Dealing with Injury- Achilles Tendinitis

Hello everyone!

Keeping up with the theme of this week, dealing with injury, I am going to take a look into another common injury; Achilles Tendinitis.

I have never experienced this injury, however, it is possible if I do not use proper running technique, or take care of my body. So lets dive into what exactly Achilles Tendinitis is, how it happens, and how to prevent it.

Image result for achilles tendinitis



What is Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles Tendinitis is the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. If it is under too much stress, the tendon will tighten and cause it to work too hard. In turn, this causes the tendon to get inflamed. The injury is chacharacterized by a dull or sharp pain anywhere along the back of the tendon, but usually close to the heel.

Causes of Achilles Tendinitis

  • Tight, or fatigued calf muscles
  • Can be brought on by not stretching the calves properly
  • Increasing mileage too quickly or simply overtraining
  • Excessive hill running or speedwork
  • Inflexible running shoes
  • Overpronation

Prevention and Treatment

If you start experiencing Achilles pain, stop running. Take an aspirin or ibuprofen and ice the area several times per day to reduce inflammation. Massaging the area may help as well. Don’t start running again until you can do toe raises without pain. The best way to prevent this from happening is to properly stretch you calves and shins.

This injury is very similar to shin splints. If you do not take the proper measures to recovery from injuries it will hinder your exercise and could possibly damage the muscles in that area long term. Long story short, take care of your body, and your body will take care of you.

Dealing with Injury

Hi friends!

Over the last week I have been dealing with shin splints during and after my runs. Shin splints is the catch-all term for lower leg pain that occurs below the knee either on the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints).

Image result for shin splints

This is the most common injury runners experience. I have been trying to figure out the reason why I am getting shin splints. As I did more research on the topic, I concluded that it is a mix of different reasons.

A lot of the time, shin splints happen to new runners who increase their mileage too fast, or seasoned runners who switch up their routine dramatically. In short, shin splints = too much, too soon.

More reasons for shin splints are, overpronation (a frequent cause of medial shin splints), inadequate stretching, worn shoes, or excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip from running on cambered roads or always running in the same direction on a track. I am guilty of all of these.

I am still a fairly new runner and I always push myself to do too much, too soon. So I decided to start over and do a mile and gradually increase my mileage, which I was not doing in the first place. I know, rookie mistake.

I am also going to take a second look at the shoes I wear. They need to be supportive enough for my feet. The are also different shoes for different types of terrain, so make sure you are wearing the right shoe for the way you run and where you run.

If you are experiencing this injury, here are a few tips to aiding your recovery.

Tips for recovery:

  • Ice your shins to reduce inflamation
  • Take Ibuprofen
  • In a sitting position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg.
  • Consider cross-training for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool or ride a bike.
  • When you return to running, increase your mileage slowly, no more than 10 percent weekly.

For more information and useful tips about running check out



Five Tips and Hacks for Runners

I have not been running for very long. I did not have anyone to tell me the proper running form, how to pace myself, the different types of running you can do to increase your stamina, etc. I had to rely on articles I found on the internet. I am not a professional and am still learning everything I can to be successful and run long distances. Recently, I found an article called “The 101 Best Running Tips and Hacks of All Time.” So I decided to compile five of my favorite tips from the article that I found to be most useful, and hopefully you will to! Here’s the link:

  1. Get the Right Shoes

Shoes are the most important running equipment there is. A proper shoe will not only make running more comfortable but also help you improve performance and ward off all sorts of injury, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and foot pain. I have gone on my fair share of runs with non-supportive shoes. They will be pricy, but worth it in the end.

  1. Tie your Shoes the Right Way

Tying shoes is something that most well-accomplished 5-year-olds can do with ease, but as a matter of fact, there are many ways to lace your trainers, and different techniques cannot only make them feel more comfortable but also accommodate feet size–vital for avoiding all sorts of discomfort and issues.

