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The Last PT Session, Lunch Run, and Warmup Musings

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Tuesday, a work at home day and a day of physical therapy. The plan for the day was to bounce my running plans off the PT in case she saw any issues with that. So at the end of the appointment, I told her I'd started running continually and described the effects I was seeing with my feet and hip abductors. She thought that this was a good development, and that my going forward plan was a good one. Then she said, "At this point, it looks like you're done here. If you have a flare up, you know where to find us."

That wasn't a total surprise, because my sister SPINNINGJW (who pushed me to get PT in the first place) had predicted that my days in PT were numbered. Still, it felt pretty good. I came home and posted in my status that I graduated from physical therapy, then went about the morning's conference call and computer work.

A comment on my status asked if it was time to celebrate with a long run. The answer would be, no. The plan described to and approved by the PT was to run today and Thursday like I did last week, about 4.3 miles, then run a competitive 5K on Saturday, then re-evaluate where I am. So I worked the rest of the morning, then went out for my lunch run.

I got another day of near perfect running weather, 62° F with sunshine and ESE wind 5 mph. Today I decided not to work on the pace, just to go out and run whatever felt good. It turned out that I got back to my driveway a bit before 30 minutes, so I ran a little further than planned to get that 6th Spark Point. RunKeeper reported the effort as 4.37 miles in 30:01, for an average pace of 6:53 per mile. The mile splits were 7:18, 6:54, 6:41, 6:42, and a 6:43 pace for the last 0.37 mile.

As I contemplate what happens when I don't consciously target a specific pace, I realize that walking is similar to running for me. I start out at what feels comfortable, and after a while I naturally speed up. Faster is more comfortable after the initial period.

This kind of clarifies something that never made a lot of sense to me, the warmup. All the canned advice on exercise recommends doing warmups. SparkPeople says warm up for 5 minutes, which is common; other systems have different recommendations. I could never get into the warmup. I always wanted to just go walk, not warm up. When I became a runner, I started doing something for a warmup, but not anywhere near 5 minutes. Time is an issue for lunch hour runs, and I just couldn't get into it on the weekends.

Now, I kind of think I was naturally doing a warmup in the early part of my walks for years, and am naturally doing sort of a warm up in the early part of a run that doesn't target a pace. The issue, of course, is that running is a lot harder on the body than walking. And then there's organized races. I might be able to live with the early part of a recreational run being the warmup, but if I'm going to be vain about race times I need to do the warmup off the clock.

With that thought in mind, I have a plan for Saturday. I'll warm up for 5 to 7 minutes before running the 5K. Hopefully, I'll be able to warm up at a slow enough pace that this won't add up to a mile. But it will be additional running, over and above the stated length of the race. I should put the morning's total run distance including warmup somewhere in the neighborhood of a typical lunch run. Then I won't need to run extra after the race. The week will have enough running in it, and I can decide what I'm doing the next week on Sunday.

So that's the plan. Do another lunch run of about 4.3 miles on Thursday. Run an organized 5K on Saturday, and make sure to warm up thoroughly before the race. Re-evaluate on Sunday and decide where I'm going in the near term. The immediate concern is to make steady, but not necessarily rapid, progress and not to need to call the PT about a flare up.

Life is good.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wait, I thought that walking counts as a warm up. It doesn't?
    1678 days ago
    Experience is an outstanding coach. In my latter years, I too have discovered the warm up. I found myself meticulously following the specified warm up routine in my TRI training plan last year, and I've semi-used it ever since. It lasts nine minutes: 5 minute walk, 1 minute slow jog, another minute walk, another jog minute, and a final minute walk. Now do your regular workout.

    Anyway, I find that no matter the sport, if I start slow and "warm to the work", it just works better.

    Amazing. Those coaches knew what they were talking about. emoticon
    1679 days ago
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