When Water Isn’t Enough After Working Out

I have been taking a particularly tough spin class twice a week. Once a week I take a Pilates mat class directly after. I have about 5 minutes to change my top, grab water, and get to the next class. Because I sweat a lot I add an electrolyte drink tablet to my water. It’s been noticed and I have been asked about it by a few women in both of my classes.

We often hear that you don’t need a sport drink when working out for an hour or less. While I do believe that in general there are cases where water alone is not enough. If you are working out hard for an hour and see salt streaks on your skin you probably need to replenish your electrolytes.

There are various options including coconut water or enhanced flavored waters. I use the electrolyte tablets for the sake of convenience, I keep a tube in my gym bag so I can just pop one into my water bottle as needed. I also like that there isn’t added sugar with these. I do prefer a sport drink when running distance but don’t find that I need it for a spin class.

Replenishing what you lose during class without taking in more calories than you spent is key. I see people sipping a sugary sport drink when doing moderate weight lifting and it’s just not necessary. In that case, water will work just fine. If you aren’t a fan of the taste add in a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange to give it a bit of flavor.

Occasionally I will eat half an energy bar in between classes or the whole thing if I didn’t have time for breakfast. I choose one that’s a mix of nuts and fruit. Fruit gives you the quick sugar energy burst and nuts provide a longer term energy with a mix of healthy fats and protein. I stick to bars with ingredients I can identify and are lower in sugar. ( for reference: 4g of sugar is a teaspoon).

Your body works optimally when you fuel it properly. While different eating plans work for different people, clean nutritious choices are a win no matter what dietary plan you follow.

Do you need help figuring out what foods work best for your body and lifestyle? Email me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com to see how I can help you find that happy spot.

Spinning, Pilates, and What Do You Want to Talk About?

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I wasn’t running due to injury and felt that my voice wasn’t fresh when it came to my other posts. I wanted to be authentic in what I wrote and not just regurgitate what everyone else is already speaking about. To that end I think what I do best is write about what people actually ask me or comment to me. If you have a question or want me to talk about a particular topic, please email me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.

I’ve been taking a few different classes at the YMCA and doing my strength training there. I’m using the assisted pull-up machine and while I am a while off from doing unassisted pull-ups I definitely feel stronger and notice more muscle definition. I am also trying to get those lazy glutes activated and my hip stronger.

It feels like a never-ending battle to keep the glutes and hips strong and stable. I do the exercises but I feel like there’s some key that I’m missing. In my o quest I’m trying Pilates Reformer sessions for 5 weeks. I know that it will help my core, which will alleviate some back pain, make spinning, running, and day-to-day life easier. Will it make my hip stronger? One can hope!

I’ve been taking regular spin classes as well as mat Pilates. Neither of these were favorites of mine previously. In fact, I down right despised spin. Having an injury and wanting to maintain fitness will have you doing things outside of your comfort zone. I ruptured the fascia in my foot and spinning has been a good way to keep my endurance strong.

I happened to take the one of the hardest classes offered. It was not on purpose but I liked the instructor’s style so I stuck with it. Turns out that was the best thing for me. I’ve taken a few other classes but I still prefer the strength and endurance combination that this particular instructor uses. When I started running again I didn’t feel like I was starting from scratch.

I’ve incorporated yoga and mat Pilates to strengthen my core as well as reduce back and hip pain. While it’s helping I need more, hence the reformer classes. I’m a bit nervous about them and tomorrow is my first class.

How are you stretching yourself physically?

Do you stick with the tried and true or do you branch out into other exercises?

Had an injury? Do you cross train, when allowed by your doctor?

Your Body is Capable of More, Ignore the Naysayers

I’ve been deep water via @runcompetitorpool running these past few weeks. I had been having trouble with my plantar fascia this training season. I went to the podiatrist, did physical therapy but the fascia had enough of training. I ended up with a partial tear and a walking boot.

I don’t love pool running, particularly but I am grateful to be able to do an exercise that keeps up my running fitness. I’m currently only allowed to do this, swim, or activities where I’m off my foot. No biking, including Spin, elliptical and the like. I can walk only in the boot, even in my house. I go to the YMCA 5 days a week. On Saturdays I do either chair Tae Bo or other chair cardio workouts. (and they really do get my heart rate up).

