Starting From Zero

Some days it feels like I am starting from zero. Today is one of those days. I have been having pain in my right foot since March. At the end of March I self-diagnosed it as a stress fracture (I’m not a big fan of paying to go to the doctor, only to be told to stop running!) and took 6 weeks off from running. Not an easy thing for me to do, but I knew it was in the best interest of my foot (not so much my mental health…). I started back to running at the beginning of May, and much to my dismay, my foot began to hurt again after about 4 runs. Being the responsible adult that I am, (ahem) I decided I didn’t really care if my foot hurt and I was just going to keep running. After all, it wasn’t unbearable. 

Then, last week I attended my monthly Triathlon Club meeting. We had a guest speaker from “Good Form Running” that spoke about the importance of running with good form in order to avoid injury. I was quickly reminded of last summer when I was training for my Ironman and my sister Rondi, a physical therapist, helped me get through some injuries by having me work on my number of “steps per minute” as I ran. Sure enough, the “Good Form Running” guy reaffirmed that the correct number of steps per minute in order to run with the best form (and the least likelihood of injury) is 180. Let me assure you that if this is not something you have tried, it is not an easy thing to do. 

On Friday, I went out for my first post-meeting run. One mile into the run my foot began to hurt, and that little light bulb came on reminding me to turn on my metronome app and start running with 180 steps per minute. Upon doing this, my foot did not hurt for the rest of the run. However, I was completely bushed and panting like a dog. 

On my Monday morning trail run, I was running with a friend, and decided not to kill the ambiance of our run with the dee, dee, dee, dee, dee of the metronome app. The run was fabulous, peaceful, and much easier (even though it was longer!) than Friday’s 180 steps per minute run. Can you guess the problem? Yup. Sore foot.

So, today while the boys slept, I decided that I am going to have to stay committed to this whole 180 steps per minute thing. I headed downstairs to the treadmill, started my metronome app, and I was off. Changing anything with your form feels like starting from zero. My body is not used to (or happy with) taking 180 steps per minute. It’s a BIG change. Today I only ran 3 miles, and 1.5 miles in I had to take an emergency break because the laundry had to be switched! You get what I mean. It’s not going to be a fun change, but the to be able to run injury free will be entirely worth the struggle.

“The reward for those who persevere far exceeds the pain that precedes the victory.” -Unknown
Today it feels like I’m starting from zero, and it hurts. But the glory that I’ll feel at the finish line of my 50K on September 29 makes it all worth it.
Start today. 

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