Saturday, April 16, 2011
Step to it
Unlike the sports I've tried previously for Injured Player - boxing and rock climbing - running presents an opportunity to change the scenery. You can literally run anywhere.
And so, my preparation for the upcoming 10K run took me out to beautiful Elk Lake. As you can see from the pictures, there's a great running trail that is scenic - it follows a lake and is sheltered by trees and the west coast's "wilderness". It's a very popular spot for runners because it's approximately 10K, so people can easily track their distance.
I went with my friend Liz and a few of her friends. She's in a regular running group and has been kind enough to give me some pointers.
Secret number one: Talking while running is good! If you can't talk because you're out of breath, you're probably running too fast. (This may be the sport for me after all!)
Secret number two: Smaller, short steps are good for keeping your energy up. Plus, she said that when you step your focus should be on lifting your knees up. Most of us focus more on pounding the ground, getting that next step in. Instead, if you focus on lifting your knees you'll find a longer run less daunting.
Secret number three: Try not to hunch your body or lean too far forward. As Liz recalled, at the end of a long race you often see people barely standing, their bodies are so exhausted they just want to fall forward. When running, you should try and keep a nice up and down line through your body.
Running 10K off the bat is a lot, which is why I've been doing several smaller runs before going straight to the long distance. I've run Elk Lake twice now. At this point I'm still walking and running. I noticed that last time my body felt much better - my hip flexer and toe were a bit achy at the end again, but not nearly as bad as they were after my first trip around the lake.
I think the key is to listen to your body. Don't push yourself at the expense of your health.