Want to Know a Truth…

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. Ellen Goodman

Here’s my truth:   My long time mindset of harder is better has served to make me feel discouraged more times than it’s made me feel good about myself and the work I do.  Now in this long recovery cycle, I realize it may be totally off base.

Funny thing is that my nutritionist recently told me, “You know you can get healthy just from walking every day.  You don’t have to work so hard at this.”   My foot doctor told me, “You know you don’t have to run six days a week to get healthy.  You can benefit from cross training and/or taking long walks.”  My running club told me, “You can use walking to strengthen and improve your running.”  My heart rate coach told me time spent building my endurance would have huge payoffs in the long run.  But, the short run might involve a lot of walking.”  My husband told me, “You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”  But my ego told me, “You can push through this.  You don’t have to go back to being a beginner and walking.  You can run through these bumps in the road.

Wanna know a truth… I’ve come to finally realize that – Just because I take breaks to walk doesn’t mean I’m not a runner.

Jeff Galloway says, “Never underestimate the power of a good walk—and not just as a mid-run break. Going for a “pure” walk, (no running at all) allows your body to make small adaptations that strengthen your feet, knees and hips. Long, brisk walks can help boost your endurance. And walking as a means of cross-training gives your joints and running muscles a well-deserved break, which can help reduce or eliminate the aches and pains caused by running.”  Jeff is an Olympic runner who has taught many people how to successfully learn to run.  His running clubs are found all over the world and I had the pleasure of working with one in New York City this year.  Bill, a marathoner, ran with my group one weekend in Central Park.  He was running with me and talking about how he had burned out as a runner.  He talked about how hard he was training and how it took a toll on his body.  He told me that, “You can never run too slow when training, but you definitely can run too fast.”  He recommended that I run as slow as possible on my training runs and it would benefit me greatly over time.  He explained that during his first marathon he overtrained and had nothing left at the end.  The next year, running with the Galloway club to train, he finished strong and passed many runners on the course who had flown by him in the earlier stages of the race.

This time I think I actually understand what many have been trying to tell me.  My improvement may actually depend on slowing it down.  Galloway believes that walking can help strengthen your muscles and increase your endurance.  Further, he believes that it re-conditions soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, connective tissue), preparing them for the more rigorous demands of running.  This sounds like just what the doctor ordered and what I need to start again.   Friday, I decided it was time to start walking a little to get moving again.  I’ve had three (3) weeks of total rest and am now ready to walk lightly to get back out there.  I walked two miles on Friday and Saturday and it felt great to be outside in the crisp fall air.  I took my dog with me to ensure that I kept it at a walk, as he’s definitely not a running dog.  I will continue to take shorter walks and hope to increase my endurance and mental mindset for running.

This week, I got a Facebook message from a childhood friend.  She decided to start the Couch to 5K plan with the long term plan of joining us on some runs this year.  Her joy and excitement in the discovery of running made me realize what I was truly missing.  There is joy to be found in running not just work.  It is not just about increasing pace, or distance.  It’s about reclaiming health and feeling great about what you’ve accomplished.  Wanna know a truth…I haven’t felt that in a very long time!  Running is not my job, it’s my joy and I’m setting off to find that again.  Thanks Deb for reminding me what it’s truly about.  Can’t wait to run with you and Helen soon, even if we end up running to the nearest Irish pub and staying for hours.

What’s your current truth?  Leave me a message below and let’s get started on moving forward together.

Worth checking out:


Opening quote taken from my running friend Tony Garcia’s book – Wanna Know a Truth:A Simple Man’s Search for the Truths in His Life.  I’ve enjoyed Tony’s journey and writing.  His book is definitely worth checking out.

Functional Movement Specialist – Ever wonder why you keep getting injured? Tired of hearing, “Maybe your body is just not meant to run.” Contact Jessica Leggio for a consultation and get on track to running pain free. Mention my name – Laura Hess Kump, or this blog Reclaiming My Health for a free consultation –  Run Pain Free

Galloway Training – Official website can be found at – Jeff Galloway

Lists of Galloway groups in different states can be found on the main website.  Here is the link to the New York City chapter, a very active and supportive group – New York City Galloway Group  This page has dates for the training cycle we just completed, but information on joining for the next cycle can be found here.  We begin again in May, however members meet unofficially throughout the winter months.

