16 September 2008


Is it too much to ask to be able to run without pain?  I'm starting to think so.  I'm back on the daily grind of gym at an ungodly hour, work, home, dinner, knit for a short while, and bed.  I try to ride my bike to work at least 2-3 days a week, but Oh-hia-ia's weather, as usual, has been tres un-co-operative.

I can't seem to manage an entirely pain-free run.  Either I get stabs and twinges in my knee(s) or I get shin splints that are excruciating.  I'm using Podrunner: Intervals to train this time around, following their very sensible regimen of running 3 days a week and strength training on alternate days.  

I know I've written about Podrunner before, but it bears frequent repeating: this is phenomenal music to run to. (Linkage in the sidebar under Music, Bands, Radio.  I'm too lazy to type the html this morning.  Deal.)  Podrunner: Intervals are the brainchild of DJ Steveboy, and the idea is to take you from couch potato to running a 5K in 10 weeks.  As I've not done much running during calendar year 2008, it seemed prudent to just start all over, as if I had never run.  I had debated jumping in to Intervals around week 3 or 4, and I'm glad that I didn't.  I can only imagine how much pain I'd be in if I'd decided to just skip ahead.  Lots.

Intervals continues after the 5K as well, training for an 8K, a 10K and, I'm sure, in time, will also work its way to a half and a full marathon.  

I've tried all sorts of things for the shin splints.  I was advised to: eat more bananas (yuk), drink more water (more?!?!),  get new shoes (yeah, did that, too) and none of it has worked.  Shocking, I know.

I despise bananas.  Just....ick.  Unless, of course, we're talking about a banana milkshake.  Then, yeah, I'm all for it.  So what I've done about that is incorporate them into the protein smoothies I make, where they're not the predominant flavor.  I use those as a meal replacement sometimes, or I use them when that 10 AM or 3 PM I'm-so-hungry demon shows up.

I really thought with the last new shoe purchase, back in April when I was in Florida, that the shin splint problem would be over.  I went to a store that sells only running shoes.  I took my old shoes, to show them the wear pattern.  They spent over an hour with me, watching me walk, jump, sprint, and jog in place.  They gave me a pair of shoes that were heavier than my old ones, which was weird until I got used to them.  I did use them to run around in Florida, and had little trouble.  That honeymoon didn't last long; after I got back to OH, it was the same story.  Clearly?  I need to run only in Florida.  Heh.  Too bad that's not really an option.

As for the water, how much more can I drink?  I get far more than the recomended 6-8 8-ounce glasses every day.  @ work, I have a 24-ounce tumbler that sits on my desk, and I drink usually 2.5 of those in a day.  I drink at least 16 ounces while I'm working out.  Another 12-20 at dinner.  99.9999% of the time, I'd rather drink water than anything else.  I do have my morning coffee, but not every single day, so we can't blame caffine for draining all my hydration.  I don't drink soda.   My eyeballs will be floating if I drink more water.

For curing the pain after it has occurred, I do all sorts of not-really-helpful things.  I stretch, after every run, far more than the casual exerciser will stretch.  Because it feels woooonderful.  I have tried hot baths (in the winter) or sitting in the sauna after my runs.  Also feels good, but doesn't cure the pain.  Lavender oil, massaged into the legs along with a base moisturizer.  Smells nice.

I go to see my physical therapist (PT) when the pain is out of control.  What does he say?  Don't run.  Full stop.  Running's bad for your body.  Tell me something I didn't know, genius.  Life is hazardous to your health, FFS.  I'd rather be skinny and have bad knees from running than fat and unhappy.  Sorry, PT.

Suggestions for pain-free running gladly accepted in the comments box.


Mrs. G. said...

I am doing the couch to 5k training and my lower back is killing me. Is it possible to take potassium and bypass the bananas?
Anyway, the pain? I get it.

Lucy Arin said...

Back pain suuuucks. I see a massotherapist when that gets bad for me, he does deep tissue pressure for it, and wow...it works.

I prefer to get nutrients/minerals from natural sources whenever I can, so I've avoided potassium supplements thus far. Potatoes are high in potassium too, but I'm limiting my carbs. *sigh*

Erin said...

I just subscribed to his podcast. I too am back in the gym regularly. I'm feeling good and already feel a difference. Thanks for the podcast suggestion!

Lucy Arin said...

No worries! If I'm not running, that sort of electronica can sometimes be grating on the nerves (not to mention the ears) but when I *AM* running, it is perfect. One of the great things about Podrunner is that there are mixes with a consistent beat per minute (bpm) or escalating mixes that go from a slower beat to a much faster one. If you can find a bpm that works with your stride, you can keep a more consistent pace. Which is most helpful when you're trying to run outside, off of the treadmill.

Glad you like it!