Monday, March 14, 2011

Running Progress

It has been almost 6 weeks since my last post – that was my first week of running since getting treatment for my calf issues.

Since then I have officially graduated from physical therapy!  I am now free to run! – but I am taking it slowly for the next month or two, so I don’t end up back there again.

Since starting out at 10 minutes per run, I have built up through 15, 20, 25, and 30 minutes at a time.  Last week I ran for 52 minutes, a couple of times.   It feels so good to be able to run without any pain or soreness, during of after each run.

So what am I doing differently now?

  • warm-up/cool-down
    for the last few years I have paid very little attention to a sufficient warm-up or cool down.  I was always stretched for time, so I just started running at a pretty fast pace, and when I got home I stopped.  Seems simple enough, but this may be one of the leading factors for getting injured.  I now have at least a 5-10 minute warm-up – whether it be starting with a brisk walk and then increasing speed to get the blood flowing with a few stretches thrown in, or some time on the bike trainer. 
  • stretching – lots of it
    a major part of the physical therapy was stretching – focusing on the calves (gastroc & soleus) hamstring and IT band.  I always tried to stretch after a run before, but it took 2-3 minutes max.  My first round of exercises during PT was 10 minutes of calf stretching alone (5x20sec gastroc stretch per leg then 5x20sec soleus stretch per leg), and 5x30sec hamstring stretch. 
    So now when I finish a run, I take 10-15 minutes to stretch properly – so far so good.  It does take a bit longer, but is definitely worth the effort.

With the progression I am making – I will have enough time to build up to running for 2hrs, that is in the ballpark for a 1/2 marathon by Eagleman (June), I hope in that time I can improve my speed too.

During my last visit to the PT – I asked about how I should structure my runs, she said I should not focus on speed, just let it come.  So now on the longer runs, I am trying not to maintain a pace, just going with what feels right – in the comfortable/comfortably hard area.   

For my 52 minute run last weekend, I averaged  and 8:00 minute mile – this is a lot faster than I had hoped for at this point.  My HR for that period was 143, if I can continue to improve on that, I am already ahead of last year’s running!