This run started off with uncertainty. I had some unexplained pain in my right glute and thigh, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to run. My son, however, was depending on me to get out there with him, so I went ahead with the idea that if it hurt too much, I’d stop to keep from further injuring it.
I also had done some reading about running work out plans, and I found that what I was doing was wrong. So completely wrong. I need to implement interval and high intensity interval training instead of what I was doing: running all out. I was running at my vO2 max which is a big no-no. That’s supposed to be reserved for competitions, races, and PFT’s and definitely not for every regular workout. The problem is that when you’re running at vO2 max, you’re getting into the anaerobic range which is very bad for exercise. When you do that, your body is pulling energy from the muscles itself, and it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to get stronger/faster.
I watched videos by a gentleman named Jack Daniels, and he taught me a lot. I looked over the data from my past runs and found that I was doing it wrong. So, with this run, if the pain in my left leg wasn’t too bad, I’d try what he recommended: using my breathing as a guide for my pace and allowing myself a recovery run today. The plan was for four steps to every breath. If I could get past the pain.
I started with 85 push ups. It’s a far cry from my 100 max, but 85 felt good, and pushing past didn’t seem like a good idea. There will be other opportunities for me to hit 100 again; this day wasn’t one of them. I then set out with my son after he knocked out 30 push ups.
Immediately, the pain was pretty bad. My left thigh and glute felt really tight, and no matter what I was doing, the pain was pretty bad. I decided that I’d give it a quarter mile to see if it got any better before I quit. Twice in that quarter mile I almost gave up, but my son was running right next to me, so I decided to keep going. Then, as I was ending the quarter mile, I told Brendon that I was going to try something, and I upped my pace. I was running a 10:30/mile pace with a lot of pain, but as I increased it to about a 9:20/mile pace, the pain became just a nagging soreness. I kept that pace for the rest of the run, and for the first mile and a half, Brendon stuck with me! I was really impressed with him and his effort.
I continued with the new slower (than my last three runs) pace and breathed in every four steps and out every four steps and something magical happened: the pace became easy, the pain subsided, and I was able to breathe almost normally. I kept my pace fast enough to need the breath every four steps, which was the same 9:20/mile pace. I was able to keep this up for over 30 minutes and when I ended the run, my leg actually felt better and I didn’t feel exhausted.
After my shower, I felt noticeably better than I have after previous runs. I felt like I worked out, but I didn’t feel like I was spent. I think Jack Daniels is onto something! I actually look forward to my next runs to continue to experiment with my technique, and I look forward to implementing interval training and some high intensity intervals as well.