It hammers at your confidence to be injured, especially when you’ve had other injuries recently. I’m hearing a lot of “maybe this isn’t your sport” “maybe you should stop running” and “why would you want to do this anyway.” It’s annoying and it’s not helpful, even when it’s meant well.

My tipping point today was a woman told me I was crazy for even thinking of walking a half-marathon. I know what I am and aren’t capable of. When my foot is healed I’m completely capable of walking 13 miles. If I were indeed crazy I’d try walking it whether I was healed or not. Nope, not crazy. I respect my injuries and my body’s healing process.

Our bodies are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. We are made to move. Running a marathon may not be everyone’s cup of tea but neither is Zumba, Spinning, or rollerblading. To each their own, just move.

Keep your body strong and healthy. If you’re sidelined try to find something that you can do and ALWAYS check with your doctor before attempting it. No sense in sitting on the bench longer than necessary.

Don’t listen to the naysayers, either. You know, deep down, what you’re capable of.

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Half and Full Marathon Thoughts and Training Plans

Brooklyn Half 2014I have entered into temporary running madness. 3 half-marathons in 3 months with a full set for November. Not just any full marathon but NYC, which is intimidating, exciting, scary and thrilling all at the same time. Some days I think “what the heck have I signed up for?” and other days I think “I’m going to rock this.”

I ran one of my halfs last month and it was fun. I was glad when I hit the finish line and I think, uh oh – how will I do a full? And while I’m looking forward to my Runapalooza half-marathon in Asbury Park I’m not as excited about the Brooklyn half. I’ve run both and I prefer Asbury. I signed up for Brooklyn because my friends are doing it. Yes, Mom, I will jump off the bridge if my friends do!

I remind myself that I’m not training for a full at the moment and that I can run 18 miles when I am trained for it. I am stronger than when I trained last year for the NJ Marathon. I am still doing my PT exercises and I am going to follow the beginner plan. I am not a beginner runner but I am a beginner marathoner. I’m not naive enough to think there isn’t a difference.

I’m deciding on my training plan, I’m tossed between traditional marathon training, which is what I do for my halfs, and the Hansons method. You run about the same mileage each week but the Hansons method doesn’t have runs longer than 16 miles. The thought is you are running that distance on tired legs so it’s similar to running the last 16 miles of the race. You’re fatigued but less beat up over all. Then again, 6 days of running sounds crazy!

I have friends who have run NYC and they assure me I can do it. I believe, deep down, that I can do it. I can see me crossing the finish line and I am looking forward to it.

Have you run a full marathon? Want to share some tips or advice? I’d love to hear from people who tried the Hansons Method, too!

Tough Long Run With a Surprise

clove lakeSaturday’s run was one of those runs where you feel achy and it’s hard. It was a rough week and I was tired. My husband had surgery and had come home from the hospital the night before. I was worried about him, my allergies were kicking in and I was sleeping on the wrong side of the bed, literally. We switched spots since my side is easier mobility wise for him.

The run felt tough from the start. I generally ignore the first mile, it’s rare that it’s a true indicator of a run. The second mile didn’t feel any better and by mile 3 I was checking my watch – it’s only 3 miles?! How is that possible? Meh. That pretty much continued until I got to mile 6.

I was running alone and I was regretting not strapping on my iPod. I rarely run with music when I’m outside. I prefer to be able to hear my breathing, my foot strikes and what’s going on around me. (When I do wear my iPod I only put one ear bud in, essential for safety when you run alone and/or on streets). I could have used the distraction and I missed my running buddies.

I made bargains with myself. Just get through the first park lap and you’ll have 4 miles done. You can get one more mile in and then jog home. Would it be terrible to run 6 miles instead of 8? No, honestly at this point in my training it does not matter if I run 6 miles or if I run 8. I’ve had a couple of 10 and 11 mile runs plus a 12 miler, this week wouldn’t make or break me.

Somehow that did the trick for me. I was able to finish up my second lap in the park and run home, hitting my 8 miles. When I looked at my time on my watch I saw that I ran my fastest long run since my injury. What!?

