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Creating active self care habits: Runners Edition

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When was the last time you scheduled a recovery week?

Do you have healthy self-care habits you program in every week?

The habits don’t have to be life-changing—they just need to be beneficial, realistic and repeatable.

My last column was about scheduling your running program around your hormonal cycle. Today’s column will focus on the Luteal Phase or the “self-care phase”.

During the Luteal Phase, there is a rise in progesterone and a drop in oestrogen—it’s around the 15-28 days phase (going off a regular 28-day female hormonal cycle). Yep—you may experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) during these two weeks. Brilliant.

In the Luteal phase we focus on:

  1. Reducing your running load by 10-20% (depending on “feel”)
  2. Reducing your high impact circuits by 10-20% (depending on “feel”)
  3. Decreasing intensity of the workout
  4. Changing resistance training to lighter weights and higher reps
  5. Increasing body mobility training and de-loading joints—Pilates, Hydrolates (Pilates in the water), Yoga, etc
  6. More recovery days—maybe a hike instead of a run
  7. Be extra kind to yourself. Self-care habits are the key.

The last point is the big take-home point for this column—self-care habits.  We need to be consistent with the healthy habits we create. Consistency builds discipline, discipline builds habits.

The regular self-care habits you choose will define your recovery from your running (or workouts) and how you respond to a high volume week. Choose your recovery habits wisely.

Over the years I’ve tested many recovery mechanisms. Some were a complete waste of time, and others I continue to do decades later.

Having three little kids and living in the Fantastic Mess, means I need to choose my recovery habits wisely (time-poor is an understatement).

Here are my five recovery habits for self-care

1) Two minute cold/hot/cold/hot shower in the morning, always ending on heat.

2) A 30-minute walk with the baby—I catch up on emails here, and it’s where I come up with my businesses inspo! Often, I’ll also not bring my phone, depending on what needs following up.

3) Meditation or breathwork for five minutes in the morning after my cold/hot/cold shower. I aim for 15 minutes on a day where I have two kids away for a half-day!

4) YIN Stretches (long holds) in the evening—once the Fantastic Mess is asleep.

5) Water—I always have a full water bottle in the car.

All of these simple habits are beneficial, realistic and repeatable.

Every week for the past 14 weeks, I’ve been encouraging you to add a HerWorkout circuit to your week. Here’s this week’s offering.

Her Self-Care Workout: Runners Edition

1) Thigh, hip and spine opener

2) Hamstring stretch

3) Kneeling hip adductor stretch “Frog”

4)  Bridge hold single leg extension

5) Hip flexor stretch kneeling

You can print the PDF here, and watch the two-minute IGTV clip on HerCanberra’s Instagram today.

The five simple exercises are beneficial, realistic and repeatable. See the pattern here?

If you need inspiration for more simple repeatable movement programs, subscribe to the Capital Hydrotherapy YouTube channel (a new workout is released each fortnight).

I think it’s time for a DYI at-home- retreat. Next column I’ll lock in a date and have a program outline ready—let’s create healthy habits together.

Who’s keen?

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