Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thursday 13: Running again, and it feels good

I recently started running again to help Seth condition for cross-country, and have continued on my own now that he's off running with his team after school...

I used to run home from work, more than 15 years ago. It was about a 4-mile route, and I really enjoyed the fitness benefits at that time. More accurately, I was pleased that I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted if I was running regularly (might as well be honest about it!). That lasted for a few years, during which I ran a couple of races (Bloomsday) and enjoyed that aspect of running as well. My knees started bothering me and so I dropped running in favor of step classes at the local Y.

My next go at pounding the pavement was about 9 years ago (somehow I forgot about the knee pain), and it was a different story than in my 20s. I was a bit heavier (that's what happens when you keep eating and don't exercise, I hear...), maybe about 15 pounds, and it made getting started all the harder. And, though I didn't know it at the time, I was having trouble with my thyroid--not slow or fast, just really unstable is the best way to put it--and I couldn't drop a pound to save my soul. I was out there hitting the pavement and seeing zero results. I was more than a little disappointed (no matter what people say, fitness is fine, but losing poundage/feeling toned is what really motivates me), and as you might guess, I abandoned that effort inside a year.

So here we are again, sans thyroid at this point, feeling pretty healthy overall. I've exercised off and on the past few years, but nothing truly dedicated. And at this point, I'm not going out on any limb to say that I have a big goal or lifetime running commitment--the knees might just give out on me tomorrow--but I am going to enjoy it while I can, and do my best to stay healthy and injury free...

So for my Thursday 13, from a great list from Women's Health, here are 13 tips for running that I found very helpful. The article has 101, so it took a little work to pare it down!

1. "The biggest mistake that new runners make is that they tend to think in mile increments--1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles. Beginning runners need to think in minutes, not miles." --Budd Coates, four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier/coach

2. "Don't clench your fists in a white-knuckle grip. Instead, run with a cupped hand, thumbs resting on the fingers, as if you were protecting an egg in each palm." --Runner's World editors

3. "Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! In cold weather and warm. We use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. I work all day at hydrating." -Dr. Alex Ratelle, former masters running great (I really need to work on this one!)

4. Good for me to remember: "So-called 'junk miles'--those slow miles done on easy days or during warmups--do count. They burn calories as effectively as fast miles; it just takes longer. Regardless of pace, each mile you run burns about 100 calories." -Hal Higdon, runner/writer/coach

5. "During long, slow distance training, you should think of yourself as a thoroughbred disguised as a plow horse. No need to give yourself away by running fast." -Marty Liquori, running commentator and former world-class miler

6. "A 40-minute run punctuated with a half-dozen 30-second pace pickups (not all-out sprints) can really jazz up an otherwise boring training run." -Amby Burfoot, Runner's World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon champ

7. "After a run, don't rush back into life. Take a few minutes to walk, stretch, relax, meditate." -Runner's World editor

8. Good to know, since I am not a big stretcher: "Overly aggressive stretching can actually increase your injury risk." -Tim Noakes, M.D., author of Lore of Running

9. This will be good to remember when I'm on the treadmill this winter: "The advantage of running /hills' on a treadmill is you can go up without pounding down the other side." -Ken Sparks, Ph.D.

10. This inspires me: "Marathon training doesn't have to be a grind. By running for about 30 minutes two times a week, and by gradually increasing the length of a third weekly run--the long run--anyone can finish a marathon." -Jeff Galloway

11. "During the hard training phase, never be afraid to take a day off. If your legs are feeling unduly stiff and sore, rest. If you're at all sluggish, rest. Whenever you're in doubt, rest." -Bruce Fordyce, nine-time Comrades Marathon champion from South Africa

12. "Once you find a warmup routine that works, repeat it as habitually as possible." -Ted Corbitt

13. And I just like this quote, whether I ever run a marathon or not: "Divide the marathon into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart." -Mike Fanelli, runner and coach

Wish me luck! So far, I'm loving it...

For more Thursday 13s, go here.


  1. I admire your drive. I'm afraid my jogging days are far behind me. Wtg for you, keep it up.

  2. I've been thinking about running...thinking and this list was helpful.

  3. way to go, sher! i'm with you aiming for the half in november. i especially like #5 ;-)

  4. I've thought of taking up running. Then I thought I might want to start with walking.

  5. I see people running all the time in the neighborhood, but haven't actually gotten out there and did it. I'm more of a bicycle girl.

  6. Way to go, girl! I know the delight of if you find any articles about bum ankles, pass it on, OK? Would love to run again...enjoy every minute you can do it.

  7. One of my goals in life is to run a marathon and I feel a little more optimistic about fulfilling this dream after reading #10. Happy Thursday! :)

  8. Interesting and inspiring. Thanks for sharing. I had run a couple years ago but I have managed to get a stress fracture in each foot since they take FOREVER to heal so I am going to opt for walking.

  9. Interesting and inspiring. Thanks for sharing. I had run a couple years ago but I have managed to get a stress fracture in each foot since they take FOREVER to heal so I am going to opt for walking.


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