 

 

If You Want a Different Result, Try Something New!

I’ve been going back and forth trying to get my training plan right.  I am working with a Marathon Heart Rate Training group plan which calls for me to keep my heart rate at, or under 140 bpm.  I also have been thinking about using the Galloway method of run/walk/run intervals to train.  I keep going back and forth with the benefits of each plan.  The heart rate plan builds my anaerobic systems and should keep me healthy and injury free.  The Galloway plan also keeps me injury free as I’m building in recovery and not continuously straining my ankle tendons.  I keep asking myself, Do I realistically expect to run 26.2 miles without stopping?  Do I want to train using run/walk/run intervals, or continuous running like I did for my half marathon?  There are so many things to consider and honestly my achilles is still not feeling great.  I’ve been trying to push through and modify as needed but the pain has not totally subsided.  It’s super hard to be motivated to train and run when it hurts.

When I returned to running this spring, I was using intervals to build my stamina back up.  I always felt the time went faster and it was a great workout.  Yet, I still thought of it as a temporary measure, one that was meant to build me up and then taper away.  As I continued, I had the goal of increasing the intervals until they were gone.  A few weeks ago, I began continuous running and worked up to 6 miles on long runs. If I’m honest with myself, my feet were crying from mile 5 on.  After the run I had difficulty walking and my day was pretty much left to roll, soak, elevate and rest.  Clearly, something had to give and that something was my EGO.

Last year, I joined a running club in Manhattan – The Galloway Club.  I never went to one run and just decided it wasn’t for me because after all, I was a runner.  This year, I joined the club again and told myself I was going to try it, but didn’t.  While I did try intervals, I didn’t go to join the club for the long runs, which by the way are geared to training for the marathon.  This week I had a long, honest talk with my EGO and decided that if I am going to make it through this marathon I need to do what my body needs, not what my EGO wants.  Wednesday morning I met with Filicia, a local Galloway club member and we ran 3 miles at the park.  We did 45:30 intervals and I noticed that my pace was much quicker than when I run continuously.  I also noticed that my feet didn’t hurt quite as much.  The rest of the day I didn’t need to recover and elevate, ice, etc my feet.  Listening to her tell me about the three marathons she ran successfully really helped me make my decision.  I am officially doing run/walk/run interval training and plan to run the marathon using this strategy.  Thanks Filicia for talking me through this and for running with me!

Today, we met again and ran 7 miles, the same route I ran last week.  Last week by mile 5 my feet were pretty shot and I wasn’t sure if I could finish.  This week, though I had some soreness, I finished the run and didn’t feel finished for the day.  I’m super excited to feel like I WILL complete this marathon using this strategy.  I also am excited that perhaps my achilles will finally begin to heal.  When I compare how I felt this week recovering from the run to how I felt last week it is really a no brainer.  I feel much better and more able to go about the business of my day.

In reflecting on why this decision was so hard for me to make, I know my ego is the cause.  I didn’t think of run/walk/run intervals as “running”.  I felt that if I needed to use this strategy, I was weak.  I am fully aware that the man who created this method, Jeff Galloway, is an Olympian, but I just couldn’t get past feeling like a failure.  A funny thing happened on these last two runs – I felt like I worked hard.  I wasn’t slogging along slowly, praying for the run to end.  I actually felt invigorated and more athletic than before.  It’s hard to explain, but I felt very accomplished and know in my heart I made the right choice.  The reality is, whether I walk, run or crawl, a mile is a mile and I’m out there moving forward!

What are the bullshit stories you tell yourself when you workout, or run?  Please share below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Slow Ride Take it Easy

Today’s tip is to slow down your run to increase benefits to your heart and body!

