I ran an awesome 10k for me at the beginning of April after a very long training cycle that started a few months after Elise was born. I had run hard for a long time and was starting to feel it in my body. When I ran my left hamstring was perpetually tight. My hip was starting to feel off. It was time to take a break. When I was fitted for my running shoes the shoe expert mentioned my left hip must be out of alignment because of the wear pattern on my shoes. That would explain the left hamstring tightness and the general feeling off kilter as I ran. My dad told me it was time to start stretching. While I had every intention of doing so, I'd get out for a run and realize between loading the kids up and packing everything to get out the door, I'd forgotten to stretch. It wasn't until after the Get Busy Livin 5k when I saw a picture of myself finishing that I was really kicked into gear. My hip rotation was atrocious. I pulled up a similar finishing picture from the Run to the Lights 5k and was amazed by the difference. That's when I realized I really needed to get it together or I was going to get injured.
I have never had a serious running-related injury in the entire 18 years I have been running. I've had some left hip issues here and there as well as some tendonitis in my foot, but nothing that kept me from running as long I stretched appropriately and warmed up before runs. So once May hit I got serious about adding some preventative stretching and strength training into my daily routine and so far I've kept with it every single day. I'm hoping to keep this stretch alive. I alternate every other day with "stretching" and "strength training". I say it like that because for stretching I do yoga and for strength training I've been using an awesome 10 minute work out on youtube. What I love about my routine and what I think has kept me at it is that both workouts are short. My yoga workout is 20-30 minutes depending on which ones I do and the strength training is 10-20 minutes depending on if I add some of my own exercises into the mix. I've found for me the key to keeping with it are that the exercises need to be continuous. I don't like exercises where you take breaks in between movements, I want to be constantly moving. They also need to be short so I can finish them during naptime after doing my chores for the day. I don't want to take time away from the kids during the day or away from my precious alone time with Ty at night.
It has been a huge motivator to see how much easier the workouts are for me now than when I first started with them about a month ago. When I first started the yoga I was so sore. I felt it in my hips to the point that they were sore the next day. Now that I've been keeping up with it, I'm already more flexible and less tight which I know will help me stay uninjured! When I first started the strength training I was crazy sore for a couple days afterward. Now I'm sore but not for long. I'm probably going to need to up the ante on that workout to continue seeing results. But I love that it doesn't use weights, it's all with your body weight, and the only material I need is my yoga mat which is quick to pull out and get ready.
I've made the decision to really focus on getting a base in this summer and give my body a break from speed work. My plan at the moment is to run what I feel like with a long run each week and not start any speed work until August or so. The first two weeks after the Get Busy Livin 5k I just ran 2 miles a day until I started feeling like I wanted to bump my mileage up. I'm just going off how my body feels and what I'm motivated to do. Once August hits I'll see where I'm at and go from there for my half-marathon training. I'm excited with where I'm at and how my body's feeling and I want to keep with these cross training workouts.