I think I was initiated into a secret running club without even knowing about it.
I went for my run yesterday because it was the first day in ages that it wasn’t 100-and-Firelands degrees two minutes after sunrise. Actually, it was pretty nice at 8 am or so. A little on the humid side, but it felt good. In comparison, I saw several people on walks/runs last night around 11:30 pm because it was FINALLY cool enough to do it. (Yes, my area is safe enough where people were out and about at that hour for exercise.)
My run ended up something like this: little over a half mile walk to warm up/get to the main trail, ran a full mile (YAY!), felt shin splints trying to develop, so I walked about 3/4 of a mile to just around the killer hill in the neighborhood beside the trail, turned around and walked the 3/4 mile back, ran ANOTHER full mile (YAY AGAIN!), then walked about 3/4 mile home.
So I’ve proven to myself that in a single ~4.5 mile workout, I can run one mile without stopping TWICE. Next is a matter of connecting the dots, with less of a break in between, and getting in that third mile of running. (Normally I would have jogged a bit during the 1.5 mile walk in between the two running miles, but again…shin splints.)
Which leads me back to the initial point of this post.
I want to say it was because the weather was finally nice for a run, but everyone on the trail was even MORE friendly than usual. I didn’t think this was possible! But EVERY person I walked past during my warm-up said hi or good morning or at least afforded a friendly smile. Usually I smile and go, “PUPPIES!” if they’re walking dogs (which usually earns me a smile in return) but I don’t think I’ve seen it from EVERYONE.
Then I got to the main trail. Stretched for a minute, then kicked it up to a run. That’s when it happened.
The first jogger coming toward me waved. He waved at me. I know it was at me, because he didn’t wave at the walker in front of me, and there was no one behind me. I smiled and waved back, had a surge of happy energy, and kept going.
Then it happened again with another runner.
And then another.
Walkers were still smiling and friendly, but they didn’t do the wave. It was odd.
And then when I was on my way back, jogging the second mile after my walking portion, I passed by the first jogger as he was heading back to *his* starting point. He waved again. Same wave, too.
It felt like I was being taught the secret handshake of runners.
I’ve said before that I’ve been feeling welcomed into this world that other runners live in, even though half of my workouts are not yet up to speed.
I’m having a hard time grasping this. I don’t think of myself as a runner yet. Yes, I run for 2 miles every time I go out on the trails, but I’m mostly walking still. So if only 45% of my workout is actually running, how am I a runner?
And yet, the challenge is to think positively on my goals. I WILL get there. I WILL run a straight 5K. I may not be able to do it now but I’m working on it. I’m running, therefore I’m a runner. I have a feeling that once the scale tips so more of my workout is spent running than it is walking, THAT’S when I’ll promote myself to “runner.”
But even still, there are other people—strangers—who are recognizing what I’m doing. And for that, they’re giving me the “Hi, One Of Us! Keep going!” wave.
Gotta say, it’s pretty damn cool!
I’m still not quite up to running yet. I’m mostly doing walks with a little jogging mixed in, usually for the last 400 meters of a 4 mile walk. (And then I do approximately half a mile more for a cooldown walk.)
But there is improvement! I’m adding more distance with little change to the time that I’m out there, and my average pace is steadily going down.
Here are most of my walks/runs from the month of May, as pulled from the Nike Running logs:
5/6 2.87 mi 14’20″/mi — I actually did one long walk/run for this day, but accidentally stopped my iPod’s run counter in the middle of the run when I tried to adjust where it was on my shorts. So this is only half of 2 runs. It’s the faster half, of course. Most of it was jogging. And as you can see from the next few runs, I had major DOMS going on after this. =P
5/8 4.03 mi 16’52″/mi – I remember going slower because I was sore from the day before. Oops!
5/9 1.42 mi 16’37″/mi – This was just a short walk to walk off the DOMS.
5/10 4.16 mi 16’45″/mi — Still sore from DOMS. Just a walk.
5/15 4.18 mi 15’26″/mi — Feeling better. Faster walk. I believe I jogged the last 400m.
5/18 4.21 mi 16’33″/mi – Walk, I think I jogged the last 400m.