As I obsessed and worried about not being able to run faster, I did a lot of reading about the benefits of running vs walking and of running slow.  According to some research I read, the best workout for people of all ages is running but, there’s a catch to this research which really made me feel better.  One group of researchers followed a group of runners over a long period of time.  They found that the runners who ran in moderation showed more gains than those who ran more often and faster!  This made my heart sing.  When you are out there jogging along wondering why in the world you can’t go faster without taking the joy out of running, research like this gives you new purpose.  It also aligns with the work of Phil Maffetone and Jeff Galloway.  All I have to say is keep it coming!

According to what I read, the runners who ran 3-4 times a week at a slower pace had the most long term health gains.  Currently, I’m doing 4 slow runs a week (3 short, 1 long) with the goal to get back to 5 runs in the coming weeks.  I’ve been debating on the 5th run as my achilles is still a little tentative so reading this almost gave me permission to cross train instead that day doing something that doesn’t require me to be on my feet.  My husband is getting my bike road ready for use this summer and I’ve rejoined my yoga studio.

After experiencing two major injuries, I worry about the toll running might take on my body.  Slowing it down has kept me on the road injury free.  I’ve been dabbling with Galloway running, but like the slow, steady run better than the start and stop of interval running.  Galloway himself though has continue to run long after his 50th birthday and remains injury free, so I believe the slow, gentle philosophy rather than the focus on speed is in line with where I am at right now in my running life.  Right now my focus is on building up my distance to cover 26.2 miles.  If I get tired on the long run, I can switch to interval running and add more miles.

I must admit I do still look at the end of each run to see if my pace was faster than the last run, but don’t get discouraged about it any more.  I’m more excited when I see my training index on my watch and it says – moderate, not “extreme workout” like it used to. I’m also excited by the fat burn index which is much higher following a long slow run than a fast run.  For example, todays 2 mile run fat burn index was 25% compared to a faster 2 mile run fat burn index of 12%.   Not sure about the science aspect of that but I know it means an increase in fat burning at the slower rate!

If you have slowed down the run and felt the benefits please share below.  I’d love to chat with you about the impact it has had on you.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s an Option for That

Just back from a few days in San Diego.  What a beautiful, peaceful place with absolutely perfect weather every day.  I only got in one run during my time there as my Achilles is still bothering me.  Recently, I had to switch over to intervals of run/walk to not do more damage to my tendon and hopefully keep moving forward.  It’s important to know there’s generally an option for getting your workout in and that has to be good enough for now.

Depending on the injury, or issue, there is very often an option for getting in a workout.  In the past, I would completely stop working out and feel totally sorry for myself.  I’ve learned to find the modification that I can do and just focus on that.  So, for me right now the option is walk/run intervals and I’ve resigned myself to this fact and actually quite enjoy it.  Walk/run intervals are keeping me on the road and not further damaging my tendon.

What options are out there for your injury?  It really depends on what it is and what your doctor, or PT thinks is appropriate.  I can tell you what has kept me going during my injuries and hope you connect in some way.

Lower Body Injuries – Work Your Upper Body

When I had ankle tendon repair surgery it was a long time before I could even walk.  To keep my sanity I worked my upper body.  I broke the upper body into sections and each day I did something while seated in a chair.  Chest and biceps one day, triceps and back another.  There are many videos available on YouTube, but I used Body Beast videos by Beachbody.

Can’t Run – Walk

If you can’t run at all there is always the walk option.  You get just as good of a workout with less stress on your muscles and joints.  When I am in the walk mode I tell myself a simple truth – a mile is a mile no matter how fast you move.  Shoot for 10,000 steps a day and you’ll be getting enough movement.

Returning to Running – Try Run/Walk Intervals

I’m currently using Galloway training methods coupled with heart rate training to get myself back on the road.  My Achilles has been bothering me terribly and it’s been frustrating.  Run/walk intervals allows me to get in time on my feet needed without further injuring the tendon.  When using these intervals you are not putting constant stress on the tendons.  When you are walking you are using different muscles than when you are running.  The switching back and forth allows muscles some time to rest.  I’m hoping this will keep me in the game for my race in November.

It’s hard to keep motivated when you feel down and out.  Talk to you doctor and see what you can do.  Finding something I could do has helped keep me sane when I easily could have given up.  I hope you find a way to keep moving through.  Please share below what has kept you going during injuries.

