Hard/Easy Running Pt 1

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It’s been a little over a year since I started running. Unbelievable! I’m proud that I’ve made it this far and I’m in it for the long run. But don’t think for a second that I run for miles and that I could outrun you. At first, I did it to lose weight, but now I’m enjoying it. It gives me a chance to clear my mind and get some endorphins. As great as running is for me, I still have this love-hate relationship with it. I was not born to run! I’ve always hated school mile runs and those exhausting sprint drills. I was always at the back of the pack breathing mighty heavily and wishing I could run faster.

I’ve been told for years that I needed to learn to pace myself but I didn’t know what the heck that meant. Pace myself? I thought I already was! I couldn’t even run a mile under fifteen minutes. Then, a year ago, when I first got into running, I did the same damn thing: sprinting and walking. I was burning out so quick, it felt as if I was walking most of my runs. One day, I pushed myself to run for as long as I could and I finally learned I needed to slow down. Gradually, I was running longer distances and I was building speed.

I initially lost a lot of weight: over ten pounds. Losing that significant amount added to my addiction to running. Eventually, hitting the streets daily, running the same route on the unforgivable cement sidewalks waned on me. My legs were beginning to hurt, but I just ran through the pain. I wouldn’t listen to my body, and one day I woke up with my legs so achy that I couldn’t walk without pain. I was a little panicked, thinking that I would need surgery or worse, I wouldn’t be able to walk again. That was when I told myself I needed to take a break.

And so I did, for about three weeks. As soon as the pain was gone, I hit the streets again. Immediately I felt the pain again, but at a lesser degree. I continued to run through the pain, and yep, I woke up again with that achy feeling. I took another week off and recovered quicker than before.

This pain couldn’t have been just shin splints, so I did some research online. Of course I had to hear it from someone else. I was overworking my body and I needed to rest my body. In fear of gaining weight, or really just wanting to lose more weight, I started cross-training.

But as the temperature started to drop and the days got shorter, my workout frequency did as well. And then I was lucky enough to study abroad. Good food was extremely accessible and cheap, and so I ate. Busy with studying and socializing, I didn’t have much time to workout.

Now, with the extra pounds, I’m eager to lose it. I started running again, but on different surfaces and routes. I’m not running everyday, and I’ve been trying to follow the ten percent rule (add 10% to your distance each week). I definitely need to work cross-training into my routine again, but also the hard/easy rule. It’s probably the most important rule every runner should know.

To be continued…