Shedding layers

My run yesterday was what running is all about, and it was a reminder of the benefits it has to my health and sanity. It was a literal and figurative shedding of layers.

I went on my run in pants and a ¾ zip sweater. I started my run stressed out, with my shoulders set higher up with tension. I ran slow, skirting around puddles.

I got warm and unzipped my sweater. I ran through shallow puddles and sped up. I felt a little lighter.

I stopped and took off my sweater. I ran through the mother of all puddles, splashing myself all the way up my back and picked up the pace a little more. And I realized I was full-on smiling with a much clearer mind.


Sorry for the blurry photo- I was running, and my phone was in a bag!

Running in a t-shirt in March!!

Running in a t-shirt in March!!

Can each and every one of you do me a favour? Shed layers.

Leave your Garmin, and even your watch, at home on your next run. Run at a different time of day. Take a new route. Hit the trails instead of the road.

In other aspects of your life: shed layers and cut yourself some slack. Ditch the self-set expectations whether they’re at home, at work, with friends or family, wherever.

For example, I like having home-baked muffins for us to take to work as snacks. If I don’t get to it, I beat myself up. When I apologize to Kelly for not having baked goods, do you think he cares? Of course not! It’s a self-set expectation.

March is a busy month for me. Combine that with coming home from holidays, getting back into the swing of things, and life stressors and I don’t have time for everything.

Running is incredible therapy, and one of my greatest stress relievers.

Running pains
With all that being said, I haven’t been running much since we’ve been home. It’s my darn left side. I’ve mentioned hamstring issues before, and in California it turned into piriformis/hip/iliac crest pain, too. I stretched, rolled, and took over a week off running. I finally scheduled a physio appointment for last Friday.

I ran the day before my appointment to really pinpoint the pain. I was grimacing.

At my physio appointment, he used Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) on me. IMS uses a needle to activate a reflex causing the muscle to release, easing the pain. I’ve had it done before, but not over such a large area on such defiant muscles.

I had it done from the top of my hip down to the bottom of my hamstring. I was sweating buckets by time it was finished, but I felt so much better! I took that day off, rode on the trainer on Saturday, and then ran on Sunday. I was able to go 10 pain-free miles.

It felt good for the remainder of the day and the next one, too. It’s slowly tightening up again but a massage really helped and I’m trying to be diligent with keeping loose. Yesterday’s run was basically pain-free, too (minus calf tightness).

I’m trying to deal with the root of all my left side issues. I read Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dicharrry. I hope to make some major changes based on his book but want to reread it first!

I also plan to review his book on here since I swear it could be a life changer for so many active people and runners!

I still hope to post a California recap, too. I’ve given myself a deadline of next week otherwise it’ll be way too far gone.

It may be quieter around these parts, and I may have to clear my blog feed occasionally, but soon enough life will slow down again. In the meantime, I think I’ll just go for a run!

Does running help you shed those layers of stress? Is it spring where you live?

39 responses to “Shedding layers

  1. I’ve never heard of IMS, but glad it seems to have helped you so much!
    It’s definitelyl spring here – commuting home the other day it was 82f/28C, perfect outdoor weather.

  2. YES! I love this post so much. I find that the runs where I forget my Garmin at home are some of the most lovely “zen” runs. I hate that you are having some running pains, and I hope that they go AWAY! AH! I’ve been running my last few runs in TANKS and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

  3. I have problems with my entire RIGHT side. I get massage often but any time something “goes” it’s on the right side. Good luck with running pain-free! I will try that book.

    • Interesting that you have issues on your right side. I would definitely read the book. My thoughts are that all the issues stem from my pelvic tilt when I run. I see it all pictures- now I just have to fix it. Let me know if you read it and if it helps!

  4. I totally agree! Trails and Garmin-free running!
    My piriformis is acting up like a big pain right now. Grrrr. My hips are so tight. I have a race this weekend and plan to give myself plenty of stretching, rolling, massaging love before and after.
    Can’t wait to hear all about your big trip!

  5. I LOVE everything about this post! Shedding layers, both literally and figuratively. Giving ourselves a break. And PLEASE share more info on the book and your healing process. My hip has been acting up, and I haven’t been running much in the last month. I’m trying to be smart and give my body the rest and healing it needs, but boy do I want to get out and run!!

    • I think the best ‘light bulb’ moment I read in the book was about taking time off to let something heal. If you don’t fix the root cause of the pain, it will keep haunting you whether you rest or not!
      As soon as I read it again I will definitely share 🙂

  6. I LOVE the idea of shedding layers in my life and not setting expectations for myself that are unrealistic or add additional stress to my life. Thanks for this reminder, Abby!!

  7. It’s shorts and tanks weather here! This is when I remember why I like running! 🙂

  8. This is great!! I rarely have a good day at work but it seems the last couple of Wednesdays have been awful. I feel much better after I go swim!! I am glad that we have an outlet to shed our layers!! 🙂
    I have never heard of IMS! I hope it lasts and you can really recover! Can’t wait to hear more about the book!!

