Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

I am a runner.

with one comment

For the past few years I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with running. I really enjoy running, but it hurts my shins. So from time to time I would try to make running a habit and just put up with the shin pain, hoping it would go away. But I’ve always given up after awhile because the pain didn’t go away. I thought something was really wrong and I might be doing more damage by continuing to run.

Last winter we went to Bally’s for a few months, and I got into a pretty regular habit of riding the elliptical machine. It’s a great workout, but I missed running. I wanted the freedom that comes from running. I always felt like the elliptical machine was too controlling of my movement.

So now that we’re using the workout room in our apartment building, I’ve decided to give the treadmill another chance. I want to be serious about running this time, though, and do it right.

First, I got new shoes. I visited the Running Company and told them that I’ve had trouble with my shins. They had me run on a treadmill for a bit and video-recorded it. When they played it back, it appeared that I was normal, after all! I was so excited to see that I was running properly and there were no real problems with my form. I picked out a pair of new shoes. And then they showed me some exercises I can do to build up the muscles around my shins. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for beginning runners to have shin aches, but it’s a temporary problem.

Along with doing my new exercises, which really are just about pointing and flexing the toes, I read online about the suggested way to get into running. A lot of people advocate for a run-walk-run approach to building up endurance. I had been just warming up by walking for a couple minutes, running 10-12 minutes, and then cooling down by walking for a couple minutes. So a couple days ago I started the run-walk-run thing by alternating 2 minutes of walking with 5 minutes of running for twenty minutes or so. I decided my goal was to work my way up to running 30 minutes. But after twenty minutes, my shins were killing me. So I stopped. The good news is that my legs and lungs are a lot stronger than I thought. Other than my shins hurting, I felt like I could do at least double what I had already done. 

Yesterday I was all set to do the run-walk-run thing again. I was going to try alternating 1 minute of walking with 6 minutes or running this time. So I started with a 1 minute warm-up, and then I started running. Since my shins had really hurt the day before, I was trying to be really gentle with them. I tried just barely picking my feet up off the treadmill and tried to be very soft in my landings. I made it to 6 minutes of running, and I was feeling fine. Typically, my shins start hurting about 5 minutes into running. So I decided to just keep going and see how long I could make it. I got to 12 minutes, and I was still doing fine. And, since I’m only running 5 miles an hour, that was my one mile, which was really exciting. I ran a mile with no pain! So I kept going. I thought I’d try to make it to 20 minutes of running. I got to 20 minutes and I was still doing okay, so I decided to go for 24 minutes or 2 miles. I hit 2 miles, and I was feeling great! Well, not great, but I wasn’t hurting. I was crazy hot and sweaty, and my legs were starting to hurt. But I could handle it. At that point I was thinking, if I can do 2 miles, surely I can do 3. And I did! I ran for 36 minutes straight! I ran 3 miles! And my shins were fine!

I don’t know if it was the soft running or if my shin exercises are really working or if I just broke past the beginning runner shin aches, but I was elated that I made it so far without hurting. I want to run a 5K next month, and it’s really exciting to feel like I could do it now. I imagine it would be more difficult outside on the hard sidewalk and I want to get better before I do it, but I think I could do it right now. That’s an awesome feeling.

If things continue to go well, I might just do a half-marathon in November. There’s one that I have my eye on, but I’m not going to register until I survive the 5K and have managed to really make running a serious habit. I think I’m on the right track, though. Last night, I finally felt like I could legitimately say that I am a runner.


Written by Lisa

May 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Activities

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  1. […] May 29 by Lisa A couple days ago I had a breakthrough with my running. I ran 3 miles straight with no shin pain. I finally felt like this was going to be the time that I […]

    Purposive Rambling

    May 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm

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