It’s been some time since I’ve written about running, so here it goes. I had foot surgery about a year and a half ago. The recovery process from any surgery, I am sure is brutal. Since I have only experienced the recovery process from foot surgery, I have nothing else to say but…it is BRUTAL. Perhaps it is due to my innate, driven nature to just go, go, go. Or, to think that my body is invincible, resilient and can go back to where it was before my injury – after all the injury is gone now, right? Alas, I have learned many, many lessons from my foot surgery (keep in mind this was actually foot surgery #2 – my feet had to match 🙂 ).
I began running back in October 2015. I ran about a month, and truly tried to be a good patient. I worked my way up very slowly. I began with 5×30 seconds, every other day, and did this for 1 week. The following week I progressed to 5×60 seconds, and so on. I did okay on this method, but had residual foot pain. I was back at work only 3 days after my foot surgery – my circumstances did not allow me any more off time. Lo and behold I continued to try to run, but eventually developed a concentrated foot pain in January in my toe. Yup, I developed a stress fracture. So back in the walking boot I went. I wore the walking boot from the end of February until April, due to the long standing hours at my job. I was a graduate student at the time, and had an end in site – the end of April, hence why I thought wearing the walking boot until that time would be okay.
Hip Flexor Strain. That was my next injury, due to wearing my walking boot too long. I walk with my toes pointing out, like a duck! And eventually the heavy walking boot took effect on the way that I lift my hip flexor. This injury lasted for the better part of the Summer, and I wasn’t able to begin running consistently until August.
Those few spurts of running were enough to get me somewhat in shape. The initial 5×30 seconds run was, go figure, HARD! And I struggled when I ran 1 mile, continuously. I had been out of running for 6 months, and lost significant strength in my leg/foot that had been operated on. I spent 3 weeks on crutches, and 6 weeks in a walking boot, post surgery. This is what made coming back to running so hard. I felt as if I was literally training for the “couch to 5k”. I can absolutely empathize with individuals who don’t run and try to begin. I know why it is so easy to give up. I understand why it is not enjoyable. I can comprehend the muscle pains, the side stitches and the feeling of running like you are running through sludge (ahem not really moving). Fortunately for me, I had experience with running and knew the delight it could bring me, once I got in shape. I had goals, which is something absolutely necessary when beginning an exercise program.
My exact training plan to get to where I am today is too difficult to describe. But what I did do was remain consistent. I began slowly, and added on days of running, or increased weekly mileage. I monitored my body and if I had aches or pains, I took off, or cross trained and swam instead. I found my body NEEDS at least 1 day off a week entirely. I began incorporating faster runs balanced with SLOW runs (necessity). I saw progress, and I got excited. The core of your body can be taken literally. It is the core to preventing a slew of injuries. It is important to do even just 3 minutes of abdominal exercises a day. We can all spare 3 minutes :).
Call me crazy, but my favorite type of running is distance running. The farther I can go, the better. I am slowly progressing up to my favorite distance – the marathon. And with Spring right around the corner, I will be hitting these longer distances in gorgeous temperatures. Although the groundhog in my area (Groundhog day – if you don’t know what it is, look it up!) said we have 6 more weeks of winter 😦 boo hoo!
I challenge all of you to begin an exercise program. Begin small. It will be tough in the beginning, but I can promise you that it will be worthwhile, and you will feel much better.