Baby (running) steps

“How was your run?” 

It’s the same question KK asks me every time I return from my run. I’m so busy sync’ing my Garmin to my Strava that I often reply with, “Great!”. But this time, it was different. My run was fantastic and I could not get the smile off my face. Looking at my watch, I was asking, “What? A PB?” I had just run my fastest time on a regular 4km route from home. I was thrilled!

Strava

Strava details comparing my runs on the same route

It’s my last month taking blood thinners since my pulmonary embolism scare in December. Six months of rehabilitation and slowly getting back into running. It’s not the only excuse reason I have scaled back on my running. With KK’s femur stress fracture, we’ve both been living life in the slow lane this year.

But I haven’t been sitting idle…

  • I’ve been training regularly with a personal trainer (and friend) Super Stacey. The focus of my training programme has been on strength exercises, and especially targeting areas such as glutes and hamstrings.
  • I’ve also returned to following a more balanced eating plan *whispers: LCHF/banting*. More veggies, less meat. Cutting out dairy for the first time in my life. What an eye opener! Lots and lots of water. It’s made a huge difference to how I feel. (and yes, I keep promising to update you in a follow up blog on my diet.)
  • Shorter runs. I love heading out for a 4km run before the sun sets in the evening. My route is out, up, down and back in. Mentally, it’s easier to handle after a tough day at work. I keep the longer run for weekends. And when I say longer, I mean no more than 7kms.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 9.47.16 PMI’m unable to say what has made the difference to my progress specifically, but I’m guessing it’s all of the above. It’s a factor of quality over quantity in my running distances, proper eating, focused strength training all wrapped up in one, and time… in my case, 6 months.

You can’t just run. You need to strengthen and fuel your entire body. And sometimes, you need to stop thinking about half marathons and be pleasantly surprised by the joy and relaxation of a simple 4km run.

In other news, KK is ready to start running again. Baby steps….

Squats, stability balls and stretches

The other day, a running friend of mine asked me how it’s going with my biokinetist? She knows all about bio’s because she often comes to track moaning about how sore she is and that her bio is a secret assassin. I blogged about my initial visit to Mari a while back. Mari is helping me to strengthen muscles and work on areas of my body which are not as strong as they could be, hoping this ultimately will help my running form.

Mari gave me some homework to do, which I have tried to do regularly. One is them involves rolling a ball under my foot to help with my collapsed arch. The other is to make sure I lift my head and not look down when I’m running. This may sound like an easy thing to do, but trust me, it takes concentration since I’m not used to running that way.

On one of my last visits to Mari, she realized that I am incredibly weak and even before I think of lifting my legs and knees when I run, that I need to work on strengthening them. She has given me a bunch of hamstring, glute, back and hip exercises to focus on.

I’ve been amazed at how difficult but also easy home gym is! Firstly it takes effort and discipline to do them. But they make me sweat like mad and I’m often stiff the following day so they definitely work.

To help me remember the exercise, Mari takes photographs of me at my appointment. Trust me, there’s no better image than seeing 1. Just how much weight I’ve put on, and 2. How tough simple exercises are such a strain for my body. I am seriously weak and have lots of work to do!

I giggle like crazy when I see the pics! I look like I’m in such pain and feel so awkard! LOL.

But yes, the bio is one of the best decisions I made. I am feeling stronger. I feel more confident and for the first time, I’m more in tune with my body and know and understand what I need to do to improve my running. I’ll keep you posted!

The green light

I never get the opportunity to run with KK. At a relaxed pace, he runs almost 2.5 minutes per/km faster than me. But tonight was different. Tonight we got to run track together and I loved it!

Okay, a quick catch-up. KK is finally back at track. After discovering he had a fractured pelvis after Comrades and spending 8 weeks in complete rest and doing nothing (not even swimming), he has been given the green light to return to track. He is only allowed to do mini sessions of 100m light jog with 100m walk for now. The ‘bone doctor’ has prescribed some medication that he needs to start taking and then to monitor it from there.

We still don’t know what caused it. Initial reports about osteoporosis have been shrugged off by the ‘bone doctor’ but then again, he can’t say for sure how KK managed to get himself injured? Very odd. I think KK might have overdone the training a tad?

Every runner hates an injury and when you’re out of action for so long, it’s a death sentence no matter who you are and what pace you run.

KK is just thrilled to be back at track and has committed to taking it slowly. There’s no use rushing his rehab and injuring himself again. Especially since entries for Comrades have opened (he’s entered) and Two Oceans entries are around the corner. Mentally, runners start setting their 2016 goals now.

I don’t really mind how long it takes KK to fully recover. If he needs me to pace him, then sure, I’m available. 😉

KK 2015

To be honest, not every long run is long

I’ve been slacking. I’ve been slacking on my training schedule and on Sunday, I felt it. It hurt.

According to my training schedule from my Coach, my Sunday long runs need to be between 15kms and 18kms. But I’ve only been running a maximum of 10kms on Sundays. In my head, I’ve been telling myself that 10kms is still pretty good. I mean, it’s Winter and I’m out there, running, way more than I typically run during Winter. I was doing good, right?

There are a couple of half marathon races coming up in August so I decided to do a proper long run on Sunday. The plan was 15kms. Off I trekked with the Randburg Harriers Sunday running group, route map in hand, fresh legs, big smile. It went well until we hit the 13kms mark. Then it started to hurt. Big time!

Regardless of the weekday track sessions and Thursday 8km time trials, I knew in my head that I had not run that far in ages. And I felt it. I dawned on me that I had not been following my training schedule properly and that even though 10kms was a great distance, it wasn’t helping my goals of running my 21km races any faster. I was so not prepared for the distance.

My legs felt tired for the rest of the day (such an awesome feeling though) and I could feel the run had been some good training on my whole body. But no more short runs. I need to get back into it and be more disciplined. Spring is coming! Thank goodness too because things are so much easier in the Summer. Especially running.

discipline