three things thursday

1. My cranky shins started barking extra loudly earlier this week after a double-digit double-run day, so I went to see my "strength is important and oh this is actually going to really hurt" PT for some relief.  My left shin/calf was aching every time I put weight on that leg, my IT band/hip was sending zip zaps of pain all over the place and my knee kept buckling inwards for some reason.  His diagnosis is that none of it is anything too serious, but it's all related and slowly crawling upwards from my foot.  My shin crankiness has been around for a while, and is largely from my body adjusting to the changes that happened to my gait once my glutes started firing last summer.  In the past 2-3 weeks, I've run a higher volume of weekly miles than I probably ever have in my life, so that contributed, and I'm in a peak week of training right now, where the name of the game is loading up the training stress.  I also started wearing a pair of extra-comfy new pink shoes about six weeks ago without taking the time to transition into them correctly slowly.  Add all those pieces together and I've got a stack of angry body parts.  So he Graston'd my shins, my adductors, my IT band and my hamstring, did some ART on my hip flexors, realigned my sacrum and sent me packing with a prescription for ice, stretching, and less Newton-running for a little while so everything can just calm down.  This morning I feel like someone beat the shit out of me, which is usually a good sign.  I've got four more hard days of hard training to get through and then I can sit on the couch for an entire day and call it rest.  

2. I've always kind of poo-poo'd the idea of getting a regular massage - mostly because I'm usually in and out of PT so often that I don't need anything extra.  But before yesterday, it had been almost six weeks since anyone had smashed my bits.  I've started to consider the idea of getting a massage done, maybe monthly or even bi-weekly if I can afford it, going forward into IM training.  I've collected a handful of recommendations of people who will pound the living crap out of me, and I'm hoping that starting in March this can fit in the budget.  I'm curious to hear from you guys - do you get regular massages as part of your training?  Where in the cycle do you get a massage and what magic does it do for you?

3. All of that said, it's confession time.  For the past two months, I've done a really crappy job of stretching, sticking, icing, foam rolling, or really doing anything except fluttering my eyelashes at the poet and asking him to rub the knots out of my back.  I KNOW.  For some reason I decided that I would just wear compression socks all the time and eat more spinach and that was all I needed.  Sadly, this is very obviously not the case (see items #1 and #2), so I'll be trying to make friends with my foam roller on a daily basis instead of just chasing Molly around with it (she barks her brains out, it's hilarious).  I know most people say to just do it at night while you watch TV, but I don't ever watch TV and I pretty much go straight from the dinner table to bed.  I know you're jealous of my incredibly exciting life.  I also probably need to finally invest in a decent desk chair since I've been working from home for almost three years yet am still sitting on an old kitchen chair that I inherited from my uncle in 2002, which can't be helping my cranky sacrum at all.  But does anyone honestly ever remember to foam roll every day?  I'm going to try and roll, stick, and do some light stretching at least once a day.  We'll see what happens, I'll probably either pull a muscle or poke my eye out with the stick and that, dear blog friends, will be the end of that.  


  1. Foam roll, schmoam roll. I hate that thing and would rather take a chainsaw to it than use it. I can't tell you the last time I foam rolled. I go to my chiro for ART, etc every two weeks and I do yoga. That's good enough for me.

    I do need to step up the massage deal as well and typically I go 1 week before a race and since I end up racing 1x every month that would put me on a monthly schedule. I know it makes my muscles loose but more than that it is a piece of mind, a zen state.....just like yoga that I think is what is most beneficial for me.

  2. I've never had a massage so I have no advice.
    I foam rolled occasionally during marathon training when my legs were extra sore/tight but I haven't really used it since.

  3. Hehe, "smash your bits."

    Stretching every day I can do, but foam rolling every day is crazy! Just do it as often as you can. And definitely get someone to smash your bits.

  4. I'm not as good at the maintenance stuff as I should be. But, Josef has it worked into our lifting programs so I'm guaranteed at least 2x a week of focused time for it.

    I would like to see Abe take on the foam roller though. Maybe I'll chase him around the house with it tonight.

  5. While I am not as religious as I should be w/ the foam roller, when I DO use it, it works wonders. For real. Sadly, I think most of us are only good w/ maintenance when we're broken, and forced to be.

    Massage - if it were in the budget, I would do it 1-2x a month. It's way better than foam rolling, and s/he will inflict WAY more pain on you than you will w/ your foam roller.

    With an IM looming, I would set-up that lemonade stand you've always dreamed of, and save your pennies for massage.

  6. I foam roll almost every day, because my gym membership is way cheaper than weekly visits to my ART guy, and if I don't roll out my quads and IT bands a lot I kinda can't walk. That's my motivation. Find yours, even if it involves something like "foam rolling five days a week = ice cream on Saturday night."

  7. I got a deep tissue massage every 2 weeks in the last 12 weeks leading up to Placid. I kept me from falling apart.

    Foam rolling: After every run I always stretch. After every run an hour or longer I always add the foam roller. I find it makes a difference.

  8. Lunar Massage has a membership program where your 7th massage is free. And they have a variety of options, so sometimes I just go in for a half an hour on whatever hurts.

  9. Because I'm an self-appointed expert on strength training and injury prevention and sports nutrition, I'm going to write you a novel on what you should do. You're welcome.