  1. Walk/Run

After a month (or even longer) of walking, you should fit enough to start adding jogging intervals into your sessions. This is what’s known as the walk/run method, and it’s ideal for helping new trainees get fit without getting hurt. The key here is to gradually stretch your comfort zone without overextending it.

  1. The Talk Test

As a beginner runner, make sure to run at a conversational pace. This means that you should be able to speak in full sentences on-the-go without gasping for air. In other words, you should be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance without much difficulty. By sticking to this rule, you’ll build your aerobic endurance base on the right foundation—this will definitely set you for success later on.


  1. Run With a Partner

Running is, by definition, not a team sport. It’s solo journey. But that doesn’t have to be that way. Research shows that peering up with a training buddy can lead to better consistency, help you become more accountable, and exercise a bit harder than you’d when you go alone—all of which can do wonders to your running routine.

“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”

In the last few weeks I have been attending weekly cycling classes on campus. Classes are everyday of the week, but I usually go on Monday nights. I knew it would be difficult when I first started because it was a full hour of intense cycling. I was nervous because I didn’t know if I would be able to do it. However, cycling classes are great because you are able to take it at your own pace. It is a very individualized activity. At the beginning of the class, the instructor will go through the different cycling positions and the different “zones”. The zones are 10-20 percent, 30-70 percent, and 80-100 percent. This refers to the percentage/ maximum effort that you should be working at during the different types of workouts throughout class.


A typical cycling class at UW-Whitewater is lead by a student instructor. During the hour, they will take you through a series of different kinds of “workouts”: sprints, hills, resistance, etc. The will call out a zone percentage/ resistance that you will want to be during the sprint or hill climb. You will repeat this over the course of the hour. Of course, there is music playing in the background, otherwise this would be impossible!

Over all, I really like cycling and being able to work at my own pace. I have a tendency to work myself too hard sometimes, but I never over extend myself. Cycling can help you know your limits and at the same time, push you to work harder. After my hour workout, I burn about 700+ calories! I turn on my Fitbit to record my workout when I first get on my bike, and turn it off when my heart rate has fallen under 100 bpm. So usually when I am doing my stretching.

Cycling is great for anyone and everyone! It is a high calorie burning exercise, you can take it at the pace you feel is comfortable for you, and it is easy on your joints! If you want to change up your workouts and try something new, I would highly recommend cycling! Go out and find a cycling class near you and try it!


-Brenna 🙂

Swim Fast, Swim Far – The benefits of Swimming

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am doing the Indoor Ironman at the gym at UW-Whitewater.  The swimming is always the most difficult part of the Ironman (in my opinion). Most people are not swimmers. It is hard! I would have to say that swimming is more difficult than running. Again, in my opinion. It engages muscles across your entire body.  Swimming burns a lot of calories, is easy on your joints, builds, muscular and strength endurance, and improves cardiovascular endurance. There are plenty of reasons to swim! Here are some more benefits of this activity.

Low- Impact

There is not ground impact when you are swimming. With running, the way your foot strikes the ground has an impact on your joints as well as the rest of your body. Swimming eliminates that.

Swimming can be done at any age

Any one of any age can swim as a workout. As our bodies age and change, some workouts can become really difficult. With swimming, it is easy enough on our body so we can do it regardless of our age.

Swimming builds muscle mass

All the swimmers I know are pure muscle. Their legs, arms, stomachs, pretty much everything. In a study of men who completed an eight-week swimming program, there was a 23.8% increase in the triceps muscle (the back of the arm). Read more here:

And it is an alternative when injured

Whether you are a seasoned athlete, dedicated runner, or a beginner who is injured, swimming is an option to maintain your fitness level.  Swimming helps you stay in shape, and it’s even part of the rehabilitation. That’s because the resistance of the water makes the muscles work hard without the strain or impact that is experienced on land.

So there you have it! A little information on a great, difficult activity and sport. So go give it a try! Who knows, you could be the next Michael Phelps and not even know it yet!



