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Running Challenges

I am so glad I am back to being able to run on a regular basis! I LOVE it. Swimming is my #1 happy place–that is where I feel the most relaxed and happy but running is a close second. Running makes me feel strong, powerful, and happy. It boosts my mood. It reduces my stress level. It helps me manage my anxiety. It really is the best thing for healthy living, in my opinion.

Recently there was some guy on twitter, I can’t remember who–I think he was a professional runner or coach–who said that if you weren’t running less than a 10 minute mile, you weren’t a runner. There was a huge backlash, rightly so, and I hate to admit that his asinine comment has stuck with me since I read it.

I was very offended by that comment. I’ve never been a fast runner. Back in the day when I was about 20 pounds lighter and 10 years younger, I was running between a 9.5-10 minute mile and I felt pretty good. Then I had a series of running injuries. THEN I had a baby.

I was slow getting back to running after having Logan. I was working on strengthening my core and my pelvic floor. I was sleep deprived. I was breastfeeding…so I started slow. I’d go for long walks with Logan in the stroller and eventually I’d start jogging intervals. Eventually I built it back up.

But guess what? I’m still slow. I’m REALLY slow by most people’s standards. I take walk breaks. I don’t push myself to over-exert myself. WHY? Because I would rather be a SLOW RUNNER than an INJURED RUNNER who can’t run.

There are a lot of challenges with being a runner. One of them should NOT be the offensive, negative comments of “elite runners” judging us slow runners.

Anyway, I currently run twice a week during my lunch break at work. I’m back to running the waterfront loop in downtown Portland, which is around 3-3.5 miles long. If the weather is crappy, I use the treadmill. Not my favorite but it’s better than nothing. Right now I am sticking with twice a week but maybe by the end of summer with try 3 days a week.

Running Challenges

Being Slow

Does it matter? Like I stated above, is it THAT important to be fast? Or is it more important to just being able to do it at all?

One of the things I’ve noticed most about when I’m feeling extra slow, I look to my diet. When I was trying to limit the amount of carbs I ate to lose some weight, my runs were AWFUL. I was slow and tired and lethargic. My legs felt like lead. But I’d eat carbs and have a better run.

 

Being Sore

I would cross-train before I even knew it was a word. I think it’s really important for your body to do DIFFERENT types of workouts and vary it up a lot. It’s especially important mentally, too. I don’t know about you but I get bored doing the same thing over and over.

My current routine is – 

Sunday – Swim

Monday – Run

Tuesday – Rest Day

Wednesday – Weight lifting & Elliptical

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – Run

Saturday – Big weight lifting day & cardio (bike, elliptical or stair-master)

I switch things up according to schedule stuff and if the weather is nice, I will run outside. If it’s bad, treadmill. Also, in the summer we usually do a lot of hiking. We’ll see if we do that this summer!

I also think including weightlifting in your routine is really important. Don’t skip it and just do cardio! Lifting weights has made me stronger and healthier and has kept me from getting injured running. Rest days are crucial as well, and I also space out my runs. I never run two days in a row. Having at least one day in between my running has been very beneficial for me.

 

Boredom

Sometimes running is really boring. Especially when you do the same routine all the time. Before I had my baby, I went to the gym after work and had a similar routine. One day I’d lift weights and the next day I’d run on the treadmill. After having Logan, I stopped going to the gym after work so I could spend time with him. Now I work out during my lunch break at work. It’s helped a lot and gives me more time for fun stuff after work plus it breaks up the work day!

The downside? I get bored doing the same thing. Running the water front is great, especially in summer! It’s sunny and warm and pretty. But the same route can be a snooze. So I switch it up each time. Since I do a loop, I go a different way each time. I’m basically doing the same run each time, but changing where I do it and I how I get to the waterfront. Sometimes I run on different bridges, or go a different direction. Whatever works to break up the routine.

Other tips are to run to a destination (which can be hard if you are on limited time), doing intervals, trail running, hill repeats, or run with a friend. I’m too slow right now to run with my friends, but I USED to run the waterfront with coworkers. It was fun! And they always pushed me to go a little faster than what I usually did.

 

Treadmill Boredom

The treadmill sucks. There’s no way around it. But sometimes that’s your only option. My suggestion? NETFLIX.

When I run on the treadmill during my lunch break I watch Netflix on my phone. I rarely have time to really watch TV these days, so it’s a nice thing! I recently watched the newest season of Bosch on Amazon Prime. I watched “The Five” on Netflix (outstanding!) and currently working through “Safe” (Dexter with a bad British accent but it’s pretty good). That’s really the only suggestion I have. Because the treadmill sucks.

QUESTION: What are some running challenges you face? Any other suggestions?

The Full Loop

I wish I could remember when the last time it was that I ran the full loop on the waterfront. I don’t know if I documented it on here, but I’m guessing it was about 5-6 years ago. Last week I ran part of the loop. This week I got to run the full thing! I felt so happy and accomplished afterwards.

Don’t mind the derpy photo! I was trying to get a photo of the beautiful cherry blossom trees that are now in full bloom on the waterfront. They are one of my favorite trees.

It was supposed to be 60+ degrees. But by the time I was ready to run, the sun was out and it was a chilly 50 degrees. I wore my running sweater but after about 10 minutes, I didn’t need it and took it off. It was a gorgeous sunny day for a run.

Here is a photo of me crossing the Steel Bridge:

And across the river:

Once I got across the river, I did some run/walk intervals. My left knee was bugging me slightly but it wasn’t too terrible. This time I ran across the Hawthorne Bridge instead of cutting it short like last time.

After my run last week, I ordered a running belt on Amazon.I was having an issue trying to figure out where to put my work badge so I could get back into the building. But I didn’t have pockets big enough. This was the first time I ran with a belt. I didn’t particularly like it–if you don’t have a muffin top, you will wearing a running belt!!–but it did work pretty well. And it stayed in place, too, so that’s a plus.

It was such a nice day out, I didn’t want to go back into the office. I walked the last few blocks to work and then went to the gym to foam roll and stretch.

I showered and then was back at my desk to eat my sad frozen meal for lunch. It’s the quickest and easiest thing on days I run outside because I use my full lunch hour for the run/stretch/shower.

Here are my stats:

I’ve been noticing that my run pattern seems to be: fastest mile is the first mile. Probably because I can run for about 1 to 1.5 miles without having to take a walk break and towards the end of the run I take more walk breaks. Oh well, I’m not trying to beat any records. Maybe my own. 😉

Last night I took a hot bath with epsom salts to hopefully stave off the soreness from my run (it seemed to help) and slept SO good that night. I love running outside.