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Fitter and Faster

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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  Mark B on Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:29 pm

Penelope wrote:Mark and Nancy, thanks for stopping in! 
My running will be kinda boring for the next many months.  I'm hoping to make a spreadsheet like Mark did with my paces at these low heart rates--and hopefully some noteworthy improvements in the next year.  Today I did another 30 min LHR on the treadmill.  My plan is to do 10 runs at 30 min, and then 10 more (2 weeks' worth) at 35, etc.  While that is an extremely slow progression compared to what I've always done in the past, keeping the miles on the treadmill low is advantageous for me since it's bothering my shins, and fewer miles is easier for weight loss for me.

I've been stretching my calves / soleus muscles as instructed and I'll be damned if they are not even more tight than ever now.  I don't normally feel (as in notice) my lower legs but since I've been stretching them, I'm noticing that they feel tight all the time.  Some sort of weird paradoxical reaction? Last night I caved and got them massaged. The masseuse said they were really really tight.  She got them to loosen up some but I think they tightened up again.  She suggested epsom salt, which I used last night in hot water.  Today they don't feel much different.  It's like I need a massage every hour to keep them loose. I do have a foam roller, which is pretty painful, so I guess that should help too.

I decided to create an indoor / outdoor running criteria to not over-use the treadmill.  My 4 criteria to run inside are: 1) dark outside 2) below freezing outside 3) raining or insane winds  4)lots of ice on the ground.  In order to use the treadmill, I should satisfy 2 of the 4 criteria. Because, otherwise, I don't like running in the dark and the cold, and I dislike the cold in general, and it's very easy to just keep making excuses to run on the treadmill and watch TV, even when I could/ should run outside.  On days when I'm home early or off, I should try to run during daylight rather than waiting until dark and then using the treadmill.

Good plan, and I don't think there's anything boring about low HR training. It's great fun watching the improvement as it happens. So post away!

Regarding your calves. One stretch you may not have tried is the squat. It's a very natural position for the body that most people don't do very often (with the advent of chairs and pedestal toilets), and it is a great way to work on balance while giving your legs a great stretch from the gluteus maximus down to your ankles and feet. It's the only stretch I do now.

Here's a link that provides instruction:  How to Squat. Click "1b Squatting" to see some videos.

Good criteria for making sure you get out when you can and not hammer away on the 'mill.
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  Penelope on Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:16 am

Thanks Ounce and Mark!  Shins are better after running outside recently, although today I ran on the treadmill and probably will tomorrow, too.  After that I'm going to Florida and South Carolina to visit my parents and a friend, and will only be running outside for the next 10 days.
I'm seeing the PT tomorrow for the first time.  Tonight I soaked in epsom salt.  I'll have to try the squats, although I have a vague memory of being told not to do them by one of the podiatrists….did I dream that? it's very vague / distant memory that it may make things worse for me, but now I really can't remember.
I'm not sure voltaren gel is doing much of anything, but I love Icy-Hot balm! I now take it with me to work.  All my shoes are heels other than running shoes….so work makes my shins / calves hurt more.

Some observations about low heart rate training:
1) it's hard if you're mad.  I had a really angering situation a couple weeks back, and it seemed like every time I thought of it while running, I'd get mad, and the heart rate would shoot up.  In 30 minutes, other than the times I was really sick, it was the shortest distance because I had to keep lowering the pace every time I thought of it.
2) this is so easy, I'm less worried about taking days off now. I finish my workouts and I do feel like I could just repeat the whole thing again. I do plan to take some days off, but when I visit my parents we usually run every day, and I feel like I can without any issues.
3) this is so easy, I can not wash my hair after, sometimes not even shower, after a run.  A little extra deodorant and some perfume and a face wipe, and I've gone out in public after.  Even makeup stays intact.  Normally, once I run, it's all over, so this is actually a huge time-saver! Especially for me--I hate showering, hate having wet hair, hate putting on makeup.
4) I also don't need to worry about doing a run in the evening on one night and then in the morning the next, which was something I used to try to avoid out of fear that they're too close together
5) my electric bill has been higher than usual for the winter months.  I wonder if the treadmill eats a ton of electricity.  Remind myself to make sure it's off as soon as I'm off it.
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:12 am

Interesting observations, Kathy!   Not so sure about the electricity thing as my electric bill doesn't change too much in the winter, but my gas bill does because of the heat and more cooking.  Maybe its electric heat or hot water heater that is eating things up.  As for the Voltaren - I'm a fan, but it doesn't seem to work all the time and only on specific areas.  Never had much success with it on my calves - maybe the muscles are too big? dense?  However, it has worked well on my lower back in the past.


Last edited by Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  nkrichards on Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:01 pm

Enjoy your trip and the chance to run outside daily!
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  Julie on Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:16 pm

How was the  PT?

