THE 1st HALF OF MY LIFE!

Goal : Weekend long run

Preparation:

  • This one took 2 full days of effort – a day of complete rest and a day of moderate strength training. The rest day was tougher – kept the eating super clean.
  • I kept a watch on hydration, ensuring that the electrolyte replenishment was on track during these slack days.
  • On the strength day, ensured that I paid attention to static stretching the hams and calves as per the advice of my FB friends
  • Slept well all week.
  • Substituted last night’s meal for a couple of bananas.

The Run:

  • I was in the right frame of mind from the moment I woke up. There are two issues I’m dealing with currently – one with the left knee and the other with the right ankle which is quite sore and I have the tendency to give in to the temptation of not running by rationalize aggravating the injury. And, I have also noticed that the pain usually is gone in a day, notwithstanding the fact that I run or not. So…
  • I carried along a bottle of OTC ORS mixed in water.
  • A light warm up with dynamic stretched has been my routine.
  • During the 1st part, I kept the pace even ensuring I was breathing well. I settled in to an easy rhythm quickly and the body seemed to be relaxed. All along, the run, I tried to maintain this relaxed pace and did not push the pace, though I felt I could run faster on some stretches.
  • The breath through the run was good, post the 15 k mark though I experienced a little difficulty momentarily.
  • There was a pain in the left knee during the run. The ankle hurt all along.
  • Also, around the 16 k mark I experienced a tingling sensation on my left toes – but it went away in a minute.
  • Towards the end, around the 18 km, the quads felt tight like it would cramp. Mindful that my posture had changed owing to the fatigue, I changed my stride, lifted the chest and relaxed the legs and that sensation passed away.

Post run

  • No stretches as there was an urgent family chore that needed attention.
  • Post run, meal was 2 bananas  –  I was famished!
  • The energy levels were low through the day – guess the 1st time the body has gone this new distance and hence a longer turn around to recuperate.
  • The knee and shins were hurting – ice-pack treatment tomorrow.
  • The ankle was slightly less painful post the run.

Tomorrow, we run again – albeit a slower run just to ensure that the muscles are supple and reaping the benefits of the rhythm that any long duration exercise gives you.

I’m excited!!! This is the 1st half-marathon of my life! I’m on track for the race on 15th of Oct.

fitbit run timing - 15 July '17

I’m grateful to my friends on FB and here who have been guiding me with their experience. I hope to improve in the next few weeks while being safe!

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Planning and executing a weekend long run

Goal: To cover 15 km at a moderate pace
Planning: Since I had an episode of cramps earlier this week, I wanted to be sure that my goal was not disturbed by a mid-run cramp or fatigue.
So I stuck to the advise of keeping myself properly hydrated all day yesterday and indulged in the banana-coconut water combo a few times. With around 7 hours of sleep under my belt, I set of this morning with a pain around the right ankle and inside of the knee. To stay hydrated, I carried a bottle of water mixing some OTC dextrose powder in it.

The Run:
With an easy stride and lower cadence, the 1st 5 kms were easy. This is about the time when there is a small gradient on the route and normally I get a little winded going up this slope. But, unlike normal days, I lowered the cadence even further but making sure that my posture was not affected and I wasn’t bouncing too much.
The rest of the run at a good rhythm was fun, the breathing easy and pains with which I stared vanishing giving way to newer ones.
Every time my watch told me I’d completed a kilometer, I’d force my self to drink some water. I eventually ran out of water around the 11th km.

Post run
I stretched by hamstring and calves.

The ankle is a little sore, hope to be rested and ready for Monday.

fitbit run timing - 08 July '17 - resized

A sudden cramp

“The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy… It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed.”
Jacqueline Gareau

This morning’s run was intended to get back in the groove after a 2 day break and an earlier short run. The goal was run 8-9 km at a slow pace and followed by another similar distance but faster pace on Thursday before going 15 km on Saturday. Everything thing was ok till the half way mark. At the 5 km, there was a sudden sharp pain in my right calf –  I think it was a cramp and hope that it is not a tendinitis flare up. I walked for about 6-7 minutes hoping to wave down a motorist, and hitch a ride back home – that ploy did not work. So then, I mustered enough courage to give my calf a quick rub, apply the chi/pose running technique: Engage the core, bend slightly forward and use the hamstring. I was able to hobble back home.

A friend informed that Potassium deficiency causes such incidents and one should rely on bananas and coconut water. I intend to put this advice to use tomorrow still hoping to be ready for the 9km fast(er) run on Friday.

So looking forward to get back on Thursday stronger and get a PB for the 9 km mark!

