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Important Information on Running

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

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!!!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good advice that I will follow...
    2154 days ago
    Thank you for the information.

    2154 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. I'm planning to re-start running after a few years off and this was a good reminder to take it slow and listen to my body.
    2162 days ago
  • FORU2C
    awesome blog, thanks for sharing!
    2163 days ago
    Thanks for sharing....
    2163 days ago
    Thanks for posting all this great information! I love to run! My knees have been bothering me terribly bad here lately. I couldn't figure out why. I've ran a million times before, so I couldn't understand why my knees were bothering me just all of a sudden. Then the light bulb went off! I had run a million times before, but not in these particular pair of shoes! So I'm going to get a new pair of shoes MADE for running! No more off days for me! I kept having to take "off days" by only doing upper body and core exercises because of all the pain in my knees. Now hopefully I can get back to running every day again. It's so very important to listen to our bodies!
    2163 days ago
  • DMANN104
    Great comments! Keep up the good work!
    2163 days ago
    Thank you so much for posting this! I started the C25k program and I couldn't get past week 3, so I stopped and started running on my own! I ran my first 5k last weekend and my legs have hurt ever since so my workouts have been limited this week. I definitely need to slow down, build the strength in my lower legs and build on my breathing. This is great advise!
    emoticon emoticon
    2163 days ago
  • HEAT7918
    Well, good or bad, I tend to have the opposite problem of not pushing myself hard enough and not having the confidence to believe I'm capable of doing a lot of things...

    But your warning is a good one and thanks for caring enough to share!

    2165 days ago
    This is very important - to be aware of your body and NOT over do thing!
    That is one of my issues - I tend to go all or nothing=(
    But this time I decided to stick to the program=)My hopes are up for all of us - who's just starting!!!
    2165 days ago
    2166 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    How wonderful to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor!!! emoticon

    Do watch HBO tonight "THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION" on the obesity problem. It is a four part series.
    2166 days ago
  • MOMMY445
    thanks for the info! you can do this! you are worth it! have a great day!
    2166 days ago
    Thank you for the warning, I'm aware of the need to be careful because I have hurt myself. The inspiration came to me from your ability to persevere and actually run. It also sounds like you were using your intuition and that doesn't lead us wrong. The key is to tell the difference between ego and intuition and sometimes it is hard.

    Congrats again!
    2166 days ago
    Thanks for the great info! Keep up the running!
    2166 days ago
    You'll know when you're ready to run. Your body will tell you. Everyone is different. Soon, you'll, just, take off! I was 55 yrs. old and ran my first 5K. I got a second place medal in my age group. The following year, I got a first place medal in my age group. emoticon
    2166 days ago
    2166 days ago
  • CICELY360
    Good info.
    2166 days ago
    2166 days ago
    Great information. I just started 2 years ago at age 55 and have had my ups and downs. I haven't had a serious running injury so far, and my times when I've had to quit for a while for reasons not brought on by running. I love the Jeff Galloway method of walk/run intervals. I usually do 1 min run 1 min walk. I've lengthened the amount of time I can do these repeats and maybe someday I'll get to 2 min run 1 min walk or more, but like you I'm listening to my body. I am also slow. I'll never be able to compete with the younger runners, or even with some of the older runners. But that doesn't matter to me. The only one I compete against is myself. I strongly agree with everything you said and PAPAMIKE's great advice.
    2166 days ago
    2166 days ago
    Thanks for sharing.

    I started running yesterday for the first time in many years (17). I'm 55 y.o. now, I tried last summer and my knee became very sore. (bruised medial meniscus) I was limping.
    But I had run on the street and was out of shape, unconditioned and 30 lbs heavier.
    So I embarked on a Body For Life Transformation with Bill Phillips web site last July. Now some 10 months later...193lbs, I have weight trained for 8 months, and now spin cycle 3 days a week for 1 hour. Additionally, 2 days a week 1 hour of lap swimming. Core workout is 700 reps for Abs -situps, hanging knee raises, obliques, etc- 3-4 times a week. And more. So I want to participate in a Triathlon, but that requires running.
    So I started yesterday ! What I have read is that heel strike running produces a shock to the knee equivalent to aprox 4 times the runners body weight. There are some great videos with measured strike force on the internet from (PrinceForefoot ball strike runners experiences about half that shock to the knee/joints/body.
    Because I am quite fit cardio (52 bpm resting heart) the cardio part of running is not the big challenge. Guarding my knee from injury with form and technique is my focus.
    So my first run yesterday was just over 25 minutes. Began with 5 min walk warmup. Jogged for 15 min's. 2 minute sprints twice in the last 10 minutes.
    My foot landings were 100% forefoot ball strikes always.
    My knee does not hurt nor have any feeling that it is ailing.
    I don't know for sure if this is because now I am in very good condition overal regarding muscle tone and cardio capacity or the forefoot strike form I am using. I will continue my spin-cycle, swimming and running now and monitor my knees closely.
    Here is one good site with videos for seeing Good Form Running with fore and mid foot strikes.



