ThyPeace

Anyone have advice on learning to run?

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So I've been through my 3 Whole30s, and I now live a Whole30-ish daily life.  Love it, feel great, want to continue doing it.  Since last summer, I've been very slowly building my body back up from completely trashed to something approaching functional.  In September, I very cautiously ran staggered my first 100 steps.  And then walked a while, and then tried it again.  I've worked up to the point where I can alternate running and walking for 3 miles in about 38 minutes.  So not fast.  And also more than I have ever run before in my 48 years of wandering around this planet.  I was a swimmer and biker as a kid and absolutely despised running.  (This may have had to do with being the youngest and smallest kid in my class.)

 

So here I am, several months later.  I can make the big loop around the campus near me and not be dying by the time I return.  I've learned that getting up at 5:45am and going outside is actually awesome, particularly on a crystal clear winter morning when the stars are out.  

 

I don't think I'm doing anything too crazy.  I'm trying to take care of my body -- and I know from old swimming injuries that even the "gentlest" of sports can really create havoc.  I really don't want to end up with a significant injury, and I'm starting to notice some aches and pains.  The inner side of my left foot hurts, for example.  I think that's from the new shoes I bought, which seem to fit my feet differently than the old ones.  My calves ... well no, whatever is below the calves, just above the ankles... ache, which all appears to be muscle stuff that I remember from when I first started trying to do this and the muscles just weren't there.  Not worried about that part.  More worrisome, though, is that my back aches.  Not just muscle aches, but pain that I recognize as "back is not stable and trying very hard to stay stable."  I have previously herniated a disc, so know what that feels like.  I am sure that means I'm doing something wrong.  What I don't know is what I'm doing wrong or how to change it.

 

So....... how do I learn to run in a way that won't hurt?  Speed isn't my first goal, nor is endurance.  My first goal is to be able to run when I'm 100 years old.  After that, I'll learn to run a long way.  After that, if there is improvement to be had, I'll run faster.  I've been reading a few books -- Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run method really helped me figure some things out, and made it possible to go from 2 miles a day to 3 miles a day.  I just started reading something called The non-runner's guide to marathon training, which has a fascinating title if nothing else.  And I read Born to Run because it was highly rated on Amazon, and I have to say was a good read.

 

I am also quite shy about this, and tend to prefer research things myself to showing up at a gym or training session.  Because, you know, gym-class humiliation as a kid.  

 

Thanks for any input folks may have!

 

ThyPeace, would never have said this, but actually really loves her sorta-running workouts.

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http://www.runnersworld.com/ask-coach-jenny/the-worlds-simplest-learn-to-run-program

 

No more, no less.
  1. Warm up five minutes. Start every running workout with five minutes of walking to prepare your body for the demands of running. ...
  2. Run and walk by your body.
  3. Stick with 20 minutes. ...
  4. Finish happy. ...
  5. Be the tortoise, not the hare. ...
  6. Finish with a five-minute cooldown. ...
  7. Run to infinity and beyond!

I'm going do this, too.   

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I downloaded a free couch-to-5k app on my phone ages ago and still use it to recondition myself back to running when it's been awhile. It's gradual and motivating, and allows you to go back a day or even a week if you feel you're not quite ready to move on. All of the apps are about the same, just with a different voice or appearance. Choose a free one, and if you don't like it, try a different one.

 

Also, I found what really helped alleviate foot, hip, knee, and back pain was investing in a really good pair of trainers. I went to a running store and had the people there fit me with a couple of really good pairs to choose from. They were all pretty pricey, and felt about the same, until I went outside and actually ran around the block in them. Then I could really tell which ones were the right shoes for me. Any good running store will let you try them on and run either around the store (if its a big store, or in the hallway if it's in a mall) or around the block, and mine lets me return them in a week or two if I start running in them and find they aren't the right ones for me.

 

Good luck!

