As many of you know, 2010 has been The Year of Moving More and Eating Less over here in my particular corner of St. Paul, Minnesota. (Coincidentally, that will also be the title of my yet-to-be-penned memoir, which much like Eat, Pray, Love will take off like a literary juggernaut and later be made into a blockbuster movie starring the indomitable Liza Minelli in the role some say she was destined to play.)
But of course THAT is for another day.
This has been the year of running for me and I've received lots of emails from women just like me (i.e. you, or not you at all if you're a dude) who want to start running as well, and many have the same question: how's it going on the injury front?
Without turning this into a litany of, "Hey doc, it really hurts when I do this," let me start by saying I feel like I've been lucky in the aches and pains department this year. But if I'm being honest, I have nothing to compare it to considering my former fitness plan revolved around watching Survivor and taking smoke breaks in my back yard. No real risk of developing an IT band injury there.
The main issue I've been dealing with since early summer is plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I'll be very honest with you: it is not severe or debilitating in any sense…not just yet. But when I started waking up in the morning and stepping down on my hardwood bedroom floors and thinking, "What the hell is wrong with my heel?" I knew there was an issue was developing.
Enter PF, a new term to contend with that before just meant we were going to eat yummy Asian lettuce wraps for dinner.
I've been treating it by backing off the longer distances during the week, and by sleeping in the oh-so-comfy and ultra sexy Strassburg Sock. So far it seems to be keeping it at a manageable level.
My right foot is presently PF free. The good news is that when I'm running you'd never know I had an issue. I don't feel it when I'm out there hitting the pavement.
So that's injury no. 1.
Injury no. 2? So far, just a tight hip after I run. And that's it.
I am presently running 4 days a week. Three days are going to be runs of 40 minutes or less, and then on Saturdays, I will push the distance a little to see if I can build it up. I have my eyes on a half marathon next spring, and I'd like to slowly but surely build my endurance.
My pace averages around 11 minute miles. This isn't blazing by any stretch, but it keeps me sweating and feeling as though I'm getting a decent workout. I also stretch post run for a good 15-minutes. These 44-year-old muscles get a bit rebellious if I don't and then it's it HELLO foam roller! (Actually, part of the stretching always includes the foam roller, and that is a treat indeed.)
I'm still planning to continue cross training two days a week, primarily swimming and biking, although when it gets colder here, I won't be biking. I don't want to create any more wind than I'll already have to contend with.
Will I run outside through winter?
As Minnesotans like to say, you betcha! As long as I'm running smartly and staying healthy, I'll bundle up and head out until it hits around 10 degrees. Beyond that, it just might have to be treadmill city.
Remember: I'm not a running doctor nor do I play one on tv. But I am trying to listen to my body and heed what it's telling me. For now, it's all systems more or less go.