Wednesday I ran the fastest time period since my injury and now I’ve had my fastest long run. Both felt physically hard but my hip felt okay both times. Little twinges but not hard aching. Yes I’m ready for my half-marathon but I’m happy for the taper!

How have your runs been lately?

Have you started running after an injury? How did that go for you?

When the Training Goes Well and the Long Run Feels Good

sneakersI am almost afraid to put this in writing – I’ve had some really excellent runs lately. There has been some hip pain but overall I have felt stronger and faster. I started seeing a chiropractor for hip manipulation and he noticed this past week that the area of tightness was smaller.

I’ve been doing hill training and added in a fourth day of running. I had been sticking with three and doing strength, exercises from my physical therapist and cross training cardio. This week I felt so good on that fourth day I was able to add an extra mile and I felt fine afterwards.

Saturday was a down week, 8 miles instead of 12, and I took advantage of it. It’s crazy how much it makes a difference but I just did some stretching and went on with my day, no ice bath needed. Today I could have run but I stuck with strength, cardio and the PT exercises.

I think it helps that my training partner is pregnant and we’ve been running more slowly. I have a tendency to push and this forces me to take my long runs at an easier pace. I can run my shorter runs faster when I want to. Some days I do and some days I just run easy.

It seems to be working and I’m sticking with it for now. My half-marathon is 5 weeks away and I plan to have a good race. I have not signed up for anything else, I’m planning on taking a few weeks off to do interval training. After that I’ll see how I feel and what feels right.

I’ve also found my new favorite long run meal: Pineapple Coconut Curry. We hit a vegan restaurant in New Jersey, Kaya’s Kitchen, and the food was amazing. I was very surprised when my meat and potato loving husband suggested eating there. They have a lot of gluten-free options as well, so it was a win. We had Missy Dog with us so we chose to eat outside. Missy gives the dairy/gluten-free Mac N Cheese 2 paws up. (And she only had a few pieces – so no warning letters needed, thank you).

Do you have any races coming up?
What’s your favorite recovery meal?

Running by Feel, Rather Than Time

sneakersLast week’s long run was humid and kind of tough. The kind that sometimes makes you wonder how in the hell you’re going to actually finish a half-marathon. The kind of run you shake off and say, hooray I did it and it’s over.

I did a few runs during the week, one on the treadmill since it was 90+ degrees out, and one outside. I felt so good on the treadmill I ran an extra mile. I did a few walking intervals but didn’t follow my set pattern. Last night’s run I decided to not use my watch and run purely by how I felt. I planned out my run in advance so I knew I’d get my mileage in.

I picked a hilly route, but it’s hard to avoid hills in my neighborhood. I never realized exactly how hilly it was until I started walking the dog everywhere. I also decided not to carry water since it was a 3 miler. That was a bad decision; I’m a thirsty girl and it was warm out. My mouth felt like cotton was stuffed in it.

Running without the watch beeping intervals was pretty freeing. I ran by feel and walked when I felt I needed to. I walked less and I ran faster than recent runs. I did feel the results of the strength training the day before, damn I worked my pecs and abs hard! On the other hand, it was not humid and I hit a nice stretch of downhill on the way home. Love when that happens!

I was aware of my posture and tried to run with the forward lean. It’s hard to say if I accomplished it but I did focus on landmarks that were off in the distance, which is supposed to encourage the lean. The glutes kicked in and my hip felt pinched on occasion but no stabbing pain. (stabbing pain would end the run).

It’s hard coming back and not going all out. It’s also frustrating to worry if something is going to trigger another injury. Rather than crossing my fingers I continue to do the physical therapy exercises and barre work to keep my hips and glutes strong.

Have you been injured? What did you do to recover?

Completed My Race and Physical Therapy

Nike Women Toronto with JessLast week I ran/walked the Nike Women 15k in Toronto. It was my first race since my injury. I would love to say I was able to run the whole thing or that I didn’t have any pain afterwards. Neither would be true. The pain, however, wasn’t intense nor did it impede my walking. All in all I was pleased with my race.

It was a fun race and I enjoyed it. I had company for my entire run and we stopped to take pictures along the way. Neither one of us was running for time, we just wanted to participate and finish. Seeing the Toronto skyline, the beach and beautiful homes made for a very pretty run.

