20 questions and counting! Thanks to everyone who has written in so far. It's been so great to have an opportunity to interact with the running community and to share my thoughts/experiences.
As I mentioned before, I am going to repost some of my favorite questions here. If you want to "Ask Me Anything," I'll be available for questions through Friday at the following link:
Question from kindleguy:
"Thanks for stopping by here Shannon.
Is there any daily exercise routine that you'd suggest to those of us who are recreational runners? More to keep the muscles supple etc?"
I really recommend setting up a good plyo routine for yourself and making it a part of your daily post-run or post-workout routine. I really like having this stuff on paper (or iPhone notepad), so I can have a seamless transition when I am done with my aerobic training. I also keep a yoga mat, med ball and stretching supplies in my car so I can do these exercises wherever I did my run. I have found that the longer I wait post-run to do my exercises, not only do they become less beneficial, but I am also much less likely do them.
So, maybe something like this. It should only take 10:00 to do and over time it will make a huge difference:
1) Walking stretches x4-5 each leg (leg cradle, quad stretch, forward walking lunge, side lunge, inchworm)
2) Lying down stretches x5-7 (crossover leg swings first on your belly then on your back, legs in the air for forward and sideways scissors)
3) Abs 3:00-5:00 (set your watch timer to 30 sec and switch exercises every time it beeps)
4) Take the last few minutes to work on any weaknesses. If you've ever had a PT or coach tell you that you need some extra work on something, take the time now to do it.
Hope this helps.
Question from gottarun96:
"Have you ever had menstrual irregularities? I started running when I was 10 and I am now 18. I haven't started my period yet."
My response: This is a tough topic but one that is important to discuss since it's a problem that has become very common amongst young female runners. I did have a year-long period of amenorrhea my Freshman year in college. I worked very hard to get to the source of the problem rather than apply a band-aid and call it fixed.
Part of the issue for me was the increased training load and the stress of college classes. I also found that I had low iron, so I worked to improve my ferritin levels. Lastly, I met with a nutritionist and made sure that my diet was balanced. My weight had stayed the same and I ate what I thought were good meals, but I was eating cafeteria food selected by myself and the nutritionist helped me to make sure I was getting enough healthy fats and proteins into my diet.
I resisted taking birth control not only because it disagreed with my body, but more importantly because if something was so out of balance that it prevented my periods, then I wanted to know that information so I could address the problem/imbalance. I have found that when one thing in the body is off, whether it is mechanical or physiological, it can disrupt the whole system and lead to greater problems. I think the most important thing for you or anyone suffering from amenorrhea is to find a doctor, coach, nutritionist, etc. whom you trust and work with them to help get your body achieve a happy balance.