Recently, a friend suggested I write a blog post about my own race plan for an upcoming 5k. At the time I didn’t want to do that. I thought I had 2 very good reasons.
1. I want my blog posts on this site to stay focused on the healthcare that I can provide.
2. I provide those services for you! I want the focus to be on others and not on myself.
However, the following afternoon I went for a small run in preparation for that 5k race, and I realized that maybe writing a small post about my racing journey could help me tell you a little about the perspective from which I approach my own running and how that carries over into the care I provide for others.
When I started running in high school I was terrible. I don’t really have any doubt that I was the worst kid on the team. I would typically struggle to run the entirety of a race and a good day for me meant coming in second to last. Despite my lack of talent, there was something I liked about it and I kept running. Throughout college and early adulthood I would run 3 miles most days. The story of how I got involved in running marathons is probably best saved for another post, but the fact remains that I improved from struggling to finish a 2.5 mile race to finishing 26.2 miles multiple times.
The timeline of my improved endurance coincided nicely with my increasing experience in the world of sports medicine. I learned about the importance of strength training for preventing injuries and I learned about corrective exercises to address movement patterns that could cause injury. A welcome side effect to more strength training was that I got faster. The first marathon I ever ran took me more than 5 hours. A few years later I ran a personal best of 4:14. The collegiate student athletes that I used to work with would be shocked when I told them that I did all of this without ever having a major, time loss injury. Sure there would be aches and sore muscles here and there, but no stress fractures, no plantar fasciitis, nothing.
Oh, and that 5k race I ran recently? I took 1st place in my age group and won a prize. Overall I was the 6th woman out of 28. I’ve come a long way from finishing dead last!
Here are my three pearls of wisdom. The Three C’s.
Consistency, Correctives and Cross Training. I will keep the description to one paragraph each, this post is already getting long!
Consistency – Take care of your body in a way that allows you to follow each day of your training plan. Consistency does not mean “run every day”. If your plan calls for a day off, take it off! If a run is supposed to be easy, do NOT run it fast and hard. Save that for your speed workout days. You’ve probably heard the cliché “Gains are made on rest days.” Well it is actually true. When we do a hard workout, our body freaks out a little but but then it adapts in case we ever try to make it do something like that again. We don’t improve from the training itself, we improve when we allow our body to adapt to what it just did.
Correctives – In a recent post I went over this in more detail. Corrective exercises help us run more efficiently so we don’t waste energy and they protect us from injury. I strongly encourage you to be assessed and find out what your weaknesses are so you can improve upon them.
Cross Training – These are the other exercise we do outside of running and correctives. Often times training plans will call for one day per week of cross training. If your plan doesn’t call for a day of cross training…you might want to find a plan that does. When we do something different, we become a more well-rounded athlete. Using an elliptical trains our running muscles with lower impact. Riding a bike reduces the pounding on our bones. Weight lifting improves our bone density. I could go on and on.
This might be one of my longest posts so I will stop here, but I encourage you to leave a comment or ask a question! Happy running!