lessons learned: compression and hydration

5 Oct

Today I tried out a couple of new things on my run. The 1/2 marathon is less than 3 weeks away and I want to do everything I can to be ready.

According to my training plan, I was scheduled for a 45 minute tempo run this afternoon. What is a tempo run? Here is the definition according to my training guru, Hal Higdon:

Tempo Runs: This is a continuous run with a buildup in the middle to near 10-K race pace. A Tempo Run of 30 to 45 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes easy running, build to 15-20 minutes near the middle, then 5-10 minutes easy toward the end. The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout. Hold that peak only for a minute or two. I consider Tempo Runs to be the “Thinking Runner’s Workout.” A Tempo Run can be as hard or easy as you want to make it, and it has nothing to do with how long (in time) you run or how far. In fact, the times prescribed for Tempo Runs serve mainly as rough guidelines. Feel free to improvise. Improvisation is the heart of doing a Tempo Run correctly.

I have found tempo runs to be difficult. It is a mental battle to stay at a more uncomfortable pace for a certain length of time and I have yet to be consistent at this. What it has done is make me run faster – that is key. If I want a faster time, I must run faster.

Ever since the ankle issue began, I’ve been reading more and more about the benefits of compression socks. Compression socks are supposed to help with circulation in your calf and foot and help prevent blood pooling (gross, right?). I know many runners swear by them. Runners who have ankle and foot issues.  Hey, that’s me! At this stage in the game, I’m willing to try anything so I snagged a pair of Sugoi’s and took them on their maiden voyage .

The verdict?
I loved them. They felt good and solid on my feet and calves, but they weren’t so tight that it was uncomfortable. My legs have not felt that good in a long time. My ankle stayed pain free the entire run! Was it all the socks? That’s really hard to say. Maybe it was all in my head. Maybe it’s because I’ve been diligent with icing, resting and being good to my ankle. It doesn’t matter to me really, I’m sticking with the socks. Plus, don’t I look super cool?


Have you tried compression socks? What do you think?

The other new thing I tried was to run dehydrated. This I do not recommend.  I did not realize I was dehydrated before I left, but it didn’t take me long to figure it out.

Although my legs felt great, my breathing was a mess. I could not seem to get it under control. I even had to stop a few times because I just couldn’t get any air. As I thought about my day, I realized all I had had to drink was two cups of coffee and not even a full glass of water. Hello? Not smart. Do not try this at home.

I struggle with water. I don’t love it. I drink it, but not nearly enough. I have a hard time getting in a lot of fluids. If I’m in the office, I drink a lot of tea. There are many days, however, where I am out and about and don’t even think about it. It’s time to start thinking about it.

Do any of you have a hard time staying hydrated? Any tricks or tips you can share on how I make sure I’m drinking enough?


13 Responses to “lessons learned: compression and hydration”

  1. Brittney October 6, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    I DEFINITELY struggle with hydration too! I bring a normal sized water bottle to work every day and I’m lucky if I drink half of it. Terrible! I make smoothies for breakfast a lot to try and get liquid in me that way. I’m not a naturally thirsty person so it’s just really tough for me! Good luck with your upcoming half! I have one in November I’m training for.

    • jen October 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! Good call on the smoothie. I just heard that after the age of 30, we lose our natural ‘thirst’ so we have to make an even bigger effort. Crazy.

  2. Fav Sista October 6, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    First of all Jen. The 70’s called – they want the socks back! HA! I could not pass that up. Actually you do look cool.
    As for hydration – I am a believer and always have water with me. I drink 2 huge glasses of water (24 oz. each)at work each day – one during the morning and other afternoon. I have a water bottle in my car and use it often. I just know for me that I need to be hydrated to feel good and have energy. Thankfully I love water! I tried adding those packets to it but would get headaches from all the sugar they include-nasty. So, I just go with plain water – my favorite! Add some lemon or lime wedges or cucumber! Very fresh!

  3. Ann October 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Put a glass by your kitchen sink. Everytime your there fill it up and take a long drink. A wise woman told me to do that a long time ago. It does work, the glass is a reminder:)

    • jen October 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

      Ann – do I have to have my hand on my hip while drinking? :)

      • Ann October 7, 2010 at 7:23 am #

        whatever floats your boat!

  4. Michelle October 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    I have recently become a big fan of coconut water. It has natural electolytes, more potassium than a banana but no added sugar (be sure to read the label because sometimes it is sweetened). It tastes great and is very refreshing. I recommend drinking it cold. Some of it comes in “flavors” but I like the unadulterated version.

    • jen October 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

      Michelle – thanks for the tip. I’ve drank coconut water after running before, but maybe I need to just add it into my day too. Thanks!

  5. Liza October 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Two things – yay for compression stockings. They are so sexy!

    Jen – I know how you love to be challenged. How about buying a cute new stainless steel water bottle and challenge yourself to work up to drinking 96oz/water/day? Measure it out so you know how much that is – 12, 8oz. cups. For me that translates to filling up my water bottle three times. I divide them out to early morning, late morning/lunch, afternoon/early evening. I try to be done by 8pm so I am not peeing all night. It is very noticeable to me when I don’t drink enough.
    Also – add a mint leaf or a piece of fresh ginger to the water to switch it up.

    Good luck!

    • jen October 7, 2010 at 7:56 am #

      Liza – you know me to well. 96 oz is a crazy amount for me to fathom. I think I might start with 64 oz of water plus all the tea I drink and then go from there.
      I have about 4 stainless steel water bottles that I don’t use. It drives Brette crazy! :)

  6. Angela (the diet book junkie) October 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    i love my compression socks! although truth be told, i’m having troubles with my ankles this week (this may be due to overtraining and not enough protein though. sigh…)

    i used to have the same problem with drinking enough water. it’s not that i didn’t LIKE water (i love the stuff) i just didn’t have enough time to do it! but now i’m compulsive, i realized it’s not worth the headaches and low energy. if you’re out and about, i’d say keep a water bottle in your purse (or car?) it’s definitely worth it :)


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