I unplug the TM when it's not in use since it will use electricity just being plugged in.
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  Tom H on Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:20 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote: As for the Voltaren - I'm a fan, but it doesn't seem to work all the time and only on specific areas.  Never had much success with it on my calves - maybe the muscles are too big? dense?  However, it has worked well on my lower back in the past.
I find that Voltaren, at least for me, works on areas that have the inflammation close to the surface, but not so much for deeper issues.  Great on feet issues.  I've just started using a Thermacare adhesive backed pad that provides actual warmth to the affected area to see if that works better, but it is too early to tell.
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  Penelope on Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:10 am

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Interesting observations, Kathy!   Not so sure about the electricity thing as my electric bill doesn't change too much in the winter, but my gas bill does because of the heat and more cooking.  Maybe its electric heat or hot water heater that is eating things up.  As for the Voltaren - I'm a fan, but it doesn't seem to work all the time and only on specific areas.  Never had much success with it on my calves - maybe the muscles are too big? dense?  However, it has worked well on my lower back in the past.
Hmm…maybe it is the water heater.  My heat is radiator heat.  I left the voltaren in Chicago right now but I'm going to keep using it.  If it is having any effect its subtle, but it's not hurting me.
nkrichards wrote:Enjoy your trip and the chance to run outside daily!
Thanks Nancy! The weather down here is beautiful!
Julie wrote:How was the  PT?

I unplug the TM when it's not in use since it will use electricity just being plugged in.
Hmm…it didn't occur to me to unplug the TM.  I've turned it off but maybe I'll start unplugging it.  PT was great, I'll write more about it below.
Tom H wrote:
Michele \"1L" Keane wrote: As for the Voltaren - I'm a fan, but it doesn't seem to work all the time and only on specific areas.  Never had much success with it on my calves - maybe the muscles are too big? dense?  However, it has worked well on my lower back in the past.
I find that Voltaren, at least for me, works on areas that have the inflammation close to the surface, but not so much for deeper issues.  Great on feet issues.  I've just started using a Thermacare adhesive backed pad that provides actual warmth to the affected area to see if that works better, but it is too early to tell.
My shin pain seems pretty superficial….what really helps me a lot (even though it's a bandaid and not a solution) is Icy-Hot balm.  LOVE that stuff.  One of the podiatrists I saw recommended mixing Voltaren with the Icy-Hot.  I tried it but it was really sticky / gummy.

I went to my first PT appt on Wednesday.  My calves are tight of course, but she found that my whole lower body is weak.  (We didn't look at my upper torso / arms but I'm sure she'd have discovered weakness there too.) No one is able to give me a real answer as to why my pain is only on the treadmill, but speculations are that my stride / biomechanics are different, and / or that because "everything" is weak, all the forces are going to my shins (not sure if I buy that one), and that my arches flatten when I step/run and that pulls on the posterior tib muscle and causes strain.  So I've been assigned to stretch my hamstrings, piriformis, and do exercises for my quad and glute medius muscles.  The stretches and exercises she gave me are all things I've been meaning to do regularly anyway but just never prioritized or made the time to do.  Funny how when someone else tells me to do it, I will.

I shared on Facebook that I'm moving to Denver in June.  The job I have right now in Chicago was always intended to be temporary…I don't want to say too much about work on the internet that's not positive.  That's why I have this Penelope name too.  Suffice to say that at least professionally, I have not been happy at all, and feel that my talents will be better used elsewhere.  You get the idea.  I accepted the job knowing that I had another goal of applying for fellowship in gastroenterology/hepatology with the goal of transplant hep.  Which is taking care of patients with end-stage liver disease before transplant and then after transplant.  They're a really really sick population and many don't live, but I find a lot of meaning / joy in taking care of them (in the limited times I have gotten to.)  GI is ridiculously competitive and 35% of the applicants don't match anywhere.  So I had some fears but I pushed through and went through the application process, and was thrilled that I not only matched at all, but that I got my top choice.  I'm really excited to move.  The only non-professional concern I have is that this low-heart rate running deal is going to be very hard at altitude.  I've been to Denver / Boulder several times and I run like 13 minute miles when I run 10 minute miles at the same effort at sea level.  The last time I went I had a hard time adjusting--I kept drinking water and peeing and drinking water and I still felt parched and like I was hung over.  And sleepy, like in a plane.  So I hope the transition will be okay.  I am really excited that other than being on call periodically, I will have every weekend free and a more normal life / schedule.

Off to bike and run!
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  Julie on Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:07 pm

Congrats on the new position! I bet you will acclimate to Denver after a week or so.  I hope you enjoy it much more, I know you're in a tough field and I'm really happy you can try something new.

Yes, anything with a light display or about anything will leech electricity just by being plugged in. I leave my mixer and blender and all of that unplugged when not in use. I'm a bit of a money-saving nerd.  Very Happy
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Re: Fitter and Faster

Post  nkrichards on Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:35 pm

Congrats...my guess is the move will be beneficial to both your running and your career. It may take some time to adapt but once you do you'll feel like you can fly at lower elevations. Very Happy

They say TV's and DVR's are huge power hogs even when turned off...
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