Rest and Recovery in Trier, Germany

If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page at @TheFitWanderluster you may be aware that I’m training for the Rome Marathon. I’m doing my best to follow my program to safely increase my mileage while hoping to prevent injury; including taking advantages of my rest days.

My marathon program (hybrid Hal Higdon/Asics sub 4 hour) has me running 4 times a week with two of those days including strength training, a cross training day and two rest and recovery days. I also throw in core work daily and yoga 1-2 times a week which also sometimes falls on my rest days that turn into active recovery days. 

But why Rest?

Rest days, along with proper hydration, nutrition, and sleep (due to its ability to produce growth hormone which assists in repairing and rebuilding muscles), will allow your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild.

Rest allows for strength and efficiency gains. When the body is training, one creates microscopic tears to the tissues. The bodies ability to regenerate and repair is as necessary and essential as the actual workouts. If rest and recovery is ignored the body will, in fact, weaken overtime resulting in decreased performance, fatigue, altered hormonal states, poor sleeping patterns, reproductive disorders, decreased immunity, loss of appetite, and mood swings.

If those aren’t good enough reasons rest days will also, plain and simply, give you more time and allow for a mental refresh. 

On my rest days, I like to travel and explore. For instance my rest days typically fall on a Monday (which luckily for me is also my day off from work) so I take advantage to go on a day trip. This past Monday, I made my way to Trier, Germany.

Trier is German’s oldest city. It boasts architectural designs from Roman times dated back to 50 BC. It’s mystical and awe-inspiring to see history whether its the ruin remains or updated infrastructure on facades, this town is quaint, cute, walkable and affordable.

I started my trek by parking centrally near the Hauptmarkt. The entrance to the market is the impressive Porta Nigra, which is a large Roman City Gate that opened in 200 AD. 

Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra

A pedestrian plaza with wooden framed buildings filled with shopping and eating, the Hauptmarkt makes you feel like you were dropped into Disney’s Epcot Park. 

Hauptmarkt

Hauptmarkt

Hauptmarkt

Hauptmarkt

A short walk away is the amphitheater built in the 2nd century which hosted animal and gladiator combats, and Imperial Roman baths, later constructed in 4th century. Mostly in ruins, one has to use their imagination to get a clearer picture of once what was. 

Imperial Roman Baths

Imperial Roman Baths

Amphitheater

Amphitheater

Afterword a connecting park and garden will lead you to the Kurfürstliches Palais and Trier Cathedral, known to be the oldest cathedral in the country, which encircles you back to the market. 

Kurfürstliches Palais

Kurfürstliches Palais

Kurfürstliches Palais

Kurfürstliches Palais


Trier Cathedral

Trier Cathedral

Trier Cathedral

Trier Cathedral

Moral of the story, take rest days, travel, explore, follow your dreams all in the name of health 😉.

P.S. Friendly reminder The Fit Wanderluster shop will shut down this Friday, January 20th. Get your last t-shirt orders today!

26 days until the Paris Marathon

As you may know I’m in the midst of training for my 8th full marathon which is 26 days away. I will be running the Paris Marathon on April 3, 2016 and aiming for a 4:30 finish. This is my first marathon where I’ve documented my 18 weeks of training on Instagram @thefitwanderluster and on Facebook.

  
This week is the hardest week of training. In total (Saturday to Saturday), I will have run a total of 52 miles (or 83.7 km). Not including hill training, which I will do today and cross training (consisting of body weight, resistance and core training) on Monday and Friday, along with active recovery on Sunday (rest day but typically includes stretching, yoga or foam rolling). This week, as in all of my past marathon trainings, is tough both mentally and physically. I will be running or working out approximately 10 hours and 50 minutes of my week.

Let me just break it down for you:

  • One week consists of 168 hours
  • Let’s estimate I sleep 8 hours a night or 56 hours of the week, 33% of my time
  • Daily chores, errands, activities of daily living (cooking, eating, showering, dressing) 48 hours of the week, 28% of my time
  • I’m working part-time at 16 hours of the week, 10% of my time with commuting 6 hours of the week, 3.6% of my time (total 13.6%)
  • Watching TV or doing other hobbies  and blogging 20 hours in a week, 12 % of my time
  • Hanging out with friends, entertainment, etc 12 hours a week, 7.2% of my time
  • So running/working out consumes 10.9 hours in a week, 6.6% of my time!

The importance of the mileage buildup gradually over time is to prep your body for the impact, increase your endurance and stamina, and prevent injury when it comes to race day. You may have seen “How I Met Your Mother” and Barney Stinson finishes a marathon without training, which sure there are few people that can do that, however when he does finish and takes the subway home he can’t get up from sitting. It’s actually pretty funny.