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In addition to being fitted for appropriate shoes by a professional I think that your back pain could be helped by having a stronger core to stabilize your spine, especially with your history of disc herniation.  Hip strength is also an area to work on.  I am a physical therapist assistant in an orthopedic-based out patient clinic and these are the areas we would work on with runners - shoes, core and hip/knee strengthening.  If you are interested in physical therapy I think Maryland has direct access which means you don't need a referral from an MD.  Hope this helps. :)

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Thanks for the advice, everyone.  I think I am already doing the Runner's World learn to run program, which is reassuring -- I'm doing something right.  Thanks, MeadowLily.  I've looked at C25K apps, and at this point I can already move my body for (approximately) 5K.  What I need to do is do it without it hurting.  So the idea about shoe fitting is a good one, as is building core strength -- thanks NoMoreCrunchyCravings (great handle, too) and bpaitsel.  I have a hard time changing routines, and I think changing such that I am doing some strength work a couple of times a week instead of going out to wal/run needs to be one of my changes.

 

As for shoe fitting, sigh.  I just bought a pair of expensive shoes at a place where I'd expected to have good help, only to have absolutely no one in the entire shoe department.  I will try a different place and just swallow the cost of these -- they are hurting my feet and I know it.

 

ThyPeace, taking today entirely off.  Amazingly hard to do, actually.  I guess the endorphin thingies got to me.

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Hello!  I'm a 40 year old woman and avid distance runner.  My absolute first recommendation would be to go to a local running store (NOT a random shoe store, sporting goods store, or "big box" store) and get fitted by a professional.  I don't know what's near you, but Road Runner Sports and Fleet Feet are two popular ones.  They will analyze your gait and determine if you need a neutral shoe or something with some support/stability.  Otherwise, I think you're doing great!  You're already a runner, you just need the right equipment to do it without pain.  Good luck!  :)

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Hi megmac76 -- 

 

Thanks for both the encouragement and the specific store recommendations!  I had been thinking of the Foot Locker, which is the only well-staffed shoe store I've been into recently.  I had been resisting, though, thinking that if I bought sneakers there when I was 15, it's probably not the level of store I'm looking for.  There is a Road Runner Sports not too far from my house, though, so I'll try going there one evening soon.  Maybe I'll take along my Red Wing steel-toed shoes.  They're the most comfortable shoes I've had in years, but they're just a wee bit heavy for running.  

 

ThyPeace, 30 minutes of aerobics/strength training and then went running for another 30 minutes yesterday.  Okay, I admit it.  I'm a little sore.  Long-distance runner I am not.... yet.

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Right, bring shoes I actually have gone running in.  Makes sense and I will.  I hope to go this weekend, when DH and I have no plans.  

 

I have found, interestingly, that reading these books about long-distance running make me focus too far ahead of myself.  I tend to think, "Hey, five miles!  That's a beginner's distance -- I should be able to do that!"  And then my body reminds me that no, really.  I am actually a beginner and a run-walk of three miles is plenty enough of a challenge.  And that yes, even if I run slow as a turtle, I am working at an interval training level that gets my heart rate into my peak zone and that there is a darn good reason why I slow down and walk.  I looked at my heart rates from my last few workouts, and gee.  Aerobically anyway, I am getting a good workout.  The leg strength and speed, well, I churn along.  (And I can see muscles in my legs now.  :))

 

So although the books are interesting, I am trying to focus a little more on what my body actually says is possible.  I am not, and never will be, an elite athlete.  In this sport, I'll probably never even make it to whatever the 50th percentile is.  Except that I am not on the couch, so maybe that alone gets me to the 50th percentile.  So if I'm still off the couch when I'm 90, I might be an elite athlete!

 

Heh.

 

And on that goofy note, I'd best go back to other things.

 

ThyPeace, staggering along and trying not to get ahead of herself.

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You also might want to check out sponsored Jeff Galloway plans. Often, there are local groups that sponsor his program, and you can join. I know you said that you didnt want to join a training session - but I really had a fantastic experience. I was a little afraid of the gym class experience, but the group was extrememly supportive. They dont leave anyone behind.

I have a few old injuries and it has helped me run without the pain. And the group support is great :)!