  10. I foam roll as very often as possible and it makes an enormous difference - even if for only a few mins a day. I have the Trigger Point Grid and I LOVE it (and the pain it inflicts). Stick is great too in a pinch, but it doesn't do nearly the job that the foam roller does. During IM training, I try to get a deep tissue massage by a sports massage therapist once a month at minimum, more if I can afford it though not within 2 weeks of a race. I know it seems a little floofy, but a deep tissue massage is not about relaxation, massage oil and Enya. The point is not to loosen muscles, it’s to break up adhesions and scar tissue that build up in your muscles, it friggin hurts bad, much like the Graston’ing done by your PT, and takes time to recover from that as well, so you don’t want to be doing that too close to a race. I also make regular visits to the chiropractor…damn, this sport is expensive…! I wish wish wish I could take my PT, chiro and massage therapist with me everywhere!

    I also love my Newtons and have for years now...but you have to be so so careful with them. As much as I wish I could, I've found I just can't do long distance in them. Shorter runs and easing in to them is key.

    PS - I absolutely LOVE reading your blog.

  11. I foam roll like a freaking fiend. Twice a day. Clockwork. It doesn't even remotely hurt anymore. Just do it!
    Now massage I totally neglect. I know I need it, I just never get in for one. Boo.

  12. I stare at my foam roller pretty frequently and talk about using it, but that'a about it. I should use is more and I know it benefits me, but I like the instant gratification of sitting on the couch and not moving.

    Have you ever tried KT Tape on your shins? I have found it to be amazing.

  13. I'm pretty lazy with rolling and stretching lately but nothing really hurts so...Hope you find some muscle love <3 If you can swing a weekly massage, GO FOR IT!

  14. I don't even know where my foam roller is. I hid it from my 6 year old because he was using it as a battering ram and now I can't remember where I put it. Getting old sucks. LOL

  15. I might be in love with my massage therapist (shhh, don’t tell my husband). She can do no wrong in my books. Leading up to a big event, I try to get a massage once a month - more (as needed) if I'm working on an injury. I suck at foam rolling though.

    An interesting article about massage and muscle healing:

    Also, have you ever tried chasing the dogs with one of those big exercise balls? Absolutely hilarious!

  16. i 100% believe in the benefits of massage. i have seen it help me especially two weeks before a race. i get deep tissue and it kicks my ass the next day but then the day after - viola! i'm soooo relaxed.

    on the flip side of this coin, i've decided never to foam roll again. i think it does the opposite of helping me. i think it pissed my IT bands off before Miami and MCM. no more foam rolling for me.

    for some reason i love an eyelash fluttering katie. it's a side we don't hear about to often. rawr!

  17. Ah, the days of non-firing glutes. Good thing you've moved beyond that.

    I also need to get myself on a regular foam rolling schedule. It's just so easy to be lazy until everything falls apart.

  18. I keep meaning to foam roll too. My IT band is a little cranky. But, it sure is easy to forget.

    Also, the absolute best thing you can do for your body and overall health (really! is to arrange a desk where you can stand up and work. Hubz finally did it after much nagging and his piriformis is 90% better.

    Anyway, hope all your parts settle down soon.

    1. Oh, and I get a massage about once a month, usually after a big long run or race. I think it just keeps things that always get tight from compromising my gait and causing other problems.

  19. I've been terrible at stretching lately and foam rolling. Mostly out of pure laziness.
    Oh and definitely get regular massages if you can! They make a world of difference.

  20. I am too tense to get massages. Think about that one for a second. Yeah. I tighten up when they tell me to relax, and then I fight against all the good work they're trying to do. So yeah, I don't get massages. I wish I *could*, and maybe I could find the right person who would work with me, but that seems like a costly endeavor.

    I hope your body is beaten into submission soon. I mean...

  21. I've gotten so lazy about stretching and foam rolling. And I haven't been to yoga in ages; that used to stretch me out pretty good. Hmm, typing this makes me think I should o better!
    But I DO get regular massages and I LOVE my MT. (sadly, that does not help you any) He stretches me out like I can't and knows me well enough to know what I need work on. LOVE massage!

  22. Regular massages - every 4-6 weeks as my budget allows during training. If you can fit it in your budget - do it. It's not just a luxury.

    Hope you are feeling good after the graston and art beating. I go to my doc every two weeks for maintenance.

    With the high volume you will need more recovery maintenance - as you are figuring out. It's an extra few hours a week to schedule in but it will keep you happy :)

  23. I am a big believer in massage. I signed up with Massage Envy after I found a miracle worker there. I go every 3-4 weeks and have her do whatever will make that day's/week's body feel good. Sometimes it's really deep work (that hurts like sin) and sometimes it's long, relaxing strokes. Even as an unemployed person, I viewed massage as a necessity and not a luxury. I never regretted that decision.

    I got my husband (a fellow triathlete and IM wannabe) on the bandwagon and he's gone once a week for the last month because it's so rewarding.

    The foam roller keeps the kinks worked out in the meantime. I love to hate my foam roller. :-)

  24. Thank you so much for the offer to run, I would love to take you up on it. I have a feeling that your slow and my slow might be a tad different though. Liz and I decided that spending $40 was to plod through a 5k was the best way to spend our Sunday morning and you are welcome to join us.

  25. LOL, You are not alone! I have all of those things too and never use them. I can stay up at least 90 minutes after dinner.... So that's why there is no reality show about your life!

  26. Yes, get a better desk chair. I worked from home for two months and noticed it was starting to become a problem. Glad you are going to start paying attention to stretching and rolling!


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