Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Starting Over: My Relationship with Running

Oh hey, it's slacker blogger Coach PK coming at ya.  I'm epically failing at this regular blogging thing these days.

First off, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all your support, comments & notes in regards to last weeks post.  I am very excited for the changes ahead.   I'm not going to lie, I'm scared as well.  I am a creature of habit that is used to routine so this will be a big adjustment for me.  I'm going to have to create a new routine to make sure I don't end up sitting on the couch surfing the internet all day (which is entirely possible, ha ha)  I am much more productive when I have a timeline / deadline, which is surely a by product of my career as a producer.  The best part is I can determine how busy I want to be vs. now where I don't have a choice.  That is one of the many things I'm looking forward to.

Anyway.  I have a confession to make.

This summer, I fell out of love with running.

There.  I said it.

I have been struggling with this for a while.  Ever since just after my injury actually (surprise surprise!).  I think I messed myself up so much that I've got a lot to undo.  I also think I have become fairly de-conditioned.  Cardio wise I'm good but muscularly, my body just doesn't know what to do with itself when I run.  I feel like a baby deer that isn't quite sure of what to do with it's limbs.   Over the last few visits to the Urban Athlete, Laura has video taped me running and she's pinpointed where she thinks all my issues have stemmed from.  My hips are actually pretty good - there doesn't seem to be much hip drop any more, which is great, however, my upper body rotates like crazy.  Most people swing their arms when they run but I seem to swing my arms and torso so I'm actually twisting when I run.  So I have been sent to the gym to work on strengthening my back and lats as well to learn how NOT to move my upper body too much when my legs move.  I can walk and swing my arms no problem but the minute things speed up (i.e my leg turnover increases) I start to twist.  My body has somehow learned this bad habit.   I think it's from sitting all day.  Much like my gluts, I think my back muscles don't work as efficiently as they should.

Running through Waterfront Park in Clermont
Unlearning this behaviour means that I am spending a lot of time with pulleys and bands in front of mirrors moving my arms and legs back and forth while focussing on keeping my torso fairly still.  HO-LY EFF it's HARD.

I've been doing this regularly for a few weeks now and I have noticed a slight difference.   For a while, pretty much every run I did, no matter how short, felt awful.  Everything hurt or ached or just didn't feel good.  I completely understand why new runners don't always stick with running because if you're not used to doing it on a regular basis, it does hurt.  As with anything, consistency is key.  We are creatures of habit and our bodies are always learning and adapting.   The more you do something, the sooner your body will learn that movement pattern.  That's the magic of muscle memory.

Despite my solid aerobic base, my muscles had forgotten what it was like to run.  Which is probably a good thing because I had built up a lot of bad habits that I have been working on un-doing.  I think I've gotten most of them out of my system, except for my torso twist, which I think will be the most difficult to undo.

A few weeks ago I was feeling really discouraged about everything but I've started to see some progress in the last week.  I've had two good almost pain free runs in the span of a week and my cadence is slowly getting back up to where it was pre-injury.  Post injury I couldn't get my legs to turn over at more than 173 steps per minute.  Last night's run was an average of 177 steps per minute which is pretty much where I was at pre-injury.  WAHOOO.

While I'm not at square one in terms of my running, I am starting over in a certain sense.  I'm paying more attention to what my body is doing when it's moving vs. my heart rate or pace or any of that and that is my focus with each run.   My plan is to get out and run at least 3-5x a week in the coming weeks.   Nothing more than 5-6km at the most for the first couple of weeks.  My goal by the end of November is to be able to run 10km.  Sounds so crazy coming from someone that just spent two weeks in Florida riding her bike almost every day.   But like I said earlier, my muscles had forgotten what it was like to run.   I'm sure my engine could get through the 10km but I don't know that the chassis could handle it just yet.  So 5km will be my max for now.  Distance doesn't matter to me, as long as I can run.   This last week has definitely put a smile back on my face......

Last night's run got a thumbs up.  It would have been two but I had to hold my phone to take the picture, ha.

Here's hoping that things are trending in the right direction because this old broad is starting to get the itch to race again.

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