Track Running

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 Final Countdown…

…to my first 5k of the summer!

As of today I have about 13 days before the first 5k I signed up for. This one I’m running with Michael. I think we both feel behind in our training. I signed up for the two 5k’s back in March and then two weeks later had my back issues. My running had been going pretty well–I was running on a consistent basis at the gym and actually running a bit outside thanks to the mild winter/spring we had. But the back injury set me back. A lot.

I didn’t think too much about it at the time because my #1 concern was healing my back! Physical therapy, rest, ice, massage, chiropractor, standing desk at work…It took longer than I was expecting to get back to normal but honestly I think I got lucky. I would say I am 99% fixed now with some “flare ups” occasionally of tight muscles in my back but overall I think I got lucky healing as quickly as I did.

As a result of all this, I wasn’t running much or lifting weights. In fact, if I remember correctly I took about a month off from both things. Getting back into it was slow but I got there.

run1

Because of all this I would say I am a month or two behind on where I’d like to be. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be walking some of my 5k. I’m okay with this. I am going to listen to my body and not push it. It’s not worth it to me. Running 85% of the rest is good enough for me.

Michael said he feels behind schedule as well. But he also feels like he has the muscles to run the whole thing now despite that. And he’s probably right. He’s been doing way more cycling than me all year long and I think he has the cardio and the leg muscles from that to run it. He had an ankle injury early on in the training so that was his setback. I wish we were both a little further along in our training but it is what it is.

I had an early appointment and so I decided to go for a run on the nearby track beforehand. It was so nice to run outside. It was going to be a very hot day and at 7:30am it was already hot out! I put on some tunes, walked/jogged down the neighborhood to the school and joined the other runners on the track.

run2

For some reason my heart rate was spiking a lot. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe I was a little tired/dehydrated. I don’t know. But I had to walk a little bit more than normal. Despite that I had a good run and my knees held up nicely.

run3

I ran/jogged back to the house, chugged some water and then decided to spend my cool down walking Bella.

run4

I’m glad I walked Bella early. It was hot but not too hot yet and that night it was close to 100 degrees! Too hot for Little Miss to walk.

walk1

Back at the house I used the foam roller and did some stretches before rushing to get out the door for my appointment.

I’m excited about my race. I think it will be good and it will be fun to do it with Michael. My hope is that by my second 5k in mid-September will be better because I’ll have one more month to train for it!

Are you running any races this summer? How is your training going?