 

Pushing it a little more this morning

Goal: Follow the previous 8 km with a little extra as part of the training plan

Approach:

  • Previous night – moderately heavy but early dinner
  • Morning – a liter of water after waking up
  • Dynamic stretches – lunges, side-lunge, high-knee, knee bends, butt-kicks
  • Kept a tall upright posture with a very slight forward bent, while consciously engaging the core muscles.
  • Even pace all along, making sure that I enjoyed the run.
  • The goal was only to ensure that I exceeded the last run distance.

fitbit run timing - 29 Jun '17

After run:

  • As I kept the pace very easy, there was no pains at all – it thrills me that I’m able to do this distance more easily now.
  • Engaged in some stretching post run – static stretches for calves and quadriceps.
  • Energy levels were good through the day
  • Super Happy to have done the 9 kms today – a few years back when I was much younger, I couldn’t do it.
  • Looking forward to the week long run – targeting 12 km!!!

Chi running drills

My 2nd 10K, 3 weeks back; At around the 6k mark just as the end goal of completing without issues seemed to be possible, my left knee felt sore. It wasn’t the 1st time I was experiencing this pain. It does come by during the “training runs” like an old unwelcome guest every now and then. To me, someone who is jut getting used to running long distances, my breath was already labored at this stage – this is the time when ( I’m aware of it) the mind is playing tricks giving you excuses to quit running. But, on the other hand I have been carrying the tendinitis pains on my right calf. The rationalization I had was that unconsciously my left leg was over compensating to prevent the right from having to commit fully to the stride so that the stretch during the stride does not cause a flare up of the tendinitis pain in the right calf.

Post the run, the pain was mildly present over the next couple of days. I avoided running fearing it could make things worse.

On the next run, exactly 3 days after, the knee pain was back. I realized that this was now a posture issue which needed correction along with strengthening the muscles around the knee that can absorb the impact thereby protect the knee from further damage.  The search and reading cycle on the internet ensued and along the way I rediscovered Chi running, something I’d read about a few years back. The Chi running technique is supposed to minimize the impact on your joints while improving the efficiency of the run. To get started, it is recommended to correct the posture, coupled with a set of drills to imbibe the right Chi running form. Here are some of the drills that seemed to be easier to adopt for beginners that I will include in my training:

Heel Strike killer: (from: the guardian)

1) Stand with your feet pointing straight ahead, a hip-width apart.

2) Lengthen your spine so you’re feeling tall – raising your hands in the air above your head and allowing them to fall back can help, especially for corrections as you run.

3) Level your pelvis, which is generally tilted forwards. To do this, place one hand face down on your tummy with the thumb in your belly button and the other hand face up on your back directly opposite, then gently tip your pelvis back to a level position. You should feel your core muscles engage – but don’t go so far that your core becomes tense or that your glutes tighten.

4) Place both thumbs on the prominent front hip bone at the top of your legs and pivot forwards from there until you are balanced over your centre of gravity. For me, that meant leaning my top half forwards until I could just see the knot in the laces of my shoes when looking down – an extremely useful reference point which is key to the method for me.

5) Set a metronome at 180 beats per minute lean forwards (pivoting at the ankles) and let gravity do the work of moving you forwards.

Walking Spiderman Balancer :(from: running competitor)

From a standing position, take a long stride forward into a deep lunge position and lower the same-side elbow to the heel on the forward leg. From this position, drive off the forward foot, return to the upright position, and pull your trailing leg even with your forward leg. Repeat the movement with the opposite arm and leg. Continue lunging forward in a walking manner. Keep your chest up and try not to let the lower back round as you lunge.

Lander : (from: running competitor)

Concentrate on squeezing your right buttock the instant before your right foot touches the ground when you run, and doing the same on the left side. With the increase in stride rate, this one cannot be made permanent unless you do it consciously on every stride until it starts to happen automatically, which could take a few weeks.

Peg Leg: (ref: chirunning.com)

This exercise is best done walking. Use it as a warm up for a run; during the walking portion of your walk-run training plan; or whenever you’re just walking somewhere.

Walk as if you don’t have feet, as if your knees are what are directly in touch with the ground. Another image you could use is that you are walking on stilts. You should feel a set of muscles engage that you probably don’t feel while you are running. You’ll also probably notice your hips and hips flexors more than usual.

This drill helps engage your core, keeps your upper body forward, shortens your stride and helps you to completely relax your lower legs. All of these key components of good running form are contained in this simple exercise.

Walk using the Peg Leg image for a few minutes at a time, then run or walk while focusing on being aware of engaging the same muscles and a similar movement in the hips. Feel your posture while walking with Peg Legs, and maintain the same posture.

This is just a drill. It is not the way you want to run or walk all the time, but it helps inform your body of a more beneficial way to move.

Hold the Chi Ball:  (ref: chirunning.com)

This exercise can be practiced first while standing, then while ChiWalking® or ChiRunning® in small intervals. Practice in first or second gear when you are running (not a good idea for 3rd or 4th gear).