  9. Running is such a good stress reliever and way to rethink life, as well as a workout! Excited to “shed” layers this weekend (although maybe not that many in NYC!).
    I have way too many self-set expectations, with blogging, with being a mom, and a wife… I’ve never thought of it as self-set, but I love that wording!

  10. What a great post! I definitely enjoy shedding layers on a run…both figuratively and literally! Spring hasn’t come quite yet 😦 Cant wait to hear about your Cali trip!!

  11. I totally agree with shedding the layers. It seems a lot of us bloggers put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be our version of perfect, and if we don’t hit that standard all the time, we’ve let ourselves down. We definitely need to just shed that layer! I also get at myself if I’ve not made energy bars for us for the week, and like your husband, mine isn’t bothered! Perfectionism can be like a disease sometimes :/

    I’ll add that book to my list!

  12. I love this – I have been trying to figure out what to do to make everything fit in the day and I think the idea of shedding layers is exactly what I need. It is getting to the point that I’m not enjoying much of anything and that isn’t how life should ever be.
    I hope you can continue to run and stretch enough to stay pain free.

  13. I just found your blog:) YES, it totally helps me shed layers. I had a baby 6 weeks ago, so I haven’t been out since December, but I am so excited to get back into it. Fingers crossed that the Dr. gives me the ok this afternoon:) It is not Spring here yet (East Coast of Canada) I am hopeful that next week it will be here:)

  14. Nice post! Yes, it’s a good time to shed layers and de-clutter. Glad you had some good runs and are feelin fine!
    Oh yes, I always feel better after a run. And I think it may finally be spring for real around here. It’s been gorgeous the past couple days!

  15. Ughhhh Yes yes yes! Shedding layers is such a great term! Sometimes my garmin stresses me out on my shorter runs and I really need to leave it at home sometimes. But I love that term for everything else in life too!

    I’m glad your run was pretty much pain free!! It’s the worst feeling when something just isn’t right. And WAHOOOOO for t-shirts in March in Alberta! I ran in a tank this weekend and it was glorious…all that Vitamin D 😉

  16. I’ve had that experience SO many times. Running just does what we need mentally, you know? I like that as an analogy for life, too.

    Just downloaded Jay’s book. I think he’s pretty much genius!

  17. Running is so therapeutic sometimes! You would be proud of me – no garmin since Phoenix 🙂

    I hope things get less stressful soon! Returning from vacation is always like that unfortunately :/

    • Yes- that’s awesome about the no Garmin!!
      Other than two trail runs, and runs in New Orleans and California (I like to see the map of where I was after!), I haven’t used a Garmin or even a watch since August!

  18. Oh I need to shed some physical and emotional layers AND go for an outside run! So jealous of your beautiful March weather. Mail some my way please!

  19. Such a great analogy–I love it!! I also love that it’s warm enough for puddles, even if our feet gets wet sometimes.

  20. runnerbydefault

    Not to stress you out too much but PLEASE do the recap of California!! LOL!! I love to read about other people’s travels! So glad you could run in a t-shirt. I can’t wait until this warm weather decides to stick around for good!! Just ran a VERY cold race in Chicago this morning. It reminded me of your frozen eyelashes picture that you posted! That is how my whole face felt!

    • Brutal to race when it’s that cold- glad you survived!
      I have a recap going up tomorrow. I just couldn’t write about it to do it justice. But, if you have any questions about dog-friendly beaches or hotels, let me know!

  21. Abby… I’m so glad you posted this! Lately it’s been less about shedding layers, but more about trying to focus on things in my life that are important to me and making time for those things. Sometimes that means adjusting my routine or doing something that I wouldn’t normally do… but I’m working on it! 🙂

  22. I love this post Abby, and I love how you tied shedding layers both emotionally and physically to your run. Nicely done!

    We got 9-10 inches of snow overnight, so spring isn’t here yet… Hopefully, soon!

  23. Running definitely helps me shed stress which is why I’ve been such a basket case since hurting myself. It really has been my best therapy and all other types of activity just aren’t the same. I love this post and I wish I could shed more layers LITERALLY right now! We just got a fresh dumping of snow yesterday. Spring is definitely doing it wrong around here!

    I’m so glad you had a great appointment and were able to get those pain free miles in!

  24. You are too cute, and always insightful. This is a great post, and I am sure one that resonated with many readers. I think endurance athletes are generally Type A people with high expectations of others…as well as themselves. You are right, so many times we see/feel disappointment from others in situations, when it really isn’t there….we feel internal disappointment, and thus just subconsciously assume others feel the same way. Lighten up! It is always easier to lighten up in spring because the weather is so amazing it just makes everyone so happy!

  25. Love this post, Abby! As triathletes (and, athletes in general), I think we often are too hard on ourselves, too tied to our Garmins and the clock, try to do too much. It’s good to unplug once and awhile and just be… enjoy the outdoors, the company of others with no iPhone distraction! I hope you’re feeling better – both less stressed and your hamstring! Take care of yourself 🙂

  26. Pingback: Shedding Layers | PushMyLimits

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