Run the Distance, Forget About Pace
21 of #100DaysToOffload
I have enjoyed running for over six years, but in that time I've been injured several times.
Each injury sets me back and keeps me off the road for weeks if not months.
Is it now time to give up?
As I write, my calves feel tight, so the roller stick will get dusted down.
So far, I have incurred a torn calf muscle, plantar fasciitis, ankle strain and upper foot pain.
You may wonder why I continue when my body suffers. The reality is, I love to run.
I love the open road, exploring new routes and discovering beautiful scenery on my doorstep.
But there must be something wrong with my running form. I have been frustrated that no matter how experienced I become, after each run, my legs feel as if a few children have jumped up and down on them for an hour.
It's time for a change in tactics.
My #running journey has taken different side roads.
First, I tried barefoot running. It is as the name suggests, running without any shoes.
The theory is that it is the thick foam soles of running shoes, dulling the feel of the road, that causes poor running form, and leads to injury.
I can understand the theory. Some books evidence that while running shoe technology has developed over the years, the injury level has not declined.
Running barefoot on smooth American sidewalks is one thing, but on Irish tarmac roads, trying to run was agony.
I tried the Vibram five-finger shoes, and they were fantastic. However, after slowly building up the distance, I ended up shifting pain from the calves to the top of my feet.
It took me months to recover, and the five-fingers got consigned to the recycling bin.
Other running theories I've tried include #Chi running; developed by Danny Dreyer, it involves a lean forward and allowing gravity to pull you along. A bit like falling forward and using your forward foot to stop you from falling over.
Finally, I tried the Pose Method by Dr Nicholas Romanov, which is seen as the precursor to Chi and is similar.
All in all, these theories mean the same thing—a wasted book bought from Amazon.
Then, as I was about to give up searching for an ideal running method, I discovered this video on YouTube.
Slow jogging has proven successful. I've gradually increased my distance, which is more important to me than pace.
My runs are now six, eight, and over ten miles.
I can still sense the calves tightening so I'll need to keep flexible.
Slow is the way to go.
The only anxiety I have is when I approach some walkers. I tend to pick up the pace when there are witnesses.
My ambition now is to develop the slow jogging into Run-Walk-Run interval training to achieve half marathon distances.
Wish me luck, and if you walk past me one day, say hi.