- some new to me Asics sneakers
Active Network Couch to 5K app
Runicorn is supportive, happy, and full of pep. I respond better to positive reinforcement than a drill sergeant yelling at me, but if that's your thing, the app has five different coaches to choose from.
- Runicorn is the best!
Here's where I have to warn you. I did a lot of research after my first two runs--because I was in excruciating pain, and because I figure Google was made so that I could learn everything I want to know about anything. (Seriously, people. It's your friend. It's like a library at your fingertips.) I had spent two sessions in a row with terrible hip, knee, and shin pain--and I thought that was how running was supposed to feel. It's not.
In my research I found three problems--the first is that I wiggle my hips while I run--one drops lower than the other, and that causes undue stress on the lower legs because your hips aren't doing their job of supporting your upper body. So all 170 pounds of my body were crashing down upon my shins, giving me awful shin splints (yes, I just told you my weight. I'm going to tell you something about numbers soon, so bear with me.) I corrected this by consciously holding my hips even on the next several runs. Yesterday when I ran I realized that my body had finally succumbed to muscle memory and my hips stayed in place without me actually focusing on it.
My second problem was that I was crossing my arms over my body as I ran. All the people who look like they're having fun jogging do it. Apparently, it can also cause pressure on your lower body. According to Prevention.com your arms should go back and forth at a 90 degree angle parallel to your body, not across it. My knees, which don't like to pivot, we're very happy when I discovered this trick.
The last problem was my stride. Your body should be be above your foot as it strikes the ground, and if it's behind it you may find yourself with some pretty intense shin splints. I shortened my stride length to a very short one for now, and once I did the shin splints seemed to disappear. I also invested in a pair of new to me Avia sneakers which work with the way my foot moves when I run (you can check your pronation here: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-shoes/the-wet-test.)
Fixing those three problems gave me a good physical start on running--but something that surprised me was that running isn't only physical. I'm not even talking about the endorphins you produce while exercising--though those are pretty great! I'm talking about the difference I feel depending on where I run, as well as when I run and who I run with. Obviously, this will be different for everyone. But for me, I run much more effectively by the beach. While I can get my run done in my neighborhood, I'm thinking more about getting through the run and getting home to finish this, that, and the other whereas on the beach I'm focusing on the beautiful shoreline. I feel supercharged after running at the beach, as if I've absorbed the sun, wind, and waves through my skin.
Lastly, I'm going back to that number: 170. It's the most I've weighed in my life. But while, in the month+ I've been using the Couch to 5K program, that number has changed little to not at all (despite eating healthy and under the necessary amount of calories to lose a pound a week), my body is absolutely changing. My legs are stronger and firmer; my arms are more toned; and my waistline is suddenly visible. I look in the mirror and see a strong person instead of the number. Each time I finish a session, I feel motivated to go run again. Don't get me wrong: there are some days I finish and feel like this:
- I might be dead in this picture. I'm not sure.
- Feeling strong!