Bad Angel Rule #206

Calculate how much time you REALLY need for your run.

As temperatures rise in the summer months, re-incorporating morning runs to my training is a must. But figuring out how to squeeze in my workout and still get to work on time requires a real look at how much time I need.

AlarmAnd having a real estimate comes in handy not only for those pre-work workouts but also for pretty much any time you have a time constraint. Maybe you’re meeting someone mid-run or you’re going out after an evening jaunt or you need to be home in time to watch “Game of Thrones.”

At first thought, it seems easy enough: you’re doing 4 miles at about 10-minute pace, so that means you only need 40 minutes, right? Weeeelllll, not exactly. There are many other things to consider:

  • Do you need to eat a full breakfast, or just cram a quick protein bar down your throat? And how much time do you need it to settle so you don’t ralph a half-mile in?
  • Do you need to poop before you go?
  • How long does it take to get dressed, lace up your shoes, put on your iPod, get a satellite signal, fill up your water bottle, etc.?
  • Will you be stopping for water on the run?
  • Are there stoplights and/or traffic to account for?
  • What about a post-run cool down and stretching?
  • Do you need to change clothes/shower after your run?

All of the sudden, that 40-minute run could be looking more like 50 or 60 minutes.

I always work backward from the time I need to be out the door to the time I wake up, and I have a good estimate of how long it takes to complete each section of my morning routine. Here’s an example of my typical train of thought:

OK, I’m running 4 miles at 10-minute pace and I need to leave for work at 8:00. That means I need to be walking my dog by 7:40. Which means I need to be in the shower by 7:00. Which means I need to begin my run at 6:10. Which means I need to wake up at 5:30 … which means I need to set my alarm for 5:15 (because let’s be real, Imma hit snooze once or twice).

Making time for a run can be a challenge, but if you’re honest with yourself about how much time you actually need, I think you’ll find it a tad less stressful. — Mags


Bad Angel Rule #205

Runner Doctors Are the Best Doctors for Runners.

“Running is terrible for you, so my diagnosis is that you need to stop running.”

Ever had a doctor tell you this? (And did you refrain from punching him/her in the throat after uttering this nonsense? Congratulations!)

Chances are, the M.D.’s who say this don’t actually know much about running because they aren’t runners themselves.

So when searching for a specialist of any kind, consider adding “runner” to your checklist of requirements, right alongside “in-network” and “convenient location.”

  • General Practice: Want to PR? Logging crazy high miles? Feeling run-down? Struggling with your weight? For all of these issues and a million more, a general practitioner who runs will help you achieve your goals (because he or she understands your goals) without sacrificing your health or sanity.
  • Podiatrist: Odds are, that if you run, you’ll get custom orthotics at some point. You need a doctor who understands that you’ll be RUNNING in these orthotics, not just wearing penny loafers around the office. Plus, a running podiatrist can help you find a running shoe that makes sense for your feet.
  • Orthopedist: If you find yourself in the ortho’s office, your injury likely has gone from minor annoyance to full-fledged problem. A runner orthopedist knows the tell-tale signs of common running ailments and knows there are few “career-ending” injuries when it comes to running. They also understand the mental struggles associated with long-term time off and will handle your fragile running ego with kid gloves.
  • OB-Gyn: Pregnant? Want to be pregnant? Ever had a baby? Get a doctor who knows that a woman who runs is a woman who is healthy. The last thing you need when you’re knocked up is someone else judging you for the choices you make. An OB-Gyn that runs understands the importance of running, and by extension, the importance of your and your baby’s health. And they won’t give you a song and dance about waiting six weeks after childbirth to wait to go for a run unless it’s REALLY necessary.
  • Dermatologist: If you run in the sun, the running dermatologist understands — and knows where to keep an eye out for trouble spots. If you have to have something removed/biopsied/poked, the running dermatologist will let you know when you can safely resume your running routine.
  • Physical Therapist: If you’re in physical therapy, you’re recovering from an injury. And if you’re recovering from an injury, all you want to know is how quickly you can get back to running. If your PT is a fellow runner, he or she will do everything in his or her power to get you back to pounding the pavement as quickly as possible.
  • Dentist: Actually, DO NOT go to a dentist who is a runner. Having a lengthy running discussion while you have three gauze pads and a metal scraper in your mouth only makes your cavity filling take twice as long.

When it comes to doctors, running matters, but don’t forget, when it comes to running, doctors matter. Yes, running is a healthy activity, but the sheer act of doing a healthy activity does not get you a free pass to good health. Visit the doctor regularly, get check-ups annually and allow specialists to tend to your injuries. And while you’re on the examination table, you and your runner doctor will have plenty to talk about beyond your health. — Mags and Aidz

Bad Angel Rule #204

RAWR! Angry dinosaur coming through!

RAWR! Angry dinosaur coming through!

Get a Peer Review.

We were just two-and-a-half miles into the Madison Half Marathon when Maggie asked me, “What’s going on with your arm?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, what are you doing with your arm? Do you always do that? I’ve never noticed it before, but it looks like a T-Rex or something.”

“Oh yeah, that. I do that when I’m fatigued. Is it that noticeable?”

I knew right then and there that if I was already slipping into my sloppy habits, so it was going to be a loooong 13.1 miles. But more than that, I was suddenly hyper-aware of my running form. You see, we had just watched Maggie’s Video Gait Analysis, and while I was thinking about my legs (because Maggie’s problems are lower-body-related), I hadn’t thought at all about my arm swing.

Arm swing is something I do really poorly. It’s something I’ve always done really poorly, and it’s to point where doing it correctly feels odd, forced and unnatural. I need to fix this — STAT! My arm swing affects everything from my posture to my foot strike. And if it weren’t for Maggie casually commenting on my Jurassic arm, I might never have consciously made an effort to do something about it.

