Oh, running. You elusive, saucy minx. You cruel charlatan.
I’ve been running for a month now. It’s crazy to think that it has been that long! It definitely doesn’t feel like things have changed all that much in a month, although when I look back on it, I know they have. My training routine in the post back-surgery era has changed significantly from what it used to be, and it probably will continue to change going forward. Here’s where I’m at right now.
Before: Running 5 days a week, 35-40 miles/weekly
After: Running 3 days a week, whatever I can manage
One thing I knew for sure was that my running volume would have to change significantly in order to keep my back as healthy as possible. For now, that means running three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) with the possibility of working my way up to 4 eventually. I’m doing run/walk right now and likely will for my long runs for the foreseeable future. This past week, I ran 3.5 miles without stopping to walk, which was by far my longest effort since I started running again. I was so proud of myself that you would have thought I just ran an ultra. Usually, I try to increase the amount I run without walking one day a week. The other day, I do a shorter effort with a walk thrown in. On long run days, I’m currently running a mile and then walking for a couple of minutes, then running again.
I have to say, it’s been more frustrating to get back to running than I thought. I’m struggling a lot with the mental aspect -specifically, I’m constantly comparing what I can do now to what I could do before, which is obviously ridiculous. I can’t seem to help it, though. I do have a great time talking with my friends, and of course I enjoy actually being out there and running again. I guess I just thought that my fitness would come back more quickly than it has. Obviously, I thought that because I am insane, since it makes no sense. The good news is that my leg turnover has stayed decent, so I’m running somewhere between 9:00-9:30 without consciously trying. The bad news is that my cardio system isn’t quite there yet, so I mostly feel like I’m dying. I’m sure I’ll catch up to my legs soon.
Before: Cycling when I feel like it, maybe once a week
After: Cycling 3 days per week
Oddly enough, I’m a better cyclist than I am a runner despite how much I try to avoid cycling and how much more effort I have historically put into running. Cycling has been a good way for me to work on my cardio and leg turnover without the impact from running, so I’ve made a serious effort to incorporate it into my routine. And you know what? It’s really not as bad as I thought. I’m riding my road bike, which is a more upright position, twice a week and my triathlon bike, which has the aero position (aka kind of hunched over), once a week. The most challenging thing about cycling, particularly in South Carolina, is finding places to ride where I feel safe and where the roads aren’t terrible. Also, the clothing is challenging. I look hideous in it. Those shorts are a joke, right? THE WORST.
Before: AVOID STRENGTH TRAINING AT ALL COSTS
After: Begrudgingly attend Body Pump classes
I hate strength training. It is the worst. My ex was a personal trainer, so this was a constant source of irritation to him, but I just could never get into it. The burning muscles? The feeling like you’re about to drop hundreds of pounds onto your face? No, thank you. Not my cup of tea. I’ve always known how important strength training is, but I’ve just flat out refused to do it, unless you count yoga as strength training. Unfortunately, I don’t really have that luxury anymore. I’ve been working out in the gym with my physical therapist (to make sure I’m doing exercises that are safe for my back) but I’ve also been attending Body Pump classes at the gym here in Tulsa. While I still mostly hate it, I actually hate the spinning class that Patty does as a warm up (worst idea ever) more, so strength training seems not so bad in comparison. At least the class moves quickly and the instructors are good. I know I’m working hard and I know I’m helping my back, so that’s all that matters, and if that means I have to strength train forever, then so be it. Look for my bulging muscles, coming soon to photos on this blog.
Before: Ab work? What ab work?
After: Barre classes and 8 minute abs
Ab work is right up there for me with clawing out my own eyeballs. I know so many people who absolutely love it, and I cannot for the life of me understand why. It should not hurt when I laugh. Sadly, it no longer matters what I think of ab work because the health of my lower back depends on some serious core strengthening. I’ve started making a concerted effort to do some type of core work each day, whether that means doing my workout at physical therapy, taking a barre class, or the best 8 minutes of my life as broadcast through YouTube each day.
What’s that? There’s been a more modern version of 8-Minute Abs made recently? Don’t care. Have you listened to this guy? He is amazing. Even AJ cracks up. And you know what laughter is? An ab workout. Gang, if you don’t know him, get to know him. Then thank me later for your rock hard abs, chiseled by laughter.
So I guess you could say that I’ve gone from someone who hates exercising in general but loves running to someone who tolerates exercise and loves running. I’m proud of the fact that I’m actually doing the smart thing and taking care of myself for once, and it’s nice to be able to change up my routine. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get really crazy and incorporate swimming into the mix eventually? You’re right, that would be ridiculous.
LEAVE A COMMENT: How do you cross-train? Do you enjoy many forms of exercise or just one?