They say everything in moderation, or, too much of anything can be bad. I can certainly agree with this sentiment in many areas of life. I love ice cream, but obviously too much of that would be a bad idea for my figure! Too much partying is obviously extreme as well (nobody likes the way that feels the next morning-and forget about it if you have children to take care of)! But running? Well, that is something I constantly go back and forth with in my mind.
In 2014 after completing one of my half marathons, I decided to continue with running regularly-which would have been great had I done this properly. I chose to go about it in a horrible way (when looking back on it, of course-you know what they say about hindsight). For one, I neglected my body pump classes for awhile, so my strength training was poor. For another, I decided it would be a great idea to run 5 miles every run. I distinctly remember running while on vacation in Minnesota on asphalt roads that had hills. So it is no wonder after a couple of days of 5 mile runs there, one day I was standing around outside in sandals and had pain in my right foot. I knew that wasn’t good! Upon return home from vacation, I knew I had to have my foot looked at because at that point I wasn’t going to run on it if I couldn’t even stand on it without pain shooting across it.
So I went to the orthopedic doctor, and got an x-ray of the foot. Diagnosis: beginning of a stress fracture. Treatment: stay off the foot, no running and keep the foot in a boot, which resembles a walking cast that goes up to the knee, for 4 weeks. Oh, and no driving while wearing the boot-but at least I could take it off while I drive. Do you know how much of a pain in the you-know-what it is to take off the boot every time you want to drive?! Let’s just say there are a lot of straps involved with taking off the boot and putting it back on-and you can’t wear a shoe while wearing the boot-so you have to bring a shoe JUST TO DRIVE! It was annoying, to say the least. But the worst part was not being able to run both during, and FOR AT LEAST 4 weeks AFTER I got the boot off!
After that experience with the stress fracture scare I have been very diligent about some things. Let me detail this in a list.
- Do strength training at least 2x a week-specifically working your legs/feet (without strong muscles in your legs and feet, you cannot protect your bones from injury).
- Don’t run more than a 5k multiple times a week when not training for a distance event (gradually work your way up in distance throughout the week, or just change it up with a bunch of short runs to give your muscles and bones a break from the constant pounding).
- Take breaks from running, but if you must run don’t do more than a mile-cross training is also a good way to work out and keep the cardiovascular health.
- Don’t always do speed training (not every run is a race).
- Take your vitamins daily (especially calcium which protects your bones from being prone to stress fractures).
- Make sure there is plenty of calcium in your diet (hence the calcium supplements I take because, well, quite frankly, I love my coffee and my once a day diet soda, which, as I’ve read somewhere can actually break down the calcium in your bones)
Everything in moderation, they say. Well, “they” are correct. However, I find that if I go more than 2 or three days without running, I’m seriously craving a run-it’s like someone that has any type of addiction. It’s weird to some people, I’m sure-in fact, I can guarantee it because my husband thinks it’s weird. However, when it has been 2 or 3 days and I start to get grouchy-he will seriously say “Why don’t you go for a run?” It’s like he knows me or something-which after almost 11 years of marriage, I would certainly hope so! 🙂
So once I go for a run, no matter how short, I’m happy as a lark! But again, everything in moderation. I really don’t need to run a certain distance to be content-though I will say I probably get the MOST satisfaction overall out of a 5k. A 5k isn’t too long, and it isn’t too short. Anything shorter I feel like I’ve accomplished something, but I typically need to throw in a weightlifting routine if I run less than a 5k. Then I feel like I got a truly comprehensive workout. But again, it depends on what I may have done the day before, what my plan is the next day, or how intense of a pace I had during my run.
For example, tonight I ran 2 miles on the treadmill as my oldest daughter ran/walked next to me on the treadmill. I was satisfied with my simple 2 mile run as I completed it in less than 15 minutes (yes, guilty of doing race pace). Tomorrow, I plan to run a 5k before we join family for Thanksgiving. Yesterday I only ran a mile-but I also participated for 20 minutes in body pump class. This strikes a good balance, in my opinion.
At this “off training season” my goals are simple. I plan to maintain my cardiovascular health by running, but I don’t plan to run more than a 10k on a given week, and I hope to increase my strength training. By doing this I hope to avoid injury and increase my pace in the 5k and 10k.
Finally, always buy new running shoes when your other ones have been around for 300-500 miles (I usually replace at around 350). Excessive wear of your running shoes can cause injury-in fact, it will most certainly increase the likelihood of an injury. Like I said, everything in moderation. I will try to remember that when I’m eating my turkey dinner tomorrow!