Tag Archives: cross training


22 Aug

What is that, you ask? 

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The soreness that shows up anywhere from 12-24 hours after engaging in physical activity that works muscles in a way they are not accustomed to. The worst pain may be experienced 24-72 after exercising.

If you’ve ever started a new form of exercise, did a tough workout, strength-trained, walked a bunch of stairs, ran some hill repeats, raced in a long distance event, helped move a friend into their new place, or any activity that works untrained muscles, chances are you’ve experienced DOMS.


Why, oh WHY?!

“Most believe soreness develops as a result of microscopic damage to muscle fibers involved the exercise.This type of damage likely results from novel stresses that were experienced during the exercise. One common misconception about DOMS is that it is due to lactic acid accumulation, but lactic acid is not a component of this process. DOMS appears to be a side effect of the repair process that develops in response to microscopic muscle damage.

– Info sheet from the American College of Sports Medicine.

But, why ME?!

Turns out, even all-star athletes are susceptible. Of course, soreness becomes less prominent once we get used to an exercise (say, the more our endurance for running increases), but any novel movement can create soreness.

There’s good news!

Exercise that produces soreness creates a partially protective effect that reduces the chance of soreness in that same activity weeks or months into the future.

Can we prevent it?

Not completely, but easing into a new exercise and warming up properly can help reduce the level of impending soreness. Some say stretching after exercise doesn’t really prevent DOMS, but I say it sure does provide some relief. Other things that can help are icing, massage, accupuncture, NSAIDs, and foods that are natural anti-inflammatories (like blueberries). Mostly, you just have to let it pass on its own.

Are DOMS an indicator of a good workout?

Not necessarily. DOMS can certainly mean you worked your muscles in a new way that will increase strength and endurance. However, “No pain, no gain” is generally a myth. Not having pain after a workout does not mean you didn’t go hard enough. You are still getting benefits and increasing fitness even if you aren’t climbing into an ice bath or clutching a walker afterward. As always, acute pain during exercise is a signal from your body to STOP.

Dealing with DOMS?

There are many, many articles available offering tips for relief using static stretching and handy tools like foam rollers. I will be following up this post with some of those suggestions!


Trying new things

19 Jun

What do you usually do immediately after snagging a PR at a 5K on a beautiful sunny day? Eat a nice lunch and relax? Jump in the pool? Well, if you’re me and it was last Saturday you would head straight to the park and try out a new water sport.

On Saturday, Eastern Mountain Sports was hosting a demo day at a local park for kayaks, standing upright paddleboards (SUPs), and bicycles. Mark enjoys canoeing, but has never attempted a kayak because he hasn’t been certain he could fit into one with his super long legs (he is 6’8″). Honestly, who wants to rent or buy a kayak only to find out you can’t fit your whole body in it?! This was the perfect opportunity to test it out.

To make the most out of the event, we headed there right after the 5K. I didn’t even change out of my sweaty race clothes! (Are you cringing?)

Even though I’ve kayaked before, we both gave a few models a test drive.

photo 1So many possibilities!

photo 2I would like to point out that I was slathering sunscreen on all day, yet I still ended up with a nice sunburn right on my hairline.

Check Mark out – his first time in a kayak and he’s a pro! I guess it does help that he knows how to paddle already…

photo 3And he even found one that he fits in pretty comfortably (not the one in the picture). So it looks like we might be taking a kayak trip in the near future. I better get to work on my paddling skills!

As we were talking kayak, I got the strange desire to try my luck on one of the paddleboards. I am the opposite of graceful when it comes to balance and coordination, so Mark and my dad were naturally surprised that I said I’d give it a whirl. I also have a small phobia of swimming in water that I can’t see the bottom of…

After getting the basic instructions from a very helpful EMS employee, I hopped on. You of course start on your knees, and I honestly thought about staying that way for the whole time. But…I eventually (sloooowly) stood upright and paddled awkwardly and stiffly back to shore!

photo 4It was fun to try something new and go outside my comfort zone a little! I can’t say that I’ll be getting on a SUP again anytime soon, but I’m glad I went for it. That’s the thing about trying something new. You may or may not discover a new activity or interest, but you might find out that you can hold your balance better than you thought.

As a summer challenge, I encourage you to try something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be anything major or costly, just something you hadn’t considered or dismissed because you were afraid or didn’t think you had the ability. A book club, volleyball, swimming, a half marathon, skydiving…anything. Go outside your comfort zone and see what you discover.

Question for you: What new things have you tried recently? What will you try this summer?

Yard work and impromptu rest days

11 Jun

Oh, hi! Looks like I’ve taken an unintentional mini-hiatus from blogging these past few days. We’re getting a lot done around here, I assure you! We are full engaged in checking off items from our homeowner to-do list and this past weekend we kicked off a big yard project.

Before that, we both went out for a long run on Sunday morning. Mark went for 3 miles and I kept on going for a solid 8.


Ready to go…?

As you could guess, I’m very excited that Mark has started running and working out with me while he trains for the 5K’s we are running together this Summer. He’s starting to talk about goals and I’m looking forward to supporting him in reaching them, as he has done time and time again for me. It will be nice to return the favor!

As soon as I came back from my longer run, we stretched, changed, fueled and prepared for a full day of serious yard work. We had our eye on three overgrown trees in our backyard and started toiling away. We moved stones, chopped, clipped, bagged, bundled, and stump-pulled throughout the day. Talk about a strength training workout!

stump removal

A little help from our friends…

Luckily, we have some pretty awesome friends who enjoy removing tree stumps and very willingly came over to help with this part of the process. We paid them handsomely in burgers and beer, of course.

A total of 9 hours of labor and we have a bigger yard!

yardbeforeafterAnd 11 bags, a dozen or so bundles, and 3 big stumps to show for it as well!

bagsandbundlesNeedless to say, Mark and I were pretty sore on Monday! Talk about full body aches! My knees and feet were definitely on fire. Instead of risking some injury, we agreed to take a complete rest day from running or working out on Monday.

We set the alarm for this morning, but the rain was so heavy that we decided to wait. I may not end up getting a run in today, but I feel pretty OK with that. Taking these impromptu rest days has been refreshing and it seems my motivation for the next run is building.

I typically build at least 2 rest days into my running routine, but there are benefits to mixing in some spontaneous non-running days from time to time.

Why it’s a good idea to be flexible and take impromptu rest days:

  1. Recover/Prevent injury
  2. Avoid mental burnout
  3. Opportunity to focus on cross training
  4. Enjoy other aspects of life

I’m sure this list could be longer, but these are the things I think about when I switch things around and take unplanned rest days. What are your reasons for taking an unplanned day off from running here and there?