Running more… and then not at all
After receiving advice to run more in order to prevent my leg injuries from recurring things have been going well. I build up the number of days a week slowly and started running 5k every day, with no pain whatsoever. What’s more I looked forward to every one of those runs! Fitting my daily runs into life has been a bit of a learning process. For starters I wasn’t able to be so choosy about when I ran, so whatever the weather I was out there. This soon made me purchase some running tights because my jogging bottoms were soaking up too much water and just weren’t practical.
At a distance of 5.6km my commute into town to get the bus to work was ideal. Not wanting to over-do it by running both ways I decided to alternate running/cycling like so:
Cycle to the bus – run home
Run to the bus – cycle home
Cycle to the bus – run home
… and so on…
This involved leaving my bike in town for long periods of time but I was tipped off about a covered bike rack at the local library which kept it out of the rain and snow. I wasn’t overly concerned about anyone messing with my bike but had little choice on that front. The next thing I had to figure out was breakfast. By running to work at 6am I didn’t want to have to get up early in order to leave some time between eating and running. At first I wasn’t sure how to get around this – I had to eat! Whilst reading Scott Jurek‘s book “Eat and Run” he got me thinking about smoothies. I haven’t really ever made smoothies but I figured I could make one the night before, put it in the fridge and eat it on the bus ride to work after my run. Perfect! And best of all you can make it a nutrition packed meal to start off the day.
I am still experimenting with smoothies but I am completely sold on them as a great runners breakfast (though I still look forward to eggs and coffee when I can) I have been trying a mix of ingredients like natural yoghurt, nuts and flax seeds in order to get more of a balanced meal as I was finding the pure fruit smoothies to be too sugary. I am trying to eat alot better in general and Scott’s book was a real eye opener for me (he a ultramarathon legend and a vegan) I am still learning and while I think a fundamental change in my attitude towards what I eat is a very good idea, I expect it to happen gradually, so will come back to this topic at a later date.
All was going well. I was feeling really good running every day, despite fitting it around very long hard work days and early starts. I was even getting used to running in the dark with a headlamp! Then the snow hit… and then came the ice. Running home after work one day I slipped on some black ice and hurt my back. The next morning I decided to suck up the pain and stick to my routine by running into town. I took my time being extra careful and nearly made it without incident but again slipped on black ice and bruised up my side pretty good.
Though painful it was my back that was the real problem
At first I thought this was just going to be a minor set back and intended to take a few days off to allow my back to heal. However my back was alot worse than I thought and this turned into 3 weeks of not being able to run. This was frustrating. I always hate anything that stops me from running and this time I was doing so well. I have learnt a few lessons about running on ice, most of all is knowing when to take a day off. A few missed days erring on the side of caution is better than 3 weeks off with a very painful back.
I am now just starting to run again, and it feels amazing to be out there. I am trying to not get too carried away but I have some big running plans for 2013. Let’s see how it goes!