5/21 4.36 mi 15’54″/mi – Walk, and again, I jogged the last 400m. Notice my time was getting better.
5/22 4.56 mi 15’09″/mi – I remember this was ONLY a walk. There was an oncoming thunderstorm which pushed my speed, but I didn’t jog at all.
5/24 4.31 mi 15’55″/mi – Walk only. Halfway through (2+ miles away from home) my stomach decided to be upset. It slowed me down. The first half was about 15’/mi, second half was about 16’30”/mi.
5/29 4.61 mi 15’02″/mi — Walk with jogging the last 400m. I remember starting off slow and sluggish, but once I got moving I began to feel amazing.
5/31 4.63 mi 14’51″/mi — Walk with jogging most of the last mile (.97 mi-.5 mi, .33mi-end). The last .63 mi was a cooldown.
It’s funny to feel the improvement, but even nicer to see each run and how I did. I’m glad I’ve been tracking this online (on Nike’s website) because it helps show me there has been improvement.
Right now I’m still mostly walking and slowly working my way into running, but already I’m walking faster during my cooldowns than I used to walk at my top pace when I first got started.
My goal is to sign up for a 5k race next spring. I may be slowly working my way toward actually running that 5k, but I’m getting there!
Time and time again you hear about people saying they can’t work out in public (gym, walking/running, playing sports, etc.) because they’re not fit enough yet. They feel like people will silently judge them, or snicker in the corner about the “fat ass” who is sweating on the treadmill.
Sure, there are a few of those types. But from what I’ve heard from most of the gym rats, the worst of the criticism is in your own head. When you are noticed, people might want to help you with your form, or are seeing the progress you’re making. To quote Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” So relax, you’re probably surrounded by some of the happiest people on earth! (As long as you don’t stand between them and their post-workout meal.)
But yes, you probably are noticed. You want to know my thoughts when I pass people on the trail during my runs?
The following are some actual thoughts I have had…I kid you not…
“They’re walking on their lunch break. Good for them!”
“I think I just passed by the Old Spice Guy! Or at least his twin brother!UNF!”
“Where did she get those cute shorts? Would my ass look that good in them?”
“I’m a Barbie Girl! In a Barbie wooor…OH FUCK, WAS I SINGING OUT LOUD?!”
“I wish I had a walking/running partner like that!”
“Damn, they look good!”
“I wonder what she’s listening to?”
“Aww, look at the kids! Oh wait, one’s whining. Ovaries have just shut down again.”
“My backpack’s got jets! I’m Boba the Fett! I bounty hunt for…FUCK, I PROBABLY LOOK LIKE I’M TALKING TO MYSELF!”
“Haha! My WoW shirt got noticed! For the Horde, bro!”
“Water…water!” *a minute later* “Oil…oil! Room service! Room service!”
“They think I look like I’m about to pass out, don’t they? DAMN MY FAIR AND RED-TONED SKIN!”
“Ooh, it’s that lady with the beastly abs that I saw the first day I took a walk here! YOU GO, BEASTLY ABS LADY!”
“I wish I had thought of that. Tomorrow: French braid!”
“Where did she get that cool water bottle?!”
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Now you might be thinking that I didn’t post any of my negative thoughts or criticisms on here. I know I’ve passed by people who were more overweight or out of shape than I am. Honestly, I’m usually thinking good thoughts toward them, and am proud that they’re out there getting it done. Most of my negative thoughts are toward myself. I think that I don’t look as good, or I’m aware that my butt jiggles when I run, or I know my face is tomato-red.
And then I pass by a stranger and we do the smile-and-nod thing at each other. Suddenly I feel accepted, despite all my flaws.
Give it a shot and get out there anyway. It’s true that most of your worries are in your head. I guarantee you there are plenty people who see YOU as they pass or drive by and think, “Man, I wish I could do that!”
Sorry, folks. This post is NOT about wonderful starchy carbs (which I certainly enjoy post-workout—I’ve been described as looking like a panther crouching over its kill when I get my post-workout meal). It’s about basic injury prevention and treatment.
