I am officially a USA Track and Field Cross Country Specialist! Even though I don’t coach a cross country team, I found the course incredibly valuable and it was a honor to learn from Dr. Joe Vigil, who coaches two of my favorite runners, Brenda Martinez and Deena Kastor.
The course was spread out over two days, a Friday afternoon-evening session and Saturday morning-afternoon sessions. There were 129 other coaches there with me, all of whom were equally as excited. We covered everything from team dynamics to hill workouts as well as lab sessions on the track and a short but tough cross country course on the Villanova campus. Coaches Vigil and Scott Christensen were amazing. Their combined knowledge was mind boggling and there was certainly no shortage of stories after so many championships, Olympics and runners.
During dinner the first evening I spent time with my phone plugged into one of the classroom’s few outlets. It also provided me a little bit of bonus time with Coach Vigil. I was honored by his feedback and surprised to hear him say how much he loved the marathon. While I’m not sure I share the same sentiment as a runner, I definitely agreed with him as a coach. To really be successful at the marathon, you must change your life. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you give everything you’ve got to training.
I can’t wait to employ some of the training and coaching techniques I learned. As many of my runners prepare for fall marathons we’ll definitely have some cross country inspired fun. If you coach, just want to become a better runner or learn from the best, I highly recommend taking this class. I am definitely a better coach because of it.
Have you ever run cross country? What do you like most about it?
Not every run is a challenge but the same things always feel good afterwards. A cold glass of water, even in the winter, taking my sweaty socks off and hitting the floor for a few post run yoga poses. There are a ton of poses out there but not all of them stretch out those hard working running muscles in my legs and hips. Here are some of my favorites:
Child’s Pose: This pose gives my whole body a break and lets me hit the ground with a little bit of grace. It gives my hard working core a chance to relax while releasing my lower back and stretching my feet.
Downward Facing Dog: After a minute in child’s pose, it’s into down dog. Even if I just jogged a nice recovery run, lengthening my hamstrings and chronically tight calves always feels great. It’s also a good pose with lots of room for the lunges to open and close. It helps me bring my heart and respiratory rates down with big deep breaths.
Pigeon: This big hip opener is another chance to give my just worked legs a break. Stretching out my glutes and hip flexors is important for making sure I stay loose for my next workout, whether it’s later that day or 24 hours away.
Low Lunge: Another awesome hip stretch, low lunge might be tops on my list. I love reaching back to open my hip while taking big belly breaths.
Legs on the Wall: I’m not sure if this really counts as one of my ‘yoga poses’. My legs are propped up on a wall and I’m totally relaxed. I’ll use time in this pose to reflect on the workout I just had.
I use a different variety of poses for my morning and pre-run routines. While my pre-run sessions gets me loose and the blood pumping, these post run yoga poses help me relax and regroup after a workout.
Do you have favorite post run yoga poses? Which ones and why?
I’m finally injury free! While I never took any total time off, I did back down significantly from hard workouts and specific exercises. Last week I incorporated some of the things I had been avoiding back into my routine with success. My glute wasn’t extra sore, my gait was totally normal and everything felt good.
My transition back into real training started Monday with an OK Murph. For those not familiar it’s a Memorial Day tradition performed in honor of Lt Michael Murphy that includes a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and a final one mile run. Wanting to save my energy for the challenging workout I failed to warm up as much as I should have. My glute gave me some trouble through the first mile but settled in with the squats. The second mile was an improvement.
Tuesday my legs were, not surprisingly, beat up. A few easy miles helped them freshen up and again, I had no pain with a totally normal gait after warming up properly. Yay! Wednesday was also a few easy miles but this time in I also had the pleasure of being pouring rained on. My shoes were finally dry by Sunday.
Thursday it was an attempt at the long run. The humidity Thursday morning was a doozey but I felt good about getting the run done. I started easy then picked up the pace as the sun rose to burn it off. With my last few miles at marathon pace, I finished with negative splits. It was a great first long run back and I couldn’t have been happier.
Friday my legs felt like lead and I took the day off. Saturday was mile repeats that weren’t exactly on my previous pace but solid for coming off an injury. Sunday I was back in the gym for strength training. All in all it was a good welcome back week. My glute held up without any pain or strain and left my feeling positive about how the rest of my summer will go.
My next race is the Allen Stone Memorial 5k. I’m not expecting a spectacular performance but want to run well. I have six weeks to prepare and am looking forward to working hard again.
How do you celebrate being injury free? Sign up for a race? A long run?