January 8 – Pain It Forward

Start slow and ramp up, especially if you aren’t used to training.

WALK IT OFFIt’s the start of a new 5K-a-Day week for Melissa and me and it went very well today. I was sick yesterday afternoon and evening. I had a sudden chill/fever combination with a lot of body aches, but this morning after waking up from close to 16 hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep, I felt pretty well. So well in fact that we went to the gym again for a 3.1 mile stroll on the treadmill. This time I brought my earbuds so that I could focus on something other than my aching shin splints and ankles.

Melissa and I began by stretching our calves and I continued with my seated Yoga pose to stretch those troublesome shin muscles.

I made it over to the treadmill next to her and flipped the channels on the personal TV screen to Cops and started my journey. Reluctant to dive right into a 4.0 mile per hour pace, I decided to take it a bit easy with a 3.5 mile per hour one. I felt good during the first mile so I sped it up to 3.9 miles per hour. Close to the two mile mark, I jogged a bit to try to catch up to Melissa who stays at a fairly constant 4.0 miles per hour gait. Although today, she sped up three or four times to increase her overall pace. She finished about five minutes before I did and headed to the wet sauna.

My time was right at the 50 minute mark, which isn’t super, but it was what I felt I could do considering my weird experience last night and my previous days of leg pain. I think the combination of taking it a little easier on the front side of the 5K helped. I also popped two Ibuprofen before hitting the gym. Ibuprofen helps with the inflammation and with the pain associated with shin splints. I don’t want to rely on it, though, and I feel like I won’t have to after a couple more weeks of decent training.

Sports physicians and trainers don’t like for people to rely on painkillers because masking the pain can also mask injuries that can worsen if left untreated. I’m not condoning the use of any pain medication, but simply reporting on what I do for myself.

Melissa and I have been walking in races and on our own for two years or so and we know our bodies. The reason that I’m having so much trouble with this 5K-a-Day challenge is that we slacked off of our walking routine in the second half of 2016 and I certainly felt it when starting this challenge. I’ve always been athletic and a lifelong runner/walker, but this 5K commitment has left me realizing that gradual training and proper care along the way are essential to success.

The takeaway for today is that no matter how you feel, you have to keep going. There will be days that I don’t feel like completing the 5K. There will be days that Melissa doesn’t feel like doing it, but if one of us stays motivated and pushes the other one, no matter what, we won’t give up. Sure, it would be much easier not to do it, but then we also have a lot to lose by not keeping up with our challenge. Even when I’m sick, I’m going to complete the daily 5K. You’ll read about my complaints and heartaches along the path.

You can send us messages through this blog and ask questions or whatever. Let us know your experiences with your own challenges. You don’t have to wait until January 1 to begin a 5K-a-Day challenge. You can jump in anytime. Start slow and ramp up, especially if you aren’t used to training. Stretch, prepare, and keep your challenge going.

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