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Tools For Balancing Working And Running

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For the working runner, "time is not always on your side," as the Rolling Stones would say. The majority of my mornings play out as follows:

Alarm goes off. I realize that I have 10 minutes to:

1) Brush the sleep off my teeth.
2) Find my tights.
3) Tie my shoes.

Once the initial sleepiness wears off, questions flood my head: "Do I need to use the bathroom?" "How windy is it outside?" "Is my Garmin charged?"

Then, I'm out the door. Living near the top of one of San Francisco's largest hills, my daily route consists of a two mile concrete descent to the closest trail, and ends with a relentless two mile climb up the same road.

Once the workout is completed, I'm back at my door and the recovery process begins. Unlike many pro athletes, I do not take the recommended 20 to 30 minutes to properly to stretch. If I have timed it right, I have about eight to 10 minutes to loosen key muscle groups before I'm in the shower, out the door and on the bus.

With a limited amount of time in the morning to recover from my run, limited time during the day for meals and no time for naps, I make sure that I have a "toolkit" of fundamental resources as well as habits that help me survive the nine-to-five -- tight hamstrings and all.

I urge fellow breadwinners to incorporate some or all of the following tools in to your routine.

The Stick:

This magical 24-inch tool is the working runner's in-office personal masseuse. You can perform an under the desk roll out and your co-workers will be oblivious to the deep tissue massage going on during their 9 a.m. meeting. Aim to target quads, calves and hamstrings. Glute work can be a little tricky and appear a little inappropriate, but don't be bashful! This is your health we're talking about.

Snack Drawer:

There is nothing worse than coming down with a terrible case of the marathon munchies in an office with a skimpy pantry (or no pantry at all!). You do not want to be left with a growling stomach, having to choose between a Pop-Tart or a half opened package of hot chocolate. Fortunately, I am lucky enough to work in an my office that hoards a healthy supply of dry roasted nuts, gluten-free energy bars and assorted fruits. I suggest having your own drawer of goodies. Pack it full of nutrient-rich products that will fuel your body and aid your post-run recovery. I love all Sunfoods snack products, especially Go Raw Ginger Snaps and Banana Bread Flax Bars.

Map Out Your Run:

Don't let work travel or an after-hours meeting ruin your evening run! Make sure you know of a three- to four-mile safe loop around your office where you can put in some miles -- loop several times if you have to!. Stressing out about finding a route can deter you from wanting to get out the door, so be prepared. I bookmark MapMyRUN and set a course in advance.

Icepacks:

One great thing about being confined to a desk is that it provides a lot of time for structured icing and heating. Just because you don't have an ice-bath or a hot whirlpool at your disposal, doesn't mean you can neglect the little niggles that pop-up. I always have two reusable icepacks in the freezer at work all the time. NOTE: I have attempted to ice my glutes while sitting on the pack -- and yes -- it has burst leaving me stained in blue toxic gel. I suggest holding them in place with an Ace bandage. Twenty minutes is all the time you need. Repeat two to three times during the workday if something feels flared or strained.

Mother's Room:

Now, I'm not a mother, however, my favorite place to sneak away, is the mother's room. It provides the perfect haven for a deep psoas stretch, a place to change for an afternoon workout, or, if you can find the time, a place to snag a quick horizontal reprieve that will dramatically aid recovery. Not every office has one, but if you can find an empty office, empty server room, abandoned private cubicle -- make it your nap room away from home!

Balancing working and training is a tricky task and my toolkit has saved me on more than one occasion. I encourage you to create and customize your own. Being smart and resourceful is the key to continuing to train full-time -- while workin' hard for the money.

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