Tuesday, February 28, 2006

NEW STANDARDS

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but man what a difference being rested for a workout can make. After taking Saturday off and running 8 easy miles on Sunday and Monday, I felt great for tonight’s hill workout. The last time I ran hills with my training group I was drilled by Jenna, Joyce and Roger. Tonight Jenna was the only one I couldn’t keep up with and Joyce and Roger were a ways behind me, so the workout was definitely a confidence booster for me. The workout included 2 separate half mile-long hills, one steep and one gradual. We ran the steep hill 3 times and the gradual one twice for a total of 10 miles.

Overall, February was a very good month for me. After being on-pace for 0 miles after the first day, I finished with 326 miles on 26 days of running and 37 runs. With the new standards I’ve set recently, my mileage could have been a little higher. It’s amazing what missing one run, especially a long run, will do to a week and even a month. In any case, February was my 2nd highest month ever (behind January) and it was my highest February ever, by 28 miles (a mile a day). Around the middle of the month I started getting away from the little things like lifting, ab work, diet, etc., but did focus more on the mental side. One of my goals for March is to get back to doing the little things, especially the ab work.

No mental stories today. Instead I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing so far – other than reading books. Each night before going to bed, I focus on relaxation. I combine 3 different techniques; deep abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and cue word relaxation.

I start with the deep abdominal breathing, which basically involves slowly breathing through your nose. First I fill my abdomen, then the middle part of my lungs and finally the upper part of my lungs. Once they’re filled, I’ll hold the breath for 3-5 seconds before gradually exhaling. As I exhale I’ll say the cue word “calm” and focus on the tension releasing from my body. After exhaling I wait another 3-5 seconds before taking another breath.

After about 5 breaths I’ll switch to progressive muscle relaxation where I flex a muscle group, hold it for 15-30 seconds and then gradually release it. As I release the muscles I again say my cue word and really focus on how it feels to be relaxed. I start with my face and then move down my body; shoulders, arms, back, butt, and legs. The idea with the cue word is that it becomes a stimulus for achieving a relaxed state. It creates an association between the cue word and the relaxed feeling. With enough practice, it can be used in competition to become instantly calm.

Quote of the Day:
“Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” Paavo Nurmi

3 comments:

D said...

There are certain blogs that I frequent that are interesting and informative - yours is definitely one of them. Thanks for that!

Thomas said...

You probably know this already, but in Yoga this kind of breathing (first fill the abdomen, then the middle part of my lungs, then the upper part of my lungs while breathing through the nose) is called the Full Yoga Breath.

My Yoga teacher is especially fond of it.

Chad Austin said...

DGC, thanks so much for the kind comments. I'm flattered. I'm glad to hear you're feeling better and whipping yourself into shape. Grandma's is right around the corner.

Thomas, I did not know that but it's not surprising. Do you find yoga helpful for your running or just relaxation/flexibility in-general? If I could add one more thing to my training, it'd probably be yoga.