A few weeks ago, I went to my ex’s apartment to bring home a bunch of boxes of my stuff. I hadn’t been working out much at that point, and I could feel the flights of stairs in my knees after hauling 25 boxes and box-like items down the flights from that apartment, and back up the stairs in my house. Then, to clear my head, I took my usual 4.15 mile walk.
My knees were sore, but not too bad.
Then that night I managed to sleep with my left leg tangled in my sheets and my knee bent at an angle.
When I woke up? SEARING PAIN.
I treated it as best as I could by staying off my feet and putting ice on it. It was okay, but not fully healed, when I made it worse that weekend when I got the rest of my belongings.
Since then, I have been fighting to get it healthy again. It would feel better for a while, then I’d do something and begin to feel the ache and pain creep up on me again. It felt fine BEFORE Legs Day. The next day it wasn’t so good. Or it was great on Saturday. Sunday? It might not have been a great idea to wear those cute heels just yet.
I went to running websites and blogs to try to figure out what exactly was wrong. Shin splints sounded like a possibility since I tend to overpronate. And I won’t lie, the thought that I caused a stress fracture scared me. But I SWORE to not become a “cyberchondriac.” Besides, the pain was more around the knee. Patellar tendonitis looked like a possibility, too, but still didn’t seem to fit the bill.
I finally figured out that it’s bursitis. On one hand, OW. On the other, YAY FOR FIGURING IT OUT SO I CAN TREAT IT!
I had actually been doing the right things for treating it: RICE.
RICE (sometimes PRICE) stands for (Protection), Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It’s not a cure-all for ALL injuries, but is definitely the go-to first aid when you feel a pain that is not the normal soreness from working out.
Thankfully, I didn’t really need the Protection aspect of it, but it’s something to keep in mind if for some reason you have to keep going despite a potential developing injury.
Rest: This much is obvious. Think of pain as your body’s way of telling you to stop whatever it is you’re doing NOW. If you’re strength training, definitely take at least a day off from that body part. You should be doing that anyway. Don’t follow Legs Day with ANOTHER Legs Day. (I shouldn’t have to say that, but I’ve seen people do it.) If you’re running, take a day off. Or walk, if you must keep moving. (I did have a day where it was annoying me, not painfully, but I also had DOMS from Leg Day and wanted to take a short walk anyway to try to deal with THAT soreness.)
Ice: Pain like this is often due to inflammation. Take an anti-inflammatory pain killer like Advil, and ice the body part that needs it. In my case, figuring out that it was bursitis meant I finally figured out which part of the knee needed the ice. Don’t put the bag of ice directly on your skin, and don’t keep it there for too long. 15 minutes at a time should be enough. You don’t want to give yourself frostbite! Give yourself an hour or so off of the ice, and then ice again as needed.
Compression: Having a brace or even ACE bandage to apply light compression to the area should be applied to accommodate swelling.
Elevation: Try to keep the injured area above heart-level if you can, but definitely elevate it for circulation.
I actually enjoyed dealing with this because it meant I had an excuse to sit somewhere with my leg propped up and do nothing but knit or watch tv. Relax? What’s that?!
When I wasn’t resting, and before exercise, I focused a little harder on stretching my legs and knee. I’d warm up with some dynamic stretching, and was certain to do some static stretching after. My exercise focus has turned to strengthening my knees, and I have been taking my time to make sure I was using proper form. I push hard enough to strengthen the muscles, but not so much to cause further injury.
In my case, it helps that I’m also losing weight. It’s said that losing 1 pound of weight takes 4 pounds of pressure off the knees.
For me, Monday was Legs Day. Yesterday was my walk (it definitely helps with DOMS) and Core Day. Today I don’t have a walk, and it’s Arms Day. Tomorrow is just a walk. I can tell that my knees are feeling stronger, and my left knee is feeling better.
So if I can emphasize ANY point in this post, it’s to listen to your body. Recognize the difference between soreness and actual pain. Treat it immediately, and build yourself back up so you can continue kicking ass!