Begin by aligning your posture with shoulders, hips and ankles in a line. Then, curve your arms out in front of you, chest-high, as if you’re holding a big exercise ball. Notice how bringing your arms into this position brings your upper body slightly forward and engages your core muscles. Holding the Chi Ball puts your body into a perfect posture that is ideal for walking and running. Just hold the Chi ball for 5-10 seconds at a time. Then, try to hold onto the same posture feeling as you let your arms fall slowly to your sides. Finally, bend your arms to 90 degrees and resume the normal rearward ChiRunning and ChiWalking arm swing.

Throughout this exercise keep your shoulders relaxed and your core will engage even more. Allow your legs to relax as well. When you focus on holding the Chi ball, your legs will naturally relax and you’ll feel your body pulled forward by gravity. Try to memorize that sensation and duplicate it.

Do the Chi Ball Exercise for ten seconds every two minutes, until your body moves naturally and with good posture.

Morning Run : 3rd Jun ’17

The goal was to run longer, more than the usual 3.10 miles, and try to get close to 10,000 steps without worrying too much about the time.  Hydration can be a challenge as I do not quite enjoy running carrying a bottle of water, so I drank up before I ran – about 500 ml of water. Luckily, the weather was cooler so I did not really struggle with water loss. After a mild stretch, and a few lunges, I hit the road at 6:10. Very easy with a conscious effort to stay relaxed and breathe well. The calf was ok all along. The left knee was a little painful, looks like there is some compensation happening unconsciously to protect the right calf. Even earlier when I ran on the treadmill, I’ve noticed that my landing is very heavy and this could also be the reason why the knees are  little sore.

A technique I grabbed from here to ensure smoother landing and avoiding injury, and also according to the article, making your run more enjoyable is to increase the cadence. The drill to improve the cadence to 180 strides/min is to use a metronome application on the phone – a brilliant idea! I’ve been using the gravity assisted forward leaning Chi technique – you can find it here. I hope to compile a set of drills shortly to improve the Chi running technique as there are obvious benefits from adopting it.

As for the run, I wasn’t winded as I kept the pace very easy.  Over the last mile the left knee hurt but it was ok post the run. I did not stretch after the run as I got busy with other things. I will use tomorrow to stretch well as I’m also working towards improving my overall flexibility. The training is on target currently and today’s run complete one week of this schedule.

Training progress - 3rd June '17

In terms of gains, the weight is down to 71.1 kgs, the stamina has vastly improved and so has the mood. Eating habits which I have been historically inconsistent with have also improved significantly:

  • the stuffing up at breakfast is not existent now
  • the snacking is barely there.
  • carbs are for recycling – I try to time the carb intake to the day before a run only.
  • completely avoiding sweets and sugar intake overall is very controlled
  • fruits have become the newest go to cap the sugar craving
  • water intake is much better

Some of the rewards on hitting my goals are:

  • a weight training equipment if I hit the 70kg mark by the end of next week.
  • a new pair of shoes when I complete my training schedule
  • a phone when I hit the 21 km mark during training

The goal to run the SCMM is what should be central to the training. During the warm ups today another plan is to incorporate drills everyday before the weekday 3.10 km run.

Good night and happy and injury free running!

 

Morning Run: 30th May ’17

TEMPO RUN: A tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold, LT, or threshold run. Tempo pace is often described as “comfortably hard.” Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness. (runnersworld.com)

4:30 am! There was no resistance today. The need to fit in a run before a proposed meeting at 5:30 am was enough to get the wheels rolling.
Spent 5 mins loosening and then started easy. The path to the main road has a small gradient but what makes it interesting is there is no asphalt instead there are stones unevenly rolled in which requires careful maneuvering especially as you are getting started – a 300 meter stretch.
Once I hit the main road, I continued upping the pace till I was running at 8:45 min/mile, fast by my current fitness standard, and I went on till the 1.5 mile mark at this pace before stopping for a few seconds, a couple of quick deep breaths, before turning back. On the way back it was an easier pace around 10:15. The run covered 3:08 miles in 31.14 minutes.
It was a good run!!!

fitbit run timing - 30 May '17

Fitbit timings – 30th May ’17

The right calf muscle was showing signs of strain, especially on the way back when the pace was slower, and on the left knee inner joint there was a new friend. The technique definitely needs work and the running drills have to be incorporated in the training. The point at which these drills need to performed is what I’m seeking clarity on – whether it needs to be a daily pre/post run activity of a couple of times each week as a scheduled activity. As with swimming, I’m convinced that it needs to be part of the daily routine before you start the main workout and for now that is how I’m going to use it.

On the overall plan here is where I stand:

Training progress - 30 May'17

Week 1: Day 6 is complete.