Ever heard of the Ironman Triathlon? It comprises of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.22 mile run, raced in that order without a break! That is pretty intense if you ask me. Ironman Participants need to be in peak physical condition to complete the race. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race. The Ironman is held in Kailua-Kona and the world championship has been held annually in Hawaii since 1978 (with an additional race in 1982) and is preceded by a series of qualifying Ironman events.


At UW-Whitewater, the Williams center has its own version of the Ironman, with one catch. All miles have to be done indoors! Participants have over a month to complete all the miles that would be done in a typical Ironman. I have done the Indoor Ironman every year of college. My freshman year, I did not complete it because I did not want to swim the 2.4 miles. I started the challenge to keep me motivated and at the gym. Then my sophomore and junior year, I was able to complete the challenge because I did it with friends and they were able to keep me motivated and got me into the pool. Since I completed it the last two years, I am very motivated to complete it for a third time. So far I have completed the 2.4 mile swim, biked 19 miles and have run 5. I have a long way to go, but I am determined to complete it again in my final year.

If your local gym does something similar, or you can do a challenge with friends, I strongly recommend it! By working out with friends, you are more likely to go and stick with it and if you add in a challenge, it becomes more fun!

Goal Setting

Fitness is all about goal setting. Set a number of miles you want to run in a workout, the amount of weight you want to lift in a set, or setting a calorie goal for yourself. If you take on too much at one time, you will most likely not follow through on it. Personally, I have tried running before in the past and pushed myself too hard. To the point where I would stop and get discouraged and stop all together. Taking small steps has been a huge help in my fitness and clean eating journey.

First, I started with trying to eat better. I did the 24-day challenge from AdvoCare. It jump started my clean eating. I also had to change my eating habits because I was having liver problems due to my diet. I had to cut carbs almost completely out of my diet. So I stopped drinking soda, cut out a lot of sugar, pasta, tacos (sad, I know) and started exercising more.

Here are some small changes you can make to help you with your diet/exercise regime:

  • Go to the gym two to three times per week, or do whatever you are comfortable with
  • Go for a walk form 30 minutes two to three times per week.
  • Instead of going out to eat, find recipes that you enjoy and cook at home.
  • Drink coffee with less cream or substitue sugar for stevia.
  • Drinking more water and less soda! I cannot stress how important this is!
  • Cut your carbs in half. This is tough to do because you don’t realize how many carbs you actually do eat in a day. And they are in everything.

If you are just starting to make small changes, you will see big results! Do not get discouraged. Any change you make for yourself is a good change.  This is something I need to continue to tell myself. Results take time, but feeling good because of the good nutrients you put in your body happens almost instantly. So I challenge you to make at least one or two changes to benefit your health and the results will come!


-Brenna 🙂

Crunched for Time?

We have all heard the excuse before, “I don’t have enough time to workout”. However, sometimes you literally don’t have the time, but doing something is better than doing nothing. A 20 minute, 100 calorie workout is better than 0 minute, 0 calorie workout. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that 15 minutes of resistance training was just as effective at boosting participants’ metabolism as 35 minutes. Plus there are some major benefits to working out at home! 1. It’s affordable. 2. No excuses! You can do your workout in front of the TV if you choose to! 3. Minimal equipment. You can get creative and use household items to add weight to your squats or lunges. Here are a few workouts that take 20 minutes or less out of your day that even the busiest person could find time for.

squat jump

15 squat jumps

5 push ups

25 high knees

7 burpees

10 lunges

7 squats

5 push ups

7 squats

15 squat jumps

1 minute wall sit

5 push ups

25 high knees

Repeat 3 times

Once finished with whatever workout you choose to do, it is extremely important to stretch your muscles! The workout above focuses a lot on legs, with some upper body. Here are some general stretches to do after your workout! Do each move 4 times for 20 to 30 seconds.

Forward bend

Good for: Hamstrings

Sit on floor with legs extended. Maintain straight back while reaching toward toes (even if you can’t touch them); hold.

Runner’s lunge

Good for: Hamstrings and calves

Stand 10 inches away from a wall; place palms on it. Step back with right foot. Bend left knee, keeping right heel down; hold. Repeat on opposite side.