I had been using some nice Apple In-ear ear buds, since the ones that come packaged with an iPod are uncomfortable to me. They were great at noise cancellation, and were fairly comfortable for regular use. I love them to wear on planes because of these two factors. However, wearing them on a run was an entirely different story.
I have fairly small ears, so the most comfortable ear tips were the smallest pair. The medium were just a little too large for comfort. But the small ear tips were small enough that I constantly had to push them back in, even for easy workouts like a walk or ride on a stationary bike. Jogging with them was hell.
When I read about the Yurbuds Ironman series earphones, I thought they were worth a shot. I read the reviews, and of course the reviews were never consistent. I decided to give them a shot anyway.
I almost bought the Inspire Pro at Best Buy, but decided I didn’t need the mic. It was fine to trade down to save the extra $10. I wish I had known about the Inspire Duro, simply because I’ve found cloth-covered cords on my mice and gaming headsets to be more durable and less prone to breakage. I’m pretty sure the reason I didn’t know about the Duro was because they were going to replace the regular Inspire set that I purchased, but they just weren’t out yet. Best Buy didn’t have the Duros, and I no longer see the regular Inspires on Yurbuds’ website. *shrug* C’est la vie.
So anyway, I came home with the Yurbuds Inspire headphones. They were definitely different than what I was used to! The package contained the headphones, an extra (larger) set of the molded silicone ear tips, a nylon case, some “trading cards,” and the owner’s manual.
I felt the instructions for putting them in (they have a “twist and lock” technology) weren’t that great, but after a few tries it was pretty simple. When you’re used to in-ear earbuds, these were a little strange-feeling at first because you don’t feel them where your previous earbuds fit. So for a while they always felt like they were falling out, even when they were locked in. I’ve gotten used to that, however, and have discovered that it takes no small effort to knock them out of place. They definitely stayed in my ear rather securely, even on high-sweat workouts where the motion from jogging would have knocked my Apple earbuds out. Overall, I find them very comfortable once I got used to them (as compared to regular in-ear earphones).
Some people complained about the sound quality. Honestly, I can’t tell much of a difference between these and my Apple earbuds. The ONLY difference I’ve noticed is that these aren’t really intended for sound isolation like the Apple earbuds. They do block most of the outside noise, but not to the same degree. This doesn’t bother me as I WANT to be able to hear traffic or when there’s a biker coming up behind me when I’m jogging the trails.
The only thing I don’t like about these earbuds is that the cord is VERY long compared to most normal headphones, and feels slightly flimsy (which I’m guessing is corrected in the Duro set). I usually have to fold up a few inches and tuck it into the waistband of my pants so it’s not flopping all over the place. The long cord could get annoying if I wanted to wear these while lifting weights. I have accidentally caught my hand on the cord while I was running, but the earphones did not pop out of my ears. In fact, I think they pulled my iPod off of where it was clipped to my shorts!
I’ve had these for several weeks now and I definitely love them as my workout earphones. Some people have said theirs broke quickly, but obviously I couldn’t tell you my experience with that. I tend to be very gentle on them, and most of my activity with them has been walking/jogging.
Your mileage may vary, but I really like these earbuds. They are certainly the best I’ve ever used for exercise.
MY WALKS ARE TURNING INTO RUNS!
Not long runs. Not fast runs. Not even continuous runs. But not entirely just walking anymore, either.
I’ve been jogging the last 400 meters of a 5K whenever my iPod says that’s all I have left. It wasn’t a lot, but it was more than I’d been doing.
Today I decided to add a few jogging segments in whenever I felt like I could handle it. I’d look for a target up ahead and jog to that point without stopping, then continue with my walk until I felt like I could handle jogging again. I’d estimate that 1/2 of every other quarter mile was done at a slow, deliberate, almost shuffling trot. And of course, that’s when I’d get passed by these cute guys and svelte girls with like NO BODY FAT loping along like champion thoroughbreds looking like they haven’t yet broken a sweat even though it’s probably mile #16 for them. *whine* Some day I’ll be like that.
