Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Running, Not So Much

Gemini Springs run

Recently I surprised myself by signing up for a 5K race, planning to walk the route and enjoy the scenery of a local park that surrounds the Gemini Springs pool and run. Proceeds were to benefit the preservation of the spring and I was happy to support that, even though I'd never done a 5K before and generally cast a wary eye on such group activities.

Unfortunately, the race was cancelled due to the hurricane and hasn't been rescheduled. But in a burst of optimism I signed up for another 5K that will take place next year. Not yet finished with optimism, I decided to actually train for the race. That led me to a schedule I found online that proposed to make me into a runner in plenty of time for the race date.

Let me just say that most of my life has been spent avoiding running as much as possible. I've stayed fairly fit over the years, going through spells where I was quite active (though never very coordinated) and then lapsing into the sedentary lifestyle of reading and relaxing more than exercising. In the past few years I've found a good balance with kayaking and hiking, but I still felt I should up my game for fitness' sake. Hence the 5K's allure. It seemed like a nice kedge.

So . . . I embarked last week on the program. It alternates days of walking for 30 minutes with "running days" -- which at the outset consist of running for 15 seconds and walking for 45 seconds, for a total of 30 minutes. Not wanting to time myself so closely, I opted for 20 steps running and 40 steps walking, for a total of 30 minutes. That's just about a mile in distance. Diligently I kept to the program 5 days last week, including the "long day" of 3 miles walking. Having a clear deadline and a definite schedule to follow meant I was highly motivated.

At the end of the week, I felt very empowered by having kept to the schedule. I had created quite a stir in my neighborhood, too. People actually noticed that I'd taken up walking, telling me they'd seen me doing my laps and how impressed they were.

Also, my knees are killing me. This is not a good sign. Barely into the program, thanks to running a pitiful 20 steps at a time, I am wincing along like someone years older -- when I get up from a chair, when I step up or down any stairs, when I first get up in the morning. Yeesh.

So far this week I've taken 3 days off from any walking to recover. Resting seems to be helping. Something needs to be helping, for sure!  No way can I have bad knees if I'm going to continue my other activities. So in the interest of still being able to step over the occasional fallen tree and hoist myself into and out of my kayak, I think I'll be taking some major time off from running, Like, say, the rest of my life.


  1. Hey there!!

    Good for you!!!!

    I'd make two quick changes to your plan...first, only go out three times a week, certainly in the beginning. We're not all that young anymore and recovery isn't fast. Also, don't increase the timing quickly at all!!!! Skip the walking days and be sure to only run three days a week.

    Next, your shoes....what are you running in and how old are they? Could you run on the grass in a park instead of on pavement??? Get a good pair of street runners from a reputable running store (a bit expensive, but it really makes a difference!!!) The cushioning in them is like a miracle, and even if you change your mind about thee running thing, they'll be seriously comfy.

    Good luck!!!


    1. Thanks for this great advice! I appreciate your expertise more than you know.

      I probably should cut back the days per week, although on the walking days I was taking it pretty easy.

      You're also spot on about the shoes. I have running shoes but they are quite old. I definitely to invest in something better!

      Thank you so much!

  2. LOL great idea, Jane (to take the rest of your life off running). I know so many runners who ended having knee replacements in their 60s because they wore out that joint. Running is SO hard on the knees!!

    1. It's very much a trade-off, isn't it? This is my first experience with feeling old in my joints, and I don't like it one bit.

  3. I've read that running is bad for the knees at any age, and that you can get just as good a workout walking.

    1. I hope to be living proof of that, Nan! We shall see . . . .


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