Thursday, October 8, 2009

Run, Run, as Fast as You Can.....or Not!

Yesterday, Spence Smith posted So You Wanna Run on his blog. I've been following Spence on Twitter since he was competing in the Iron Man competition earlier this year, so I was really interested in what he had to say about getting started running.

The article is a good one for covering the basics of getting started as a runner. And let me just state for the record that his comments on finding a Running Store to get fitted for running shoes are ABSOLUTELY correct! When I first started running 8 years ago, I made a grave "shoe buying error" and ended up having to have cortisone shots in my knees just to be able to was NOT fun.

I took a hiatus from the running after that, but decided to dive back in after the birth of child #4 and the diagnosis of my kidney disease. I wrote all about it here in case you missed it.

Earlier this summer, I went on another running hiatus to have a couple of kidney surgeries and what not, and have just recently begun to get back to it.

Spence's post got me thinking about the many different ways to train as a runner. Most of the "training plans" that I've seen weren't really feasible for someone in my condition, or with my schedule. I was recently discussing with my doctor the way I train, and he told me that it was actually a really good way to do it...surprise, I'm doing something right! :) Anyway, I thought I would share with you the basics of how I train to run, as well as a couple of tips I've learned along the way from actual, real runners.

First and foremost WALK FIRST!

I've been taught that you don't really want to stretch before a run, but you do want to walk. I can't remember the reasoning for this off the top of my head, but since I'm not really a very flexible person, I have embraced this rule! :)

Now the thing that is different about the way I train is keeping time. Unless you run on a treadmill with a fancy digital clock on it, it's very difficult to follow the "run for 1 minute-walk for 3 minutes" style of training. When you are running through neighborhoods, or even on running tracks, trying to keep an eye on your watch is difficult, so I came up with a plan that works better for me. I keep track by the songs I'm listening to.

I start my music and I walk for the 1st 2 songs that play. Then I run/jog through the 3rd. Then I walk the fourth, run the fifth, etc. When I'm nearing the end of my scheduled time, I walk the final two songs as a cool down. THEN it's time to stretch. You'll want to stretch out those leg and back muscles carefully to help keep you from getting sore. You will also want to drink lots of water throughout the day. This really helps keep the soreness at bay as well.

Now, I will stick with this routine for at least one full week if I'm running every day, and possible 2 weeks if I'm only running 3-4 days a week. Then the routine is to walk 2 songs, run 2 songs, walk 1 song, run 2 songs, walk 1 song, etc., again ending with walking and stretching. After a week or two of this, I go to walk 2 songs, run 3, walk 1, run 3, etc. Once I get to the point where I can run for 30 consecutive minutes without needing to stop and walk, I begin to add distance to my runs. If I'm training for a 5K (3.1 miles), I will begin to go that distance on my daily runs, I will run as long as I can, and stop and walk through 1 song only when I need a break. I then run again until I need another 1 song break. At this point, I finish the entire 3.1 miles and then finish by walking through one final song. This plan has worked wonders for me and I have trained and run in several 5K events and one 5 Mile event.

I'm out of time for posting today....part two coming soon!

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