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training-groups/list-of-cities/

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Thanks for the feedback!  I went to a local running store that was highly recommended by a runner (Potomac River Running, if anyone is in the DC area).  I had a great experience -- the manager spent more than an hour with me working out my gait and the best shoe for me.  I can't remember half of what we talked about, but I ended up with a Mizuno shoe and an arch-support insert.  My feet still hurt, but not nearly as much as they did before.  Apparently I have a pretty normal gait with slight overpronation and somewhat flat, but not completely flat, feet.  A stability (I think?) shoe corrected the overpronation on the right side, but did not change what was happening on the left.  The arch support feels better than without, but still didn't correct that.  The manager's best guess is that it's a lack of strength somewhere on my left side, which is certainly possible.  Whatever the case, I feel somewhat better and I think I am running better.  

 

And regular rest is definitely helping.  I ran-walked more than 3 miles on Monday morning, took Tuesday off from running and just walked, and this morning I ran for almost 2 solid miles without stopping.  Go me!  I think that's my farthest straight run.  As for the Jeff Galloway plans, I have a very odd schedule and thus far have found that I'm far better off just accepting that I have to finish my workout and be back in the house to make breakfast by 6:30am.  If Jeff or someone he trained happens by my house at 5:45am, I may consider it.  But... I'm cheap and don't want to pay for a personal trainer at that hour yet.  If I become even more serious about running, though, I may!

 

ThyPeace, has continued reading the books about running.  Still haven't managed to get consistent on strength training.

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Thanks for the visual, Kirkor!  I try hard to run like the first guy, and still run like the second guy in many ways, I'm sure.  

 

That said, I want to share a personal milestone.  Today, for the first time, I ran THE WHOLE WAY.  Now, this was only 2.75 miles.  But even when I was a fat kid in high school and had to run the mile, I ended up walking a lot of it.  I have never in my life considered that I might run continuously for more than 30 minutes, which is what I did.  32 minutes, 5 seconds, to be exact.  

 

I had set out to do my usual 2.15 morning miles, which I have been doing for much of the last two months as a "short" day.  After I ran that without a break to walk -- and it surprised the heck out of me that I did! -- I still had ten minutes left in my half hour.  So I went ahead and continued running around our "block."   That's another 0.6 miles, and there you have it!  32 minutes, 2.75 miles, and I feel so completely awesome that I want to go out and run some more.  

 

And in fact, when I got home, I felt as though I could have run more.  My feet are a little sore, yes, and the other spots that tend to get tired first were just starting to let me know that they were tired, but I think I could have gone another mile.

 

Woohoo!  

 

ThyPeace, going to be totally chipper for the rest of the day.

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And in fact, when I got home, I felt as though I could have run more.  

 

THAT is awesome!  Good to "leave some in the tank"!  That's how you know you're in the Goldilocks zone --- push yourself but don't kill yourself.

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start doing core strength exercises - pillates or yoga.  these will certainly help the back aches, and joint issues.

 

start slowly, build up gradually, don't expect miracles overnight.

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Thank you, Crastney!  I have been meaning to work in some thing like that, and took your advice this morning -- 30 minutes of yoga and core exercises after a 32 minute run.  Yes, I did it again!  Slower this time, and I felt more tired, but it doesn't matter -- I did it!  If I could have an hour to do this combination of exercises every morning, I would really enjoy it.  I'll probably be able to do that this summer, come to think of it.  The get-the-kid-to-school problem eases considerably at that point.

 

ThyPeace, 32 minutes, 50 seconds today.  Interesting to adjust running styles as different parts of my legs get tired and recover.

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This week, I upped the distance to about 3.3 miles.  I've done that twice, both without walk breaks.  Monday it was pretty easy.  Today it was exhausting and my entire body hurts.  I promised my body that I won't increase the distance again until this distance hurts a little less.  I am also short on sleep and high on other stress this week, so that may contribute.

And isn't it cool?  I ran 3.3 miles. Without stopping.  Twice.  Woohoo!!!

 

ThyPeace, hoping for one more run that distance this week.  

