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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I guess I'm a runner now

I haven't done a running update in quite some time, but big things have happened over the past couple months. I was starting to lose faith in running, it stopped being a challenge and became something to be dreaded.

1. I started looking for a training plan. The ones I had used previously, ramped up too quickly and even though I followed the plan and was out on the specified days, I soon started falling behind and suffering injuries.

I had heard of Jeff Galloway, he's the running coach for RunDisney, so I looked into his methods. He has pioneered the Jeff Galloway's Run-Walk method, so I decided I'd draw up a schedule and start.

2. Over the past year, I suffered the ups and downs of running, getting injured, taking time off to heal, losing whatever ground I had and then starting all over again.

Around the same time, I started researching shin splints and how to deal with them. It seemed like every running site I found all stated the same thing about shin splints, but none gave any recommendations about how to prevent them - other than get new shoes or take it slowly.

Well, my shoes are pretty new and I'd have a shin flare up if I tried running 1k, so I knew that wasn't the root cause.

Finally, I came across a website belonging to a sports medicine clinic. One of the causes listed was a lack of muscle strength in the feet and ankle. It went on to list a number of stretching and strength exercises that would help improve the muscles and help with the shin splints.

I figured, 'why not?' and made a list of the exercises. I started them the next day.

3. I shifted my mental game. I kept beating myself up because I'd been running for close to a year and was unable to run a 5k. I would push myself in training to achieve this fleeting "perfect run", which turned into an injury, which sidelined me, which made me upset, which made me want to push myself... and so it went.

I took stock of where I was over the course of my training. I never thought I'd take up running and I never thought I'd log 263 kilometers in the span of a year. But, I did. And I wanted to continue, I wanted to get better.

Runkeeper stats for July 2014 - June 2015

So, I decided I was a runner. A slow one who looks at the running motivation pins on Pinterest and convinces herself that she can do it, who wakes at 5 am three times a week and hits the pavement, (and dodges frogs, ewww!), but still runs because I'm stubborn and I'm better than my injuries, so help me! Who cares if I walk for part of it? Every runner started somewhere and in time, being able to run the full distance will come.

So, where am I now?

This all came together at the end of July. My injuries were at the point where I was ready to go to the doctor. I decided I'd do the strength tips in conjunction with Galloway's run/walk for the 5k and see how things were at the end of August. Well, at the end of August I'd logged 40k and I was mostly pain free. I had logged three 5ks with very little leg pain/soreness afterwards.

To say that I'm ecstatic is an understatement. I dread the runs less. Let's face it 5 am wake up times aren't fun, but the absence of pain makes it bearable.

I took a week off last week from running and this past Saturday, I started the next phase of my training - to move up to a 10k. I don't have any 10ks scheduled for the next 6 months or so, but I do have a vacation thrown into the mix. In addition, since I've been running outside, when the snow falls in December it will force me to move inside. Sorry, I'm not attempting to run in the snow!

We will see how things go once winter hits. We have an indoor track nearby, which is nice, but it's mind numbingly boring and I always lose track of the number of times I've done a loop. But, since we don't have a treadmill, then I'll have to head to the track. If it means sticking to a set distance and working on endurance all winter, then that's what it will be.

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