Moving to a new country has meant embracing a lot of newness, a lot of change. Having to deal with a running injury that happened basically right after I moved here has meant a lot of embracing the newness on the workout front, too.
So here is where I am with things now:
I don’t want to jinx it, but I think my efforts at improving my posture and strengthening my glutes have been helping. It has been one month now since I’ve starting running again after a several week hiatus and several sessions with the physio. I have been doing my physical therapy exercises designed to improve my balance, posture and glute strength (nearly) every day, and I’ve followed the physio’s directions to run short distances slowly, to take rest days between run days and to foam roll often.
I’ve crept up from 2 miles at a time to a high of 5.7 miles today – yay! Today’s run was one of the first where I started to feel like my old self again. It has been kind of boring and frustrating to run so slowly and carefully, constantly thinking about my form and my glutes, rather than just RUNNING, for fun, like I used to. I read something somewhere that said to think of your first 4-6 weeks of running back from injury as not actual “running”, but more an extension of your physical therapy sessions. That is, not to think about pace or distance but to think of it as exercises to re-teach your body how to run properly. That has helped a little. And today I took a different route from my usual path and gradually picked up the pace by the end of the run to the point where I was actually running hard, not just trying to stay in good form.
It also helped to do a race! I was getting a little bored of my usual two to four mile river loop in Fulham, so I jumped at the chance to grab a bib for the Teach First 5K along the Thames in central London last week. I ran with Leah and met up with several other TNR girls for an easy, chatty 5K across Tower Bridge and by the Tower of London. It was so much fun to do something different, meet some new people, run with a friend and run past iconic London sites. Just what I needed.
Also, I signed up for the Paris Marathon in April! So there’s that to look forward to. I really hope this injury issue has been resolved. I need to figure out how to be diligent about keeping my form in good shape, doing cross-training and strengthening exercises to ensure this does not happen again.
I wrote earlier about my experience at Psycle, and that I wasn’t a fan really. I went for my second class which was a little better than my first, mainly because I liked the instructor a bit better and possibly I was more prepared for the dance moves. But I still just wasn’t that into it, and for the cost it’s definitely not worth me returning.
So next I tried Edge Cycle in Holborn based on some rave reviews online, but this also wasn’t my thing. I liked the concept of spin + bootcamp, but the bootcamp portion was just doing some pushups and stuff on the ground, and overall the class and instructor just wasn’t my thing. They do let you book the first class free so there is that. There is shower gel, a hair dryer and towels for the partially-open showers, but the changing area is pretty crowded and overall there’s not a lot in the way of amenities.
Third time must be the charm, because I’ve now tried BOOM Cycle and that is definitely my favorite. I went with my friend Steph to a class in Holborn this week and it was a fantastic class. No hand weights or fancy moves, but that was fine with me: just a traditional spin class with lots of in and out of the seat, changes in resistance levels, good music (2005-2010 era hip hop) and a friendly, encouraging, normal instructor who didn’t pretend we were in da club and also didn’t pretend to be a drill sergeant. All the staff there was very friendly and the showers were fab: you get your own little shower room complete with REN shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion and towels, and there are hair dryers and straighteners for after. Win. I will absolutely be returning there.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been going to yoga more than ever lately, consistently going three times a week. Something about this studio just clicks for me. I have a regular Friday date with Leah for yoga and coffee, and Steph when she can make it. I can feel myself getting stronger and deeper into the poses, but unlike with running, it’s not necessarily about working towards a goal there. I would like to get stronger and be able to go deeper in certain poses, would like to be more consistent with executing crow and wheel for longer periods of time, and harbor a fantasy about doing unassisted headstands and handstands one day, but that’s not why I go. I simply enjoy it and feel good about myself, mentally and physically, during and after class. Leah and I had a conversation about how running and racing for PBs naturally sets itself up for goals, but other sports/activities aren’t like that for me – why is that? Another post for another time.
What other spin/fitness studios should I check out in London? I want to try Heartcore and Bootcamp Pilates next!