And that’s what friends are for.

Now, I don’t necessarily recommend asking a friend for a running form analysis in the middle of a race, but I do recommend that you ask the people you run with often to tell you how you run. Odds are that they know exactly what your sloppy habits are, how your form changes when you get tired, and the ways you compensate when you’re injured.

So ask a running buddy for a performance review. (No, it’s not nearly as thorough as a Video Gait Analysis, but it’s a good place to start.) Just being more conscious of your own tendencies and quirks can help you make small adjustments that can make a big difference in the long run. — Aidz

Bad Angel Rule #203

Get Inked, Part Deux.

We’ve long been proponents of pace tattoos for racing. And when it comes to having fun in this summer racing season, it’s time to step up your tattoo game and rock a ridiculous temporary tat.

Every day we're hustlin, hustlin, hustlin ...

Every day we’re hustlin, hustlin, hustlin …

Maggie and I happened upon some faaaaabulous “Everyday I’m Hustlin'” tats the day before the Madison Half Marathon. We placed them on our bulging biceps and proceeded to flash our fresh ink at every camera in sight.

And because temporary tattoos stay put when you sweat and add a little flair to your ensemble without adding the weight of an accessory, they’re a perfect way to inject some ‘tude into your running wardrobe.

So grab some tats and prepare for fun the next time you lace up. — Aidz

Bad Angel Rule #202

Beware of the Flat Shoe.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 3.39.45 PM

The culprit.

I feel compelled to share my injury story because it just might save your Achilles. Besides, I always appreciate it when people share their experiences, so when I’m scouring the Internet with my symptoms, I can find answers! Or at least I can get some ideas to share with my doctor. They love that.

A couple weeks ago, I went for a short jog, just three easy miles (I’m not even training for anything!). I felt pain in the lower calf area of my left leg after the first mile. I kept running because running sometimes hurts and I was waiting for it to go away. But it didn’t go away; it got worse. I walked the last half-mile while I tried to figure out where this crap was coming from.

The pain wasn’t responding to the RICE plan (rest, ice, compression and elevation), so I started to worry. My worst thought was that it was a blood clot because they have occurred in my family. I avoided stretching and massaging, just in case. After a week, it was feeling a little better, so I (stupidly) went for another little jog. This time, it was real. I finished up the run and iced it when I got home. The next morning, my leg was bruised and aching and now it was also burning. I could barely walk; it was time to see a doctor.

Might as well get some cute clothes to go with this ugly boot.

Might as well get some cute clothes to go with this ugly boot.

I didn’t have a blood clot, thank goodness. But I had a partial tear in my Achilles and was put in a boot for four weeks. Bummer City, USA. I’ve been in a boot before, and it’s not just the four weeks of hobbling around that’s hard. It’s learning how to run again when the darn thing comes off. But given the choice between a boot or a full-blown rupture, well, that’s a no-brainer.

After talking to my doc, she and I determined this might be a result of wearing flat summer sandals that put undue strain on my lower leg. I have very high arches and wearing really flat shoes is asking a lot of my feet, not to mention my calves and tendons. I think many of us wear these types of shoes because we think they are better for us than heels, but maybe not. I think the extremes — very flat or very high heels — can be hazardous, especially if you also ask your feet and legs to go running. Lesson learned.

So, beware of the cute flat shoes! Personally, I would only indulge if they give you proper support. And if they don’t, wear them sparingly. Also, listen to your body; do not run through pain, even for a mile. If you aren’t careful, you might end up trading in those trendy slides for an ugly boot. — Amie

Bad Angel Rule #201

selfie-stick-ban-2-408x430No Selfie Sticks Allowed.

I saw my first selfie stick on the run at the start line of the Flying Pig Marathon. And I immediately wanted to take said selfie stick to beat the person holding it.

It’s obnoxious, it gets in everyone’s way, and it makes it virtually impossible for you to be conscious of your surroundings. Also, you look ridiculous. In fact, it’s a shame your selfie stick is not long enough to capture how stupid you look using a selfie stick.

Basically, you should never ever ever run with a selfie stick. Not during a training run, not during a race, NOT EVER.

“But, Adrea, what about … ?”

NO. NEVER. — Aidz


Bad Angel Rule #200

Change the Challenge to Reframe the Race.

Recently, a friend came to me with a running dilemma: With less than a week to go before her spring half marathon, she came down with the flu and had to bail on the race. Since she didn’t want a winter’s worth of workouts go to waste, she wanted to sign up for another spring halfer. But at this point, her only real option was the very hilly, very challenging Flying Pig.

So while she has a race to run, she also has a new series of performance issues. The hilly course means she’ll have to recalculate her pace, finishing time and overall goals — she was freaking out about her imminent failure.

My suggestion to her? Take the pressure off your performance. I’m a big believer in realistically reframing your expectations in a way that allows you to enjoy your race.

In this case, I knew my friend couldn’t just “let go” of her preconceived notions of success and failure if she was just running the half marathon. Instead, I suggested that she sign up for the “three way,” which means running the 5K and 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.

I know this way, she’ll be focused on finishing and not a specific time or pace goal for the half marathon. And maybe she’ll even have a little fun while she’s at it.

Do you have a similar predicament? Here are some ways you can reframe a race to change the challenge:

  • Add a race or try back-to-back races.
  • Take on a new race distance.
  • Pace a (slower) friend and focus on helping him or her achieve a goal.
  • Run in costume.
  • Race for a charity.

Do whatever you have to do to get yourself to the start line with a smile. Remember, the race is the reward. Repeat after me: The race is the reward. The race is the reward. THE RACE IS THE REWARD! — Aidz