From Surgical Table to Race Day

5 Steps to Get You Back Running
 

After a great spring training, I had high hopes for a summer of big races. However, 3 weeks ago my training was side lined as I found myself lying on a surgical table getting my gallbladder removed.  For the past while I’ve had a constant ‘stich’ in my side that was aggravated even more when I ran.  After a few more painful attacks I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office finding out that I had gallstones. Seriously, it’s like the devil jumped inside me and started stabbing! J (if they had an epidural for gallstones, I would have taken it). The moral of the story is that the months of dark, cold, spring morning runs have been for naught, as I’m starting back at square one this week. I really need to kick it in gear to be ready for my annual 4th of July 5k!

On Saturday I was feeling relatively well so I went for a run to see what I could do. My plan was to run one mile. When I got to the one mile point, I thought, “Hey, I feel pretty good! I’m going to keep going!” When I got to mile two, I was so sick that I ended up walking the 2 miles home.  Pathetic.
 
When you walk two miles home, you have plenty of time to think about how much it stinks that you are walking. (I even found myself swinging my arms a little more vigorously as a runner went by in hopes that he thought I was an avid walker, instead of a failing runner). I thought about all the people out there that were just like me.  Some are trying to get in shape after a baby, an illness, or living a life without any exercise.  Whatever your reason may be, here are 6 steps to help you get back into running the healthy way:
 
 
  1. Set a Goal: Hop onto your local website and find a mile race, a half marathon, or your first fourth of July 5k, anything! You could even make your goal be that you want to be able to jog for 30 minutes without walking. Honestly, I don’t care what your goal is, just make one. It’s hard to meet your expectations if you don’t have any.
  2. Start out Conservative: Most runners come back from not running for months and expect to be able to run 10 miles. This will inevitably get you hurt.  Because of my surgery my goal is to run 10 miles total this week, WITHOUT MY GPS TO TELL ME HOW SLOW I’M GOING.  Although running 10 miles/week may not seem like much right now, it is more than I have done in the last 3 weeks, so I’m going to take it. Set realistic expectations.
  3. Leave the GPS at Home (at least for the first 3 weeks):  Forget about pace and start thinking about “effort”.  For example, the effort I put in on Saturday to run 1 mile at eleven minute pace was more than the 7:45 minute pace/6 miles, prior to my surgery. Admittedly, I was hoping I would not see anybody I knew as I shuffled my body down the trail, but I knew that this was the level I needed to stay at so I could improve by increments to meet my weekly goal of 10 miles. Forget about pace!
  4. Listen to Your Body: At this point you need to listen to your body.  If you’re hurting with each step, you need to back off.  If you are feeling like you can do more, go for it! Just watch out that you don’t get out too far then have to take the ‘walk of shame’ back to your house like I did.  Learn to listen to the way you are feeling, so you can live to run another day.                                                          ******Cross Train*****: Cross training is a great way to develop your muscles and avoid injury. If you’re feeling tired or sore, hop on an elliptical, bike, or even roller blades to help keep up your exercise habits. Increasing your muscle surrounding your bones will help protect you from that pesky little stress fracture. Cross training supplements your running.
  5. The 10% rule: The 10% rule states that you should only increase your weekly mileage by 10% each week. So if my goal is to run 10 miles this week, then next week I can only increase my overall mileage by 1 mile. The 10% rule was developed to help decrease the chance of injury.  I’m currently reading a book that talks about this rule more in depth called, “Runner’s World Guide to Road Racing”. I hope to do a quick book review of it in the upcoming weeks to let you know if it’s worth reading.
 
So get out there, lace up the shoes and stop making excuses. If you are saying that running hurts too bad, slow down and find a pace that is comfortable. I promise that if you ease into it, you’ll end up much faster than you would if you were running injured.
 
MY EASE INTO IT PLAN:
Monday: 2 MILES- EASY EFFORT
Tuesday: TAKE OFF-LIFE IS BUSY AS A MOM
Wednesday: 2 MILES –EASY EFFORT
Thursday: 2 MILES MODERATE EFFORT
Friday: 12 MILES ON A ROAD BIKE- MODERATE EFFORT
Saturday: 4 MILES –EASY EFFORT

 

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