But you know what? Once or twice I passed by others (one woman in particular stands out in my mind) who were going at the same slow shuffling pace I was. I remember looking at that one woman, feeling envious because she looked like she’d put in a few miles and had a few left. I knew I was a while away from looking like one of the thoroughbreds, but there she was like a workhorse, huffing and puffing and pushing through it with strength and determination, and I wanted to be HER at that moment. In some way, I was proud of her and she unknowingly became my role model.
Then I thought, “Hey wait…I probably look like her when I’m jogging. I’m not going fast, but I’m going. And maybe…just maybe…there is someone on this trail who has seen me today and thought, ‘I can’t wait to be doing that someday.'”
So my running might not be fast or long or even pretty. I’m making sure it’s not unhealthy, dangerous, or risking injury. But it’s running. It will get better as I get used to it.
I’ve never really been a runner. This year that’s changing.
I mentioned I’m planning to start the Couch To 5K (C25K) program soon. There are a couple things I’ve learned even BEFORE starting the program that I want to share:
Wear good shoes.
The last time I tried to do it I was using OLD sneakers that I thought were just fine. They were NOT. I ended up bruising my joints so bad (ankles and knees) that I could hardly walk for several weeks.
Know your trails.
I live in an area where we have a great network of bike/walking trails, plus the American Tobacco Trail which actually has distances measured. If you know your trails, you’ll know which ones to avoid during certain weather. Sunny and hot? You’ll know which ones are shady. Rainy weather? There’s actually a trail nearby with a flood warning sign. Bug season? Avoid the ones by the slow-moving creek.
Walk your trails before you run them.
I considered just starting C25K without any kind of “warm up” as far as getting used to moving again. I seriously would have been going from the couch into the program. I discovered quickly that trail-walking involved using muscles I wasn’t used to using anymore! MY HIPS! THEY WERE SORE! So I’ve been spending a few weeks just walking the trails (trying to pick up my pace or increase my distance with each walk) to get used to using muscles that are involved with things like stabilizing my body or climbing up/going down hills.
Check your distance.
SparkPeople has a handy-dandy “Map Your Route” function (Don’t worry, a membership to SparkPeople is free! Tell them Ailinea sent you!) to help you with distance. The route I did today was almost exactly 3 miles. I originally thought it was longer! Glad I didn’t set out to do more only to discover I’d have to keep going!
Music is your friend!
I’ve made playlists of songs that are fun and upbeat, or remind me of my college crew days. For example, I remember “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers had a great beat to row to, so I included it in my “Upbeat Gym Rat” mix simply because it reminds me of those gym workouts. I have HOURS on that one playlist. When I set it to shuffle, I always have something new to look forward to.
Get a good set of earbuds.
I just picked up a pair of Yurbuds Ironman Series Headphones. I had a pair of in-ear earbuds from Apple that I used with my iPod, but they tended to fall out. I’ve only tried these new earbuds once, but so far there’s a vast improvement. They’ll take some getting used to, but they definitely stayed in. (I will do a review of them later after I’ve tested them some more.)
Other motivational accessories!
I love my Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor. A pedometer is useful too, and you can get one pretty cheap. Lately I’ve fallen even MORE in love with my iPod Nano (6th generation) because it combines a pedometer with a fitness tracker, has the vocalized “coaching” to go with your runs/walks, and hey! It plays music, too! You don’t even need the Nike+ shoes to use it. When I hook it up to my computer, it automatically uploads my workouts to the Nike fitness sites. I just LOVE tracking that stuff.
I have a variety of t-shirts and shorts/leggings to work out in. Already I’ve worn one shirt that I will NEVER wear again for exercise. The neck was too tight! Good sports bras are also important. And SOCKS! Some of my “athletic” socks have a seam that ends on the curve of my claw-like baby toe. The blister I worked up just from a short (~1.5 mile) walk bothered me in other shoes I wore for the next few days.
I have very fair skin. Sunblock is a must! I need like SPF 5000 to not get a sunburn! Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses!
If you can’t carry it with you, have easy access to it when you’re done. Rehydrate even if you think you haven’t sweat that much. Do it for your body.
Do you have any other tips that you can think of to add to this list? Are you a runner with any advice? Leave a comment to help a running noob out! ^_^