My long run this week will be 22 miles or 35.4 km. It will be a comfortable pace with some walk breaks for water and goo. But I still dread 4 hours of running. The only thing I like to do for 4 hours straight is binge on Netflix House of Cards Season 4! Marathon training isn’t just about the run itself, it’s the commitment and motivation. While training with others makes the process easier and more fun, the reality is your mind is what will keep you going in the end. Because I have been posting and blogging about my program, the process makes me accountable and gives me a goal to reduce my thoughts of failure.

 The next few weeks will be about my taper and nutrition. The last 3 weeks before the marathon the mileage decreases until race day. This allows for muscular and joint recovery to due to increases in aerobic enzymes and muscle glycogen. The taper also allows for mental recovery.

For my nutrition, I will be focusing on easily digestible foods that are high in carbohydrates and protein and lower in fat and fiber along with hydration. This means I will be cutting back on alcohol and processed sugars.

My typical meal plans will look something like this:

Breakfast:

  • Shakeology
  • Oatmeal
  • Muesli
  • eggs

Snacks (2x per day):

  • celery and peanut butter
  • carrots and hummus
  • oatbran pretzels
  • grapes
  • berries

Lunch:

  • turkey or roast beef lettuce wraps
  • egg salad or tuna fish
  • goat cheese salad
  • chicken quesadillas

Dinner:

  • Broiled Steak with mushrooms, cauliflower and acorn squash
  • Asian seared Pork Chops, broccoli and sweet potato
  • Pasta Primevera
  • Chicken Piccata with spaghetti and broccoli
  • Salmon Cakes with Tuscan Penne Pasta
  • Spicy Chicken and Veggie Pasta

And if I’m craving desert, I’ll treat myself to:

  • Fruit (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Canteloupe)
  • Yogurt or Sorbet

Wish me luck!

  
 

 

I broke my Rib. Should I run?

Some of you may know that I suffered a fractured rib while snowboarding a week and a half ago, if you follow my Instagram page @thefitwanderluster or my Facebook page. And if not, get on that! Unfortunately, not much can be done and bones takes 6-8 weeks to heal.  As a physical therapist, my advice to myself is to listen to my pain levels and not push through. As an athlete training for a marathon in April, I counter my professional advice with no pain no gain. But how do we know what pain won’t produce more damage and when should we rest?

What are signs of good pain?

Most people beginning a new workout regime or those in training will experience some sort of discomfort. For muscular improvement, the muscle has to endure increased stress resulting in the perceived burn during activity. This is otherwise known as good pain that should be temporary and resolved upon completion of activity.

Fatigue is also a sign of good pain when demonstrating you are exerting tissues beyond rest. However, this should also be short lived following exercise. Fatigue that lasts for days may be a sign that the energy supplies are taxed and that one might be overtraining.

There are times, especially for those who are under conditioned, to experience delayed onset muscle soreness for 24-48 hours following activity. This is a result of microtears to the muscle but not necessarily a bad thing. However, this should not go beyond the 2 days and you may need to seek medical advice if the soreness accompanies bad pain symptoms as mentioned below.

What are the signs of bad pain?

There are several other structures surrounding joints which include: muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bones. They respond to stress gradually and if the process is too rapid or excessive in a short amount of time, the tissue may fail. Bad pain can objectively be defined with edema (swelling), loss of motion, tenderness to palpation, pain with functional movement outside of exercise (like climbing stairs or getting up from a chair). To prevent failure, it is recommended when starting an exercise program that you begin slowly and build gradually. As a general rule: Take the amount of exercise you think you can do and cut it by one third the first few times you do it.

A side note that is more apparent to the naked eye in regards to bad pain is, of course, injury from trauma which can create tears, fractures, hematomas (bruising), weakness, numbness and tingling, etc. Seek medical advice immediately.

How can this pain be treated?

Rest or decrease the activity that is causing the problem and try low impact cardiovascular training like walking, swimming or biking. Ice the painful area for 10-20 minutes at a time or until skin gets pink and repeat a couple times of day. Maintain range of motion with light stretches and pain-free motion and consider over-the-counter medicines, with the advice of pharmacist or physician, to treat pain and inflammation.

When should I be concerned?

Pain should be short lived following exercise. Pain that alters performance, does not go away with rest, affects function or sleep, does not improve with treatment, or the pain increases over time is not normal and you should consider seeking medical advice.

 

My injury, in particular, produces intermittent pain. It was really bad in the 8 hour bus trip 2 days after the injury but on the 3rd day of the injury I was able to run my long run of 14 miles with mild discomfort (on a scale of 0-10 where 10 is the worst pain, I was experiencing 3-4/10). I thought, “No problem, I can still run”. I was able to do my interval training but found sprinting definitely felt worse then a steady pace (6/10). I continued my cross training but I found pushing weight through my left arm and trunk rotation to the right increased my symptoms (back to 7/10). As soon as I stopped the motion I felt fine. Besides these two motions, sneezing and sleeping were the only times I felt bad pain. I felt my activity didn’t create any hinderance in my rehab.