 

Revise the Plan When You Must

Since I broke my three toes on Christmas, I’ve been struggling to get back into a running rhythm.  Anyone who has broken toes can tell you just how painful this injury can be.  I thought I had it under control as I pushed through on the elliptical in my boot and running on the treadmill with super wide shoes.  I laughed in the face of this injury and anxiously awaited warmer weather to get back outside.  Sometimes though, life has other plans.

Following my first outdoor runs, I quickly realized this wasn’t going to be so easy.  I felt like the months of easy treadmill runs did little to maintain my conditioning.  I felt like my foot and ankle were in a constant state of pain.  I felt like it was two steps forward, three steps back.  I felt like my head was spinning with the bullshit stories I tell myself.  Finally, I felt like I had to pull up my bootstraps and get this fixed.  My plans were in need of a major revision.

First, I needed to address the pain in my ankle because that is super scary to me.  I do not ever want to have that surgery again.  I think I knew the trigger for the ankle pain.  Over the winter, I was trying to switch over to zero drop shoes and believe this was putting unnecessary pressure on my peroneal tendon.  The shoes seemed to work fine on the slow runs on the treadmill, but outside training was just not the same.  I’m now back in my trusted Hoka shoes and hoping I didn’t do any damage to the tendon.

Next, my toes are still causing some pain in my foot.  This concerns me greatly and I’m hoping there’s no nerve damage.  I’m trying to incorporate the yoga toes pose back into my cool down protocols, as well as foam rolling religiously and hoping this will help.  If not, I definitely need to get an MRI in the coming weeks.

Finally, I definitely needed to revise my pre training plan to build up my strength for running.  I’ve been trying to get off some extra pounds gained during the long winter break.  Not too bad, just need to get about 10-15 off for my optimum running weight.  This week I’m down 5 pounds using the Weight Watchers app to track my eating.  Again, not a fan of plans but chose this one because I can eat real food that I cook.  I don’t agree with the severe limiting of healthy fats, but I’m incorporating what I know is right for my body with the plan and so far it’s keeping me honest about my food choices.

I’m using the Couch to 5K app to warm up my body and am on week 2 of the plan.  The pain in my ankle is still there at night, but I do feel like it’s subsiding.  As I do the couch to 5K plan (similar to the one I just finished, Run for Weight Loss, but less intense) I reflect on the walk/run strategy.  For now, I think this may be just the perfect revision to my running training.

Run/walk programs are an effective training method that can help increase fitness.  The stigma attached to it is that it’s not “real running”.  This stigma overlooks the fact that when alternating running with walking, you decrease the amount of impact on your body and potentially decrease risk of injury.  Further, using this strategy you recover quicker from your workouts as your body has built in recovery breaks.  It is also a form of interval training and can increase caloric burn during your workouts.

Running as we know is a high impact sport.  The continuous use of any muscle used the same way (running long in my case), increases muscle fatigue more rapidly. Continuing to run with fatigued muscles, will greatly increase the chance of injury.  Knowing this it makes total sense to me to use a run/walk program to build my fitness for the marathon.  During the walk portion of run/walk, your body has a chance to recover – both heart rate and muscular recovery.   Walking using different muscle groups than running and allows for some muscular recovery during these sessions.

Run/walk interval training is easy to implement.  Basically you run for a designated portion of time, followed by walk period, then repeat the cycle a certain amount of times.  The free couch to 5K app tells you when to run or walk.  I find myself looking forward to those beeps during my runs now.  I was worried I’d have trouble running after a walk period, but it’s actually quite the opposite.  I look forward to the run beep knowing it’s only for a short period of time.  Mentally this method is motivating and the time flies by.  My pace is even slightly faster over the long runs as when fatigued my pace tends to slow down to a crawl, often slower than a walk pace.

I’m excited to see if this method helps me get back on track without pain, or injury.  Are there any run/walk converts out there that want to share their story?  I’d love to feature your story here in an upcoming blog.  Let me know and please feel free to leave a comment below.  Looking forward to hearing your stories.

Great read to learn more about this method of training:

The Run Walk Run Method·

 

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