Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Has Gotten Me Running Again

So what has been going on in the past two years as far as running is concerned? Since I reached 10 miles last Saturday, what had I done differently? This is a brief accounting of what has happened. It was just two years ago when I gave up running and I actually bought a road bike to try to make cycling my main aerobic workout. Now and then I would make a foray into running but inconsistently. I even joined a walking club but they walked too slowly and I couldn’t find someone with the same pace as mine. After a summer of cycling in 2010, I didn’t take the bike out again because I found spinning indoors or using the recumbent bike, and even just walking uphill on the treadmill made for a more efficient aerobic workout and didn’t take a lot of time like riding on the roads did. During the times I tried running again, I always felt that my fitness level for the activity was close to what it was before and I tended to push the pace to reach that level. The result of course is making the condition of my ankle tendons worse. It was a vicious cycle.
So what changed this year? Let me think… pace, that’s it! Letting go of the pressure of trying to run as hard as I can. Accepting that being slow is ok, that running slowly is better than none. That and decreasing the number of times I run per week to two so the ankle tendons can recovery over 3 or 4 days. An evolution in stride change also helps. After making a conscious effort to alter it, I can now sometimes subconsciously run with a new but slower stride. Whenever I find myself going back to my natural stride, I pull back because that is the one that causes my ankle tendons to overstretch. It’s the push off of the foot that does it. My new stride is shorter and pulls from the front. Those explanations may be simplistic but it took a long time realizing them and those are what work at the present time.
I can’t assume that everything is now hunky dory because I was able to complete 10 miles. There are no hard and fast answers. With stage II and III PTTD (posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction), disaster can strike at any time with a tendon rupture just by taking an unfortunate misstep. I’m only taking it one run at a time – a midweek short run and the AREC training run on the weekend. Not an ideal training schedule and not something you will find in any training program. Well, that’s okay because I’m not training for anything anyway. It’s just exercise.
Other notes on the past 6 or 7 weeks of being able to run: A happy consequence of this twice a week activity? I noticed in the shower that I was  getting my running tan lines again. Since I’ve had these injuries, I no longer have balance if I try to stand on one leg. Whenever I put pants on, I have to hold on to something or lean on a wall. My stride, if you can call it that, feels more like a quarter lunge.
So everything was going well from mid-May to the first week of July when this happened: Oops, Something Happened On The Way to 12 Miles
I’m off the roads again trying to make my left thigh muscle recover. So far I can only do light gears on the stationary bikes without pain. Well, it was a good 7 weeks while it lasted.

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