What I’ve learned about training

We finally got snow in Minne-snow-ta.

(this would actually be a laughable amount any other year)

So, what do I do?  I decide that today is the day to break out these bad boys:

My coworker was so nervous I was going to fall on the sidewalk that he offered to walk next to me so I would fall on him and not the ground.  What a nice guy.  But, walking in high heels is actually one of my many talents (except that one time I completely “biffed it” at work… but, hey, nobody is perfect).

I actually wore these because I have a two-day meeting for work and was presenting today.  My practical footwear just wouldn’t do for such an occasion.  Maybe tall heels make me look smarter?  I don’t know, but it is worth a try.

Anyway, I like to doodle when I have a lot on my mind.  While I was mulling over my presentation, I doodled this:

It is a rough draft of our Tough Mudder/sprint triathlon training schedule!  (that big scribble is our trip to Cancun for our friend’s wedding).  I was a little impressed with myself that I could put together a rough outline for our upcoming events :)

It got me thinking about my very first half marathon training experience in 2008.  My coworker sent me a link to an online training schedule and helped me modify it to fit my schedule since I was working full-time and going to school part-time.  I was so nervous and diligent about following that schedule that I gave myself bronchitis two weeks before the race.  Fun times.

It was the worst race ever (but still completely awesome because it was my first race ever).  My knees killed, my hips hurt and I missed a lot of my last two weeks of training.  I figured I wasn’t meant for running, but I really just didn’t know how to train well.

After six half marathons, two 10 miles, two 20 miles and a marathon, my approach to training is much more laid back (which also makes the process a lot more fun!).  These are some of the most important things I’ve learned through experience, talking to my doctor, running stores, or my running books and magazines:

  • Start small.  I know the idea of starting at only one mile isn’t very sexy, but sitting out because of knee pain isn’t sexy either.
  • Build supporting muscles.  Most likely, your knees hurt because you don’t have good supporting muscles, not because you are predisposed to have bad knees (but please see your doctor to verify).  My knees hyper-extend when I run and I wore a really cool knee brace when I played soccer in middle school, but I’ve gotten knee pain under control by doing squats, lunges and biking.  Colleen and Matt both got their knee pain under control with a runner’s knee strap.  Click here for good information about runner’s knee and how to prevent injury.
  • Put your training plan somewhere you will regularly see it.  It will be easier to stick with.
  • Rest if you need it.  If I would have rested for a few days, my cold probably wouldn’t have led to bronchitis and I would have enjoyed my first race much more.  A good rule of thumb is you can run if the sickness is neck up, but you should rest if you have body aches.
  • Get fitted for good running shoes.  I know most of the cool-looking shoes aren’t bulky, but if you have frequent knee or hip pain you probably aren’t wearing the right shoes.  Go to a running store and have them fit you by watching you walk.  I was over-pronating, which was contributing to my knee and hip pain.
  • Vary the speeds of your runs throughout the week.  Each run serves a purpose.  Enjoy the recovery run and push yourself during the interval runs to build up speed.

Ok, I guess that was more than “some” tips.  There are a lot of good resources available about how to prevent injury and put together a good training plan.  Whenever I have a quick question, I check out the injury prevention section of Runner’s World online.

Here are a few links to training plans online:

Do you also like to run races?  What are important tips you’ve learned about training and injury prevention?

2 Responses to What I’ve learned about training

  1. Dangit, you just totally killed my budding Bad-Knees-Are-Sexy campaign!!!

  2. woo! Lady with a plan! And heels are def. more commanding.

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