The Miracle Ball

It’s less than 48 hours away from Army Half Marathon and I can’t keep calm!

I have been taking it easy and haven’t been running much since Singtel Cancer Run in July. I had strained my muscles a few weeks before my Cancer run and suffered an acute pain around my waist and my back area. I couldn’t walk without limping and resting didn’t help. I ended up doing lots of massaging and managed to recover in time for the run.

A search on the internet shows that one needs at least 10 weeks to train for a half marathon. Depending on whether you are a first timer or a beginner, the recommendation is about an average of 14km to 36km of running per week. I think I barely meet the minimum mileage!

My Runkeeper record showed that I only managed to do 3 outdoor runs for the month of July (which added up to about 28km). I don’t really stick to a schedule or train with a plan but I do turn on my Runkeeper whenever I cycle or run outdoors. (Runkeeper doesn’t work on treadmill!)

The last 2 weeks felt like a final dash to the finishing line, a desperate effort to build myself up for the run.

So for the month of August, my Runkeeper showed
Week 1: 9.81km run (Sunday)
Week 2: 8.36km run (Wednesday) 53.89km bike (Friday) 32.22km bike (Sunday)
Week 3: 12.74km run (Tuesday) 16.71km run (Friday) 10.23km run(Sunday)
Week 4: 31.41km bike (Monday) 5km treadmill (Monday) 5km treadmill (Tuesday) 10km treadmill (Thursday)

I was told that I should be resting my muscles this week, but instead, I have been doing more runs. I am left with a couple more days to go and my son said that I should be more disciplined with the resting and massaging!

Research on the internet shows that muscle recovery is just as important as the workout. In fact, muscle recovery should be part of the workout.

There is a whole lot of science on recovery process and it includes hydration, rest and eating the right kind of food. Part of the recovery process is getting a good massage.

Massage can help to speed up recovery by improving circulation and helping to remove waste products from your muscles. You can either go to a certified massage therapist or do it yourself. My friends in the fitness industry swear by these massage balls and they use them for their whole body, from head to toe.

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It requires some practice to get good with these but once you get the hang of it, these massage balls can take over the job of your massage therapist. They are very convenient to bring around and definitely cheaper than going to a massage therapist!

My husband and I have been using massage balls for a while now and we pack them in our luggage whenever we go for holidays. They are good for relieving tired muscles after a long flight and are especially useful when we go for our hiking and skiing trips. We use them to relieve aches and sores from a day of outdoor activities.

There are many videos on the internet that show how to effectively use them, from massaging the sole of your feet (from too much walking on high heels) to shoulders blades (from sitting too long in front of computers). I used them mainly for my legs especially my hamstrings, calves, hips and quad areas after running.

Basically, all you need to do is put the ball between your body and the floor (or wall). The massage ball works by releasing tight muscles either by rolling through muscles or working with specific pressure points for a sustained period of time. You will feel pain and sore but trust me, those shall pass and you will be rewarded with a satisfying sensation!

Since the pain on my waist and back, I had stopped going for my pilate classes and relied solely on these balls to help me get back to running. I would highly recommend these not only to people who work out a lot but also to anyone who suffers from muscle aches and pain!
 

Let’s hope that this Sunday’s run won’t be too painful. Meanwhile Keep Calm and Keep on Running!

 
 

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2 comments

  1. Susan says:

    Where do you get your massage balls from? I’ve been thinking of getting a foam roller as I get aches in my calves and thighs after workouts. These look handy even on travels.

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