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ThyPeace, that's AWESOME!! :D Way to go! My husband runs 3.5 miles at happy snail pace, which is somewhere around 13:30-14:30 per mile. He really enjoys it. I told him I don't care how fast or slow he goes, as long as he has fun and moves. :)

 

I was a skinny kid growing up and always wanted to run. I'd run in field day competitions and go as fast as I could, and other kids would be FLYING past me! Some people are built for speed, and some are not. We all have different limits, and you never know what yours are until you push yourself. Just don't push yourself too hard or too fast. Listen to your body and never push through what feels like an injury. You're doing fantastic, and I am so excited for you! I remember the feeling of running continuously for a mile, then 1.25 miles, etc. and I was so excited with each milestone! I am truly happy for you! Please continue to share your victories. :)

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Well, so, not a victory, but I'll share it anyway.  I did my last 3.3 miles for the week on Saturday, meaning that I ran 10 miles for the week.  Total distance moved (walking, running, walking in place, chasing the cat), according to my fitbit, was something over 42 miles.  Ran with my husband who, darn him, is far better at this stuff than I am.  Even though he hasn't run a lick in many years and avoids it because of the lack of cartilage in his knee.  Still ran me ragged.  This was good, in that I finished a full minute faster than I've done that distance before even though it was about 15 degrees hotter than I've done it before and there was full sun instead of it being dawn.

 

The bad part is how sore I still am two days later, particularly in whatever those two tendons on the back of the knee are called.  Right knee, to be specific.  I was also completely wiped out afterward, I think from how hot I got.  And yes, I drank a lot of liquid.  I was just -hot-.  And I will not mention how unbelievably obnoxious it is to chatter at someone who doesn't have the breath to answer.  I nearly pushed him off the trail a couple of times.  Luckily, he's a fantastic cook and keeps me warm at night, so I didn't.  But it was a close thing.

 

Final interaction, as we started to climb the last steep hill:  

 

DH:  "So how about that Nats game last night?"

Me:  "Shut. . . . Up."

DH:  *Snicker*

 

So... this morning I reduced the distance and was back to doing a combination of walking and running.  Once I warmed up, there wasn't pain anymore, but just leaded weights in each shoe.  Ah well.  Live and learn.

 

ThyPeace, have also not had a rest day in more than a week.  Taking one soon.  Maybe tomorrow, we'll see.

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After a week of recovering from the above craziness, in which I did no continuous runs at all and very low mileage, and then a week of vacation with lots of walking and only two sort-of runs, I am back in action this week.  Yesterday I woke up insanely early and, since I couldn't get back to sleep, decided to try a longer route that I've been thinking of.  It turns out to be about 4.2 miles, so a little less than a mile longer than my previous longest.  

 

I ran the first third, which is flat and then downhill.  Easy peasy.  The uphill climb from there is not easy, so I started alternating running and walking. As I got further along, the walks got longer and the runs shorter, but I was still able to run at the end and felt as though there was still energy there when I walked back in the house.  I'm happy with that for the first time at a new distance.  Next I work on reducing the amount of walking and improving my time.  

 

I also came away, as I often do at a new high mileage, with a leg ache.  The back of my right knee, to be specific.  This is something that used to happen to me All. The. Time. as a kid.  It has happened pretty regularly as I increase mileage, and seems to get better as I acclimate to whatever the new mileage is.  As I wander the internet, I'm guessing the things that hurt are the hamstring tendons, where they pass behind the knee.  It aches far less today than it did yesterday, and even by last night ached less than it did earlier in the day.  

 

So I'm wondering -- has anyone else experienced it, and is there something I could do to build the... strength?  Do tendons have strength?  In that part of my body more solidly?

 

ThyPeace, because hey, I'd still like to get to 5 miles someday.

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Not much you can do to "strengthen" a tendon.  You should definitely be stretching and foam rolling.  Imbalances between your quad and your hamstring can cause hammy injuries.  If your quad is rotating due to imbalances or tightness, it can cause pain in the knees (usually the top/front).

 

If you are experiencing soreness after adding mileage, consider that the recommendation for mileage is 10% total.  That means no more than 10% in a week and no more than 10% each day. So if you currently ran 100 miles in a week (nice round number), your weekly increase would be no more than 10 miles but you would not tack that all onto one day since your daily mileage of around 15-20 would only allow a 1.5-2 mile increase.  In your example above, your mileage increase from your first longer run to your most recent was 30% which is a bit high, in my experience.

 

You should also be sure you are eating proper post workout food (protein and starchy veggie) as protein is going to be used in the recovery/muscle building process and you should be drinking lots of water and icing after each workout.

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