After taking off from exercise for one full week to let my body really rest, it felt like months since I’d done anything cardiovascular. I picked a Sunday to start back into an organized training and fitness plan and I don’t think I could have picked a better day. From my bed I could see that it was gorgeous out, a perfectly clear and sunny spring day. I knew it would be chilly though so I prepared with layers and was shocked once I got started to find out how windy it was. So why was it perfect? Because it was pretty enough to remind me why I love running outside but it was also chilly and windy enough to humble me and reassured me that I can’t just jump back into running where I left off.
I am starting fresh. I find this to be a huge opportunity to do it all “right” this time. I wore my Polar heart rate watch this morning which I haven’t touched in over a month. I’d like to get a better grip on heart rate work-outs and use them to really understand my performance. First though, I think I need to learn how to use my watch because for some reason it didn’t measure my HRs this morning.
My plan was to do around 3 miles in my neighborhood but because I didn’t map the route ahead of time I was bummed to find that it only ended up to be 2.54 miles at the end. Knowing that cambered streets and too much downhill probably contributed to my IT pain, I’ve decided to reverse most of my routes so that I am hitting the slopes going uphill. I also chose to take more advantage of the sidewalks as it dawned on me they probably provide a more even surface than the street. Running on the sidewalks is a complete reversal of my previous thinking that sidewalks might be “dangerous.” Running uphill and on sidewalks will be a big change for me but ones that I think will not only help eliminate pain and injury but also improve my performance.
As I started out I tried to pay careful attention to my form. My dad pointed out during my marathon that my arms tended to swing across the front of my body despite the fact that I have them at a 90-degree bend. So I concentrated on keeping them by my sides. I also looked down to see if I could gauge my footfalls. I realize it’s probably not effective for a runner to evaluate herself while running, but it’s a start. Interestingly, my left foot seemed to fall nice and flat and even but my right foot repeatedly would hit on the outside first and then do a slight roll in. I find this odd since the IT pain was in my left leg. Could it have been compensating for my poor right footfalls? At some point I will get myself to a good running store where they can better evaluate my gate and better identify what changes I need to make in my form.
Perhaps the best part of being out for what I consider my “first run” was the thinking time that I have so dearly missed. I now feel ready for the entire week. I thought about my blog posts, the grocery store, what I want to do today, how to learn about heart rate work-outs, my upcoming mother/daughter weekend in NYC, and of course, my training plan. For the last month since I have not been running I focused quite a bit on strength training. I’d like to keep elements of that going in addition to truly cross-training and building my core strength. The key to starting fresh is that I will be starting slow and steady. Here’s what this week will look like for me:
- Sunday: 2.54 mile easy run with core work-out
- Monday: 35 minute stationary bike on ‘hills’ setting with oblique work-out
- Tuesday: 1/2-1 mile swim
- Wednesday: 3 mile run with hills or treadmill incline (rain could ruin the outdoor run) arm work-out
- Thursday: 3 mile run with back work-out
- Friday: 60-minute spin class with Jan Graves
Not only is this a new beginning as far as training goes, I feel like it’s a fresh start to my whole way of thinking about exercise and I’m excited to get started.