Regardless to the fact that I have a post doctoral degree in healthcare, I’m stupid. I know injuries are in the acute phase for 14 days, which means lots of swelling and edema, probably resulting in some lack of range of motion which probably changed my gait. So when I attempted my long run of 15 miles this past weekend (8 days after the injury) my body finally told me to give it a break after 9 miles. I had seering, sharp pain into my left breast that was a 9/10. I couldn’t take one more pounding step without feeling like a knife stabbing me. Breathing was difficult, crying began, and frustration and fear creeped in. “What if I can’t train?” my brain screamed! After this 5 minute anxiety attack of realizing I wouldn’t finish my run, I came to realization the “bad pain” was no longer “good pain”. I came back to my senses that I have a week and half old injury, STILL in the acute phase, not even the remodeling phase yet which is really when healing begins. No wonder I am STILL in pain and will be probably for the next 2 weeks. DUH!

So by finally seeing the light on this injury, yes it hurts, but I don’t have to stop everything. I can find ways to stay low impact, wear compressive clothing to help support the swelling and pressure, and just give myself a break the next week or two. Will I still attempt running? Yes, because I’m crazy. Will I let my pain get over a 5/10? No, because I’m a health professional and I experienced the worst of it so far and I don’t want that to happen again.

IMG_1562

Bring on 2016

Life can bring a full range of emotions. I’ve missed my mom and my niece, Terri, for major life events and holidays. I’ve had close family friends pass away. I’ve experienced a loss in trust, fear for the world, friends diagnosed with cancer, and I uprooted what I thought was a stable and sufficient life.

But I’m a pretty optimistic person and 2015 you’ve been good to me. I was lucky enough to travel to Switzerland, Iceland, England, Scotland, France, Luxembourg, and a lot of the US. There’s been family graduations, weddings, and those getting engaged with a great-niece on the way. There’s been an amazing opportunity to explore and grow myself and my relationship. I’ve become educated on good food and how to make it and help others promote a healthy lifestyle. Damn!  I’m grateful to have the life I have and thankful for the opportunity to give back, even if I make just one person’s day.

My year in pictures:


  
Here are my New Year’s Resolutions:

Learn French

  • I know, this has been on my list since I moved to France. I’ll be the first to say, it’s tough. To find the right class, costs, accessibility, and the time of year. But in reality it’s just pure laziness. I have someone who translates for me and while that’s helped this month, I’m determined to understand the language and develop on my own because that’s the type of person I am. Plus, I just think it’s plain rude to not try to assimilate to my new culture.

Complete the Paris Marathon

  • I’m on day 29 of training for the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon on April 3, 2016. This will be my 8th marathon. I’m shooting for sub 4:30. Click on the link to subscribe to my Facebook page to follow my progress or follow my Instagram @thefitwanderluster

Lose the love chub

  • In my last post I desribed my passion for cheese and wine and my 35 year old body is laughing at me for thinking I still have my 25 year old metabolism. I don’t, so the effects of love will be battled against with my 2016 accountability group. For more info, message me on Facebook or email: kthib123@gmail.com

Help others, in whatever capacity

  • I’m your girl if you want motivation and inspiration on fitness, running, and clean eating tips. I’m also really good at muscle tension, comedic or entertainment relief to provide a small break from our sometimes scary world. I will donate, volunteer, clean the house for my working man. I’m open to the possibilities of how I can give back and strive to achieve to the best of my abilities in 2016.

My wish to you and yours is that everyone enjoyed their holiday season, and find peace, joy, and love this brand new year!

Getting Acclimated

I’ve survived my first week in France and I didn’t take my return flight back that was scheduled on December 7th (it was cheaper to get round trip than one way, and if I had thought about it I would have pushed the return further out but oh well). So that’s a good sign.

Things have been busy but not overwhelming. The food and wine are amazing and I even figured out how to stream the Patriots game (despite the loss, in Portugese and it being 1:30am). Julien and I have been going to the Christmas Market in Metz, organizing the closets in the flat to fit my stuff, going out to dinner and traveling to Luxembourg. Luckily, his co-worker is on Holiday for the next 3 weeks allowing us to stay in Lux during the weekdays and avoid traffic because of France controlling the borders.


  
 I’ve looked up what my options are to take French classes but most don’t start until January. I’m debating what to do but in the meantime I’m having Julien start speaking a bit more French with me daily. I apparently can’t say my “R”‘s, what do you expect from a Boston girl?!


I also started my marathon training for the Paris Marathon on April 3rd, 2016. I decided to do it since I have the month of December off which would give me time to start my training and also learn my surroundings in both Metz and Luxembourg. This will be my 8th marathon since 2006. I decided to make a hybrid schedule of intermediate level between Hal Higdon and Nike, allowing for interval, hill, and cross training. I’ll be running between 4-5 times a week building my mileage over the next 18 weeks.

The following are some views from my runs:


  
  
  

Follow my training schedule with @thefitwanderluster on Instagram Facebook or Twitter

So life is good in Europe. But I can’t understand or speak French. That will be my big push the next few months. Wish me luck!