January 5 – The Home Stretch

So, the moral to this story is to stretch and to respect your body’s limits.

Back to the gym for me today. My legs were so sore that I had terrible pace times. I even jogged quite a bit, but when I walked my shin splints were so bad that my pace was close to 20 minutes per mile. My 5K took me almost an hour to complete. The pain, at times, was almost unbearable. It was probably running on that treadmill the day before that hurt so bad. I won’t do that again.

If you’ve ever had shin splints, they hurt a lot. I have shin splints on the outside of my legs (anterior shin splints) and likely have Compartment Syndrome that can only be fully corrected with surgery.

My solution is to stretch, which I should have done before I started my workout. Calf stretches and flexing in both directions is usually the remedy for that horrible pain. Alas, I didn’t take the five minutes required for injury prevention.

Here are two useful links on shin splints if you experience them:

Runner’s World

WebMD

The most often cited remedy is to stop running and cross-train. I disagree. If I stop running and walking, I’ll just experience the same problem all over again. I’m not willing to do that. My fix is to take five minutes and perform the proper stretches, which does work. Calf stretches work for medial (not anterior) shin splints, but I do them anyway as an opposite stretch for my calves.

Shin Splint Stretch The stretch I do for my shin splints is odd and I’m sure it isn’t in the book, but I sit on the floor with my legs folded to the side and behind me. A lot of little kids sit this way when they play. I can’t fully explain or illustrate the position, but found out that it is actually a Yoga pose. See the picture to the right. Who knew that I knew a Yoga pose. Impressive.

Don’t get me wrong, that pose is painful to do. It is for me anyway, so if you experience quite a bit of pain, you can raise up a bit to relieve it until your muscles relax. Hold the pose–never bounce when you exercise–it’s not good for you, although you will see people bouncing their exercises. It causes injuries and muscle fatigue. Just don’t do it.

To assist with my pain, Melissa grabbed a marble rolling pin and rolled my outer shin muscles, which was almost as painful as the soreness and pain of the shin splints, but it helped. So, the moral to this story is to stretch and to respect your body’s limits. Pain tells you to stop doing whatever is causing the pain. The old, “No pain, no gain” saying is nonsense.

January 4 – Treadmill Hell

…when you’re working out, don’t feel compelled to keep up with anyone else.

Melissa and I went to the gym where we still have a membership and mounted the treadmills. I started slow, but picked up to the “standard” 4.0 mile per hour pace. I really hate treadmills. I hate treadmills because they make you walk on a hard, flat surface that has no “give” to it. I know that streets have no “give” either, but the difference is that there’s a lot of variance in sidewalks and streets. Their unevenness conforms better to your shoes and feet. Plus, there’s no variation on a treadmill. It remains steady at whatever pace you set. 4.0 miles per hour is a pretty brisk pace to maintain for 45 minutes. If you don’t believe me, try it.

It was a good workout, but I found myself in a lot of foot and leg pain at that pace. If I’d stayed at 3.5 miles per hour, it would have been far more comfortable, but somewhat longer. Melissa finished before me (about two minutes), which didn’t bother me because everyone has their own pace.

My advice is, that when you’re working out, don’t feel compelled to keep up with anyone else. Don’t ever try to lift more, run faster, or stretch farther because of who you think is watching. Work at your own pace. You’ll experience fewer injuries and a more enjoyable workout. You’ll also be able to maintain a workout routine for a longer period of time, if you’re not feeling intimidated by someone else’s awesome-looking workout.

Don’t compare yourself to other people; you are on your own journey. Feel free to leave comments and questions about your workouts, routines, and any advice that you might have for others in the comments area.

January 3 – An ill wind

Suffering the slings and arrows all in the name of fitness and to face this challenge head on. Day 3 done. No blues here.

5KMelissa did her 5K indoors today at a gym on a treadmill, which is fine, considering how cold it was here today. The cold plus the wind makes for a very good excuse to stay indoors. It was so cold and windy when I went out at lunch, I almost didn’t go. I did go, however, and I drove instead of taking my walk to the little diner I frequent for lunch.

By the time I got home, it was dark again, so no picture of me claiming victory over the elements. I did my 5K outside in the wind and cold. My performance wasn’t spectacular today. An average of 14:14 minutes per mile. Not bad, but not great either. However, let me say that I had to motivate myself just to do it at all in the cold. My best pace was 8:14, but of course, that is only sustained for a few minutes during my downhill jogs. In all, it was a good 5K and I’m happy with it. I did it and I finished, so that can’t be bad.

At mile two, I suffered a bit with the cold air. I suggest that you wear a scarf over your face so that you don’t breathe in so much cold air because it hurts. It hurts my chest and throat to breathe it in. Suffering the slings and arrows all in the name of fitness and to face this challenge head on. Day 3 done. No blues here.

January 2 – Dark Days

My basic strategy for this 5K, and all races really, is to jog the downhills to increase my overall pace.

No picture today I’m afraid because it was dark by the time I got home, changed, and hit the road for my second 5K. I decided that today I’m going to do the jog/walk strategy and see what kind of time I can turn in. It is my own personal challenge and is not part of any workout format or online routine. It’s just something I decided to do in the moment. According to the MapMyWalk iPhone app, I covered 3.12 miles in 39:35 minutes, which is approximately 12:42 per mile. Not bad considering that my walking average is somewhere between 15 and 16 minutes.

I also wear my Withings Activite Watch that measure steps by arm swings. It is pretty accurate, but be aware that it isn’t precise. In a 5K walk, I lose about 500 steps, so that’s something to consider. I suggest using a geo-tracking device or app to give you a more accurate measurement. Step watches aren’t bad, but they just can’t compare to their satellite-based competitors.

My basic strategy for this 5K, and all races really, is to jog the downhills to increase my overall pace. I don’t jog fast, but jogging is at least twice as fast as walking, so I use it to get those lower mile per minute numbers. I also sometimes jog level ground, after I’ve caught my breath a bit. No, 12:42 won’t win any medals, but it also puts me far from the back of the pack, so I’m happy with it.

Melissa walked her 5K today on her own. She didn’t provide any details. To her credit, she has been sick for a week and does well to get out and walk 3 miles. Kudos to her for being dedicated to our challenge.

January 1 – The Starting Line

January 1, 2017Our first 5K was uneventful. It was a chilly 45 degrees with a South wind that we were glad to have at our backs at the halfway point. No records broken, but we completed it, although Melissa was sick. A good start, but as we were within 20 yards of our house, Melissa said, “Only 364 more to go.” She always knows exactly what to say.