Shoulder stretch

Good for: Back and shoulders

Raise right arm and bend elbow over head at a 90-degree angle. Use left hand to grab right elbow and pull it gently to the left; hold. Repeat on opposite side.

Heel drop

Good for: Ankle and foot joints

Stand on bottom step of a flight of stairs with balls of feet on edge of step. Gently allow heels to drop; hold.


Walk This Way

Happy Saturday!

I’ll start off this post by saying, I live in Wisconsin. It is the middle of February and it is currently 60 degrees outside. If you are from the Midwest, you know this is not usual for Wisconsin in the beginning of the year. I am just getting over having the flu, which was the worst week of my life so far, and I needed to get outside and do something on this gorgeous day.

I wanted to go for a run, but I am not sure when I should re-introduce it into my routine. After all I am still sick, and I definitely do NOT want to prolong it. So I did the next best thing…went on a walk.

Walking is low intensity, but a great fat burning exercise. It is easy on your joints and gets your endorphin pumping the same way running, or other exercises would. If you get outside and do at least 30 minutes of walking every day, great health benefits come with it.

Walking for 30 minutes each day will: Improve circulation by strengthening your heart, help you lose weight (by improving your heart circulation and increase you metabolism), loosen stiff joints, and will make you happy.

You will only regret the workouts you do NOT do! No matter what kinds of exercises you do, or what level you are at, you are lapping everyone on the couch. As cliche as that is, it still holds true. Trust me, your body (and probably your dog) will thank you. So what are you waiting for? Wherever you are located on this planet, get outside and go on a walk!



“Can’t” Run? No Problem!

Hi Everyone!

Have you ever uttered the words “Not doing that, I can’t run”? Well I have. I would always make jokes about it and my fitness level, but secretly always wanted to be a runner. I was my own worst enemy when it came to exercising. Running is for everyone, but it takes a certain kind of crazy to truly enjoy it. Running is something I do to relieve stress and as training to someday run races. I ran my first 5k last September. At that time I had just started getting into running. I ran it in 40 minutes, which I was really proud of because I had only been running/ training for a month before that.

So, long story short, I would use self deprecating humor as excuses to not run or exercise. Eventually it turned into something I really liked.

I first started running using the Couch to 5k app. It can be downloaded in your phone’s app store. Couch to 5k app is a running plan that is designed to have you running a 5k in 9 weeks. Each week you progressively do more running. I used this for a while, however, I am still not the greatest at keeping up with it. So I have had to go back to week one a few times. This app is great for someone who does not know much about running, or their limits. I will almost always push myself too hard when it comes to exercising, so this was a great way for me to slowly ease into the process.

I am a new runner, so by no means am I an expert. However, I feel so much better when I do run. It has become something I look forward to everyday. Don’t believe me? Here are some benefits of running.


1.) Running makes you happier.

In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers found that even a single bout of exercise—30 minutes of walking on a treadmill—could instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order. Let’s get those endorphins going!

2.) It helps you get fit.

This is an obvious one, I know. But in general, working out in any shape or form will help you get fit. Even after your workout, you continue to burn calories. This happens when you’re exercising at an intensity that’s about 70 percent of VO2 max. (That’s a little faster than your easy pace, and a little slower than marathon pace.)

3.) Running strengthens your knees (and your other joints and bones, too).

Running increases bone mass, and even helps stem age-related bone loss. Studies show that running can also improve knee health.

4.) Running will keep you sharper, even as you age.

A study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review concluded that regular exercise helps defeat age-related mental decline, particularly functions like task switching, selective attention, and working memory.

5.) Running can reduce your risk of cancer.

While running is not a cure for cancer, it can help prevent it.  A vast review of 170 epidemiological studies in the Journal of Nutrition showed that regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers

6.) Running adds years to your life.

A giant study in the journal PLOS Medicine shows that when different types of people started exercising, they lived longer. Smokers added 4.1 years to their lives; nonsmokers gained three years.