    Blessings to all. emoticon
    2166 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/14/2012 10:46:14 AM
    Great information here! Thanks for sharing it along with your experience. Congratulations!
    2166 days ago
  • HEARTS116
    great blog!
    2166 days ago
    Thank you for your info. I've been wanting to try to run, but at 74 I decided not to press my luck. So I walk and try to speed up every so often.
    2166 days ago
  • FARIS71
    You are awesome! Listening to your body is a great reminder - thank you!
    2166 days ago
    Great info...And always such helpful people on SP!
    2166 days ago
    Thanks for the info. It's a great reminder to all of us that we can do anything we set our mind to but do it in an informed, safe way.
    2166 days ago
  • NCSUE0514
    I'm not a runner, but understand the desire to make and meet a goal. I often take on too much too fast and can sometimes lose patience with myself (or lose interest in the goal) by not accepting non-instantaneous results. Papamike makes a lot of sense!

    Good luck
    2166 days ago
  • DEBK0923
    you go girl, great blog
    2166 days ago
    Thank you for your kind words back on my page. Just wanted to stop in and let you know that you did inspire me to run more. Today I thought would be a great day to see how far i could make it at a SLOW jog without stopping. I made it 1.79 miles, then had to stop for a drink. Took my drink, and made it to 2 miles, then I listened to my body, and walked.
    I think it is wonderful that you did a follow up on safety. Again, thank you for sharing. Keep inspiring us. :)
    2166 days ago
  • RAMONA1954
    Thank you for taking the time to go over all of this. I have asthma so I have to be really careful due to breathing issues. My doc has said to go slow and not overdo it and not push beyond reason. With that said I'm trying to ease into the running mindset. I'm not following any set program right now, I'm just trying to see what this old body can do - I mean this year is the first time I've ran more than 2 feet in 40 years. Being a total klutz to have to be mindful of everything I do.
    Thanks for your words of wisdom and caution!
    2167 days ago
  • SCRAPPER1124
    Thank You so much for taking the time to personally answer on my page. It does help a lot for me. It helps me push on knowing that there are truly others that are dealing with the same issues as myself. emoticon
    2167 days ago
    See, that is one of the things I admired about your original blog too--at no point did you just say "go do it", everything you spoke of about yourself and again in the post is about listening to your body, to your doctor and even to the experts, and all as an all around focus which is so true in many exercises and a good thing to remember always. You give yourself leaway to listen, not force yourself past the logical and practical....basically, I see it as now I know its okay to give myself permission to say "hey, maybe today isn't the best day to do this" and to move in another way for that day, reserving the more strenuous activities for better days. emoticon
    2167 days ago
    Papamikie has been an inspiration to me, too, and his advice has already improved my terrible running form; he's also why I'm waiting to start running again until I have my properly fitted running shoes (if my paycheck would ever get here.) Shin splints derailed me for over a month!
    2167 days ago
    You got the message, you are going to do great things if you keep tuned in like you are...once you start down the path of injury, forever it will dominate your destiny...sort of like the Dark Side of the Force....

    Trust me I know...

    2167 days ago
    Thank you for the kind word.

    I sign of by saying "Good running and be careful out there."

    Some commented that they got it but not everyone runs. I explain why I say to both runners and none runners and why I continue to say it when most who follow my post will have heard it before.

    and yes, it would be delightful to meet out on the course sometime, and stranger things have happened
    2167 days ago
  • JENNNY135
    As a person with a past injury: fracture ankle in three places, now have a plate and screws in it, I have to listen to my body. Improving slowly, more rest days and lots of stretching. Great blog and have a great run.
    2167 days ago
    It's exactly what I'm struggling with right now as I train for my 10K (walking not running, but trying to increase my speed) What should I push through and what should cause me to rest or back off/adjust. Trying to learn to listen to my body and learn what is muscle soreness and what is pain that needs to be heeded. Thanks for this good information.
    2167 days ago
    I really enjoyed this blog post. I am always wanting to push myself through pain, and I have to fight not to do that because I know I can injure myself. I am trying to take it easier on myself until I get a baseline of fitness before I start trying to run again. I know if I do it now I will push too hard. I get discouraged very easily if I can't do everything at once. Your posts let me know that it's ok to rest and listen to our bodies rather than pushing. Thanks so much for posting.
    2167 days ago
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