I really can't find the words to explain how I have been feeling about the incredible outpouring of love and support from the Spark Community on the blog I posted Friday, in which I described my feelings of running a distance of 5k. I have tried to write a personal note back to everyone that left a substantial comment on that blog and I think I've got about 200 of you so far. The stories you have shared with me and the kind words of encouragement are enough to fuel a thousand future runs!
A lot of you also said that you were inspired to try running yourself. Or to push yourself further. That is a wonderful spirit and to think that I might be able to play a part in helping you be a better version of yourself is quite humbling.
Frankly, I was surprised to only receive two messages (so far) holding a warning (I expected many). I received a particularly helpful message from PAPAMIKIE, who is a certified running instructor. PAPAMIKIE made it clear that he was not at all trying to discourage me (or any of you) from achieving our running dreams, but that he wanted to make sure that we are clear on not only the benefits of running, but also the risks.
"60% of recreational runners in NA get injured every year, seriously enough to have to change thier running program. Most injuries are caused by doing too much too soon or running with bad form.
The problem with too much too soon, is that the damage is small and progressive and often goes unnoticed until it is noticed because something gives.
It is possible to just get out and run, and to do this safely (without a program like C25K). I did it. It is also posible to do serious harm by repeatedly asking the body to do too much.
I sometime compare this to putting on weight. We do this just a little at a time and we do not notice this, and then one day we discover we are overweight, and we may wonder how it happened.
I hope you will understand that I encourage your goal, I support running and I believe that people at various weights and various fitness levels can enjoy running. But I am also aware that lots of people do themselves harm by going at it in a way that leads to injury. I just wanted to bring this to your attention."
I just want to thank PAPAMIKIE for sharing this information with me. As someone who has been severely injured in the past (see my recent post, "Broken...But Still Strong"), I am ultra-aware of my body and especially my weakest areas, at all times. In fact, you should know that this morning I wanted to run, but because my ankle felt a little tiny bit sore, I have built in one more rest day. Also...just because I was able to run a distance of 5k and break one of my own mental barriers, it doesn't necessarily mean that EVERY run from here on out will be a 5k. It will all depend on how I am feeling that day and whether my body is able to handle that magnitude of a run that day. I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to your body.
Please do not misunderstand. I believe in every single one of you!!! I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that we can all do ANYTHING we set our mind to doing!!!
It would be irresponsible of me, though, to neglect all the facts:
1. As you see in every exercise video out there, a person should ALWAYS make sure their exercise program is OK with their doctor/personal physician. I got the all-clear from my orthopedic surgeons and my family doctor before I tried anything on these old broken/healed bones!
2. A trainer or an expert is a great asset. Even if you can't afford a trainer on a weekly basis, it is helpful to at least have someone to gauge your current fitness level and help you design a plan for the future. I've been lucky in that I haven't paid for a trainer, but have a couple of very close friends that happen to be personal trainers. And, when you're friends with a personal trainer, they tend to give you all the good advice free of charge.
Don't forget, too, that there are experts out here on SparkPeople...all over the place! People like PAPAMIKIE and Coach Nicole - people whose lives are dedicated to helping people be successful in their fitness endeavors. All it takes is a bit of time and research to glean from their excellent wisdom!
3. FORM IS SO IMPORTANT. I'm sure I don't have perfect form (especially since I'm just a beginner). But I have to admit that for the majority of my run, my brain is laser focused on form. Mostly because of my past injuries. I worry that if I let my brain wander and just look at the pretty trees and birdies, I won't be paying attention and I will sprain may ankle or fall down. God knows I'm prone to falls! I really can't afford to break concentration with my list of bodily issues. So, for example, if you have trouble breathing doing the intro C25K runs, it might not be a good idea to push yourself any further just yet...until you have that breathing under control.
Like PAPAMIKIE, I don't want to dampen anyone's spirit or zest for running.
The truth of the matter is, I feel emotionally connected to all of you incredible people and I would be so terribly heartbroken if any of us were to get hurt or injured.
So, with that in mind, I thought it would be good to pass along this wisdom.
Make no mistake - I'm going to keep running!!! But I will be listening to my body and paying attention to my form and checking in with my panel of experts. And I will do it the correct way.
If we all follow these guidelines, we will have everything we need to not only reach our goals, but to be transformed into the very best we can be. I can't wait to see how we grow - AND how we shrink!!!
Love to all of you!!!