once again reared its ugly head in my life.

I moved back home and had to take 4 months off to heal my knee.  I gained 15 pounds that I desperately needed to gain and began to take care of myself.  I kept saying on days I didn’t want to eat enough that if I didn’t then I couldn’t go run.  Running became my incentive for staying healthy. I finally finished that half marathon with back pain and knee pain.  I went to the family physical therapist where I was outfitted with orthotics and different shoes.  I was finally on the road to recovery.

I have since completed numerous half-marathons, and finished my first marathon!  I have even began to place at some of the local 5ks.  I have learned a lot from my injuries.  This knee injury was not the only injury.  My injuries all seemed to hit when I stopped eating or taking care of myself. While running is a great weight loss tool don’t forget you have to fuel up to run those miles!


So what advice do I have for beginning runners and the injured?

1) Get fitted for good shoes and/or orthotics. Those insoles in your running shoes are NOT supportive.  If you need a stability shoe {I wear the Brooks Adrenaline} then you probably need orthotics too.  A medicine supply store is a great place to get outfitted for them.

running store shoes

2) Get connected with the running community. I wish someone had told me I was adding miles on much too quickly for my body.  I wish someone had told me about good fitting shoes, clothing and to always listen to your body.

3) Listen to your body. When it hurts STOP and evaluate what exactly might be wrong.  I am still bad about this, but am working on listening to my body.

4) EAT. Yes, I am giving you a free pass to eat.  This doesn’t mean eat your weight in chocolate and peanut butter, but eat good clean foods.  This does not need to be a vegetarian diet by any means, but a diet rich in nutrients.  In order to best run, you need to fuel your body.

eat

My running has come a long way.  From a way to merely lose weight to a passion that is like a phantom limb when it is not there.  I have made more friends through running then I originally thought possible and have learned so much about my body.  It has helped me get my health back as well which my friends and family are forever grateful for.  So if you are thinking of starting running please do!  Just remember to do it for you and not weight loss.

Injuries are inevitable, but knowledge is power.  Know your body and what it needs so you will be back running in no time. You won’t love running at first {it is hard after all!}, but I hope you learn to love it!

Can you relate to Katie’s story? How has running or another activity influenced your life?

Overcoming Injury: A Guest Post

Today’s post is from Katie at Live for the Long Run. Katie learned about injuries the hard way- and early on. Here’s her story:

I learned the hard way that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

I started running in August of 2009. I quickly fell in love with the release it provided me as well as the magnificent things it was doing for my health. All of these positive side effects made me push harder. There was just one problem: I had no idea what I was doing.

My ignorance and overzealousness caught up with me.

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After running for three months with a pain in my left leg, I finally visited a sports medicine doctor in December of 2009 when I started feeling the pain all of the time. I explained my symptoms to him. He listened. He nodded. He rang a tuning fork and held it up against the spot that I was complaining about pain. I jumped off the table. He diagnosed me with a stress fracture.

He pulled his chair up to the table I was sitting on and wrote out his treatment plan for me on the paper liner covering the table. The original treatment plan included:

1. No more running. Nada. Zip. Zero. (Water running and spinning were still okay).

2. Physical therapy three times a week.

3. Active release therapy (ART) three times a week.

4. Start taking calcium and vitamin D on top of my multivitamin.

I didn’t listen. I had made so much progress with running, I decided I could just back down on my mileage and that would be enough. I didn’t want to start gaining weight back/losing the fitness level I had worked so hard to get.

A month later, I went back to my sports med. doc for a reassessment. He took one look at the x-ray and shook his head.

The stress fracture had gotten significantly worse. My secret treatment plan was no longer a secret. Water running and spinning was out.

clip_image004

This sexy looking boot was in. For two whole months.

I continued with physical therapy. No ART until the bone healed. I listened this time and wore the boot all the time.

At first, I scoffed at the physical therapy exercises. Moving a towel with my foot? Scrunching a towel up using my toe? Seriously?

Then my physical therapist retook my measurements. My range of movement was significantly better. I don’t know if it was the rest that my leg was getting thanks to the boot or the seemingly mundane exercises using high-tech equipment like towels, but something was working.

I struggled when I stopped feeling pain all the time in my leg. I decided that since I wasn’t in pain anymore, I must be healed. I wanted to take off the boot and go for a run. Physical therapy was not enough exercise for me. Constant preachings from my physical therapist, Dan, was the only reason I continued to wear the boot. Finally he told me that if I didn’t listen, I’d probably never run again.

After that, I threw everything I had into my physical therapy. After two months of PT, I started ART and ditched the boot. ART was the best pain I have ever felt.

I went back to the doctor after a month of ART. He looked at my x-ray. He pulled his chair over to the table and started writing on the paper table liner again.

This time was writing out a training schedule for getting back into running safely. I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.

I listened to every word he said. I took it slow. I hit the mileage that my doc prescribed every week, never exceeding it. Every time I wanted to push, I heard Dan’s voice in the back of my head telling me that I might never run again. I still hear Dan’s voice to this day (creepy, I know).

In some ways, dealing with such a serious injury so early in my running career was a good thing. The consequences of overtraining are very real. It’s not something that could happen to someone else, but never to me. I am human. When something hurts, I head back to my sports med doc’s office. I constantly remind myself that running through pain today might mean that I can’t run tomorrow.

I want to running twenty, thirty, maybe even fifty years from now.

I’ve got time.

Why rush through the healing process now?

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Have a story about overcoming injury or starting to run? Email me: rungirlrunn at gmail dot com.

How to Be a Better Runner Without Taking a Single Step

If you’re like me, you think the fitness world has come to an end if you can’t run. Silly. Ridiculous. Nonsense you say.

Well of course that’s nonsense, but try telling that to someone who uses running as more than just exercise…it’s therapy. You can bike and swim and elliptical all you want, but it doesn’t give you the same mental release or emotional freedom that running does.

The hardest part about returning from an injury is not being able to go out and pick up where you left off. You can’t always run through an injury, but there are some things you can do to keep you ready to hit the pavement when you’re all healed:

Yoga

Balance is essential for running. The act of running involves switching your entire weight from one foot to the other over and over again. Add in a couple potholes, a tree root, or a piece of debris in the road, and you’ll be relying on your sense of balance more than you know.

Having good balance helps you run smoother and more evenly, saving you precious energy for later in your run.

yoga poise

Pilates

Your core is the center for your running. A strong core holds the rest of your body in proper alignment, which helps prevent injury and helps give you a more powerful stride. Any ab workout will help, but make sure you focus on the entire core, and not just the lower abdominals.

BodyPump

(Or other strength training.)

While a strong core is essential, a strong upper and lower body is important too. Sure, running works the muscles in your legs, but it doesn’t target every single muscle- it tends to focus on the big ones. Actively targeting all the muscles in the legs will help improve your stride, prevent fatigue, and my favorite, help prevent injury.

A strong upper body may seem unhelpful when it comes to running, but it’s just the opposite. Strong arms and shoulders help you keep good form when running. Plus, it’s one less set of muscles that can get tired during your run.

women weight training

Stretching

Not many people like to stretch. If you’re not naturally flexible, it can be pretty uncomfortable. Activities like yoga and ballet can make it more fun, but sometimes you just have to do it on your own.

Not only does improved flexibility keep you from being sore after a run,  it increases your range of motion, which can make you faster or more efficient. Stretching also increases blood flow, which helps you recover faster.

runner stretching

What do you do to improve your running, not including running?