Tonight I finished Stage 10 of my Return to Running program. Lately it’s been going really, really, well.
I often choose not to follow directions, and that’s what I’ve done with this program. It’s meant to be done as 20 minute workouts but I realized if I want to be able to run a 5k when I’m done I need to be used to moving longer than 20 minutes. So starting with stage 5 I’ve been doing six walk/run segments for a total of 30 minutes per workout.
St. Louis has still been fluctuating between cold and pleasant weather, so on the pleasant days, I’ve been taking advantage and running outside.
That photo is from my Stage 7 3 minute walk, 2 minute run (x 6) workout a week ago. Early in that run was a big moment for me–it was the first time my leg has felt strong in I don’t know how long. I’ve gotten so used to just being happy with runs absent from pain that I forgot how wonderful it is to have the feeling that energy is surging through your legs and they could power you anywhere. I let my body guide my pace and ended up going really fast; it’s pretty hard to get under 11 minutes per mile for a 30 minute workout where the majority is walking.
I thought I might need a lot of recovery time after that fast workout, but two days later I felt pain-free and ready for Stage 8.
I also decided to put my weight training to the test on the pull up bar in the park.
Before I began lifting weights/doing push-ups I’m sure I would have hung there like a dead fish. But I’m pleased to say I was able to do three pull ups! Not consecutively; that’s crazy talk at this point, but I did do them from full extension; no jumping up to assist myself. This never would have been possible had I not gotten injured and been forced to come up with exercises I could safely do. Weight lifting was an obvious choice and it makes me so happy to see results from that. It’s the same type of joy I get from running faster than I’ve run before–I just love to see improvement as a result of hard work.
It’s brutally cold outside again, so I did Stages 9 & 10 (50% walking and 50% running!) on the treadmill.
I run at a slower, probably more responsible pace when on the treadmill; usually in the 6-6.5 range. It’s just not as inspiring to run fast on a machine as it is outside. That said, the interval nature of the Return to Running workouts make the time fly by. I’ve really enjoyed that aspect of this process, because my goals are broken down into minutes, and I can do anything for minutes.
As I get into the next stages of this program where I’m doing more running than walking I’m going to pay extra close attention to how I feel. The increased workload may mean I need two or more days off between workouts rather than just one. I’m entirely ok with that because I can see how much rest has benefitted me in this process. I visualize my leg healing itself on days I’m not using it and I value that rest time just as much as the times I’m moving.