It was pouring before our run and we looked kind of ridiculous huddled under a heat sheet. We stayed dry, though, and that was the important thing. The rain stopped right before we started running and it started again during my last 3 miles. Happily it didn’t start to pour until I was actually finished.

I have my Tiffany finisher’s necklace, which is one of the best parts of the race.

I’ve also finished up physical therapy and my glutes are strong. I’m showing them off in my wall squat in the above photo. (I’m with my training buddy there). Now I need to work on my running form and my stride. It’s a lot to try to remember at once so I’ll be working on one thing at a time with my running coaches.

I haven’t signed up for any new races at the moment. While I think I can complete a half marathon I don’t want to push myself. Part of me thinks I should sign up and another part of me just wants a break. I think I will do a local half in the fall, I’ll need to decide soon.

I’m deliberately not planning a full marathon until I know I’m where I need to be to train adequately. My confidence isn’t there yet and I prefer not to be chronically injured. I also prefer to train in the winter. Running 18 miles in the heat really isn’t my idea of fun, no matter how much I love my training buddies!

Have you returned to running after an injury?

How long did you wait before signing up for an event?



Postponing my Marathon

Brooklyn Half 2014It’s hard to let go of something you trained and prepared for. To know you put the time and effort in and it isn’t going to happen. I’ve been going to physical therapy for my pulled groin which caused by my hip. Apparently my hip isn’t as mobile as it should be and hence the pain.

The good news is I no longer feel like I’m throwing my leg when I walk. The physical therapist recommended I skip it and I toyed with trying for the half. But another exercise move had me yelping and I knew it wasn’t possible. If stretching too far or putting all my weight on my leg hurts; running is going to be impossible.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow and I’ve done it before. The first half marathon I was supposed to run I developed a stress fracture in my hip. (yes, the same hip). There were a lot of tears that time, this time it’s more frustration/disgust. I know there will be other races in my future. I have one scheduled for June.

I have decided that I am going to focus on the good and stay positive. If I get frustrated I will make my life miserable and I’ll drive everyone else around me crazy. I have a lot to look forward to:

  • I will be strong for my June race and I’m going to kill it.
  • I have a lot more mileage under my belt now and I know I can do an 18 mile run.
  • My weekly base mileage is higher than it was.
  • I now have a bunch of exercises that will keep my hip strong and healthy.
  • I know which nutrition works for me and how to fuel for long runs.
  • There are races every month, the possibilities are endless.
  • I had quality time with my friends.

I don’t look at the training as a loss and I don’t regret running the miles. I look forward to my next race and enjoying it. I look forward to being pain-free. (well, as pain-free as someone running 18 miles can be).

Have you been forced to miss a race due to injury or illness? What did you do while you were sidelined?

Running, Injuries and MRI’s

ellipticalRunning has been difficult. Not because of the mileage but because I pulled a groin muscle. I rested a few days and tried running but my 10 miler turned into a 6. After another week of rest I called the orthopedist and made an appointment. The bad news – I needed to get an MRI. It’s my version of hell: loud, closed in and you have be still. I’m trying to keep my karma positive so I don’t end up spending my afterlife in an MRI machine.

I got the report and I can breathe a bit easier. There are not cracks or tears, just inflammation and some bursitis on the hip which is from every day wear and tear. (It also said I a small cyst on each ovary. I know this because I read the report as I was getting changed. I think it would have been good to mention even if it had nothing to do with my hip and groin).

A steroid shot was an option so I took it. Normally I’d skip it and heal on my own the race is in less than a month. I feel like I need to get another long run in to feel mentally trained as well as physically. I also don’t want to hurt myself further so I can actually complete the darned race.

In the meantime I joined a gym. I don’t enjoy going to the gym but I like having access to the elliptical machine and the bike. I was sore after the elliptical machine but it still felt better than running. I’m hoping after today’s steroid shot I can get a short run in tomorrow. I really want to do a long run this weekend, it’s really the last weekend to do one.

So I sit here with my ice pack on (yes, that’s a fun injury to ice) and driving myself nuts. I know I’ve been running consistently but I also know how I feel at 18 miles. Could I push through to 26? I believe I could, even if I end up walking after 18 miles. I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to that.

Have you felt under-trained but still completed your race?

What cross training do you do when you’re injured?