For anyone who hasn’t followed my blog (ever) I’ll recap the last 14 months or so. The last race I ran was the Tillman Run in April 2013. I shouldn’t have run it as I was dealing with some serious foot pain but, you know, “muscle through it, pansy!” The next week I tried a hike (painful) and some sprinting (really painful) and by the end of the week was in to the doctor where I discovered I had been trying to push through a double stress fracture in my foot. Fast forward a few painful months and I was finally able to walk on my foot but as soon as I started trying to get back in shape I busted my knee. Before the knee completely recovered I injured it again, sidelining me completely for a good long time.
I went through 8 weeks of physical therapy once the doctors decided I had healed enough to do so. A lot of ice and a lot of ibuprofen later and I was finally ready to start using my knee again.
I’ve been on my bike, slowly building up muscles I haven’t used in a long time. I’ve been practicing yoga, gaining balance, core strength and control of my breathing.
But I’ve been afraid to run.
I’ve dealt with a lot of pain and injuries in my life, but this last year was amazingly miserable and I have to admit that I am scared to be in that position again. But I can’t afford NOT getting back in shape. I have gained weight (weight I have already worked hard to get rid of), lost muscle, lost confidence and lost the lifestyle of outdoor exploration, hiking, climbing that I had been enjoying. I hate the risk of re-injury but life without the risk is no way to live.
So last week I made a commitment to run several races, signing up for 3 races all at once to give myself something to train for. I’m shooting for a 10k in November, a half marathon in January and another half in March. I may look at other, smaller races in between but those are my big ones. Those lay the groundwork for the goals I must achieve. Now I am motivated to get out and do the work.
This morning I ran for the first time since April of last year. I expected it to feel as miserable, slow and painful as it did when I first started running 4 or 5 years ago. I expected to feel like I was completely starting over…and it didn’t. The biking and yoga I’ve been doing as part of my rehab has helped me build up enough that this run actually felt pretty good. Still slow, but not nearly as slow or painful as I expected it to be. It was a confidence builder.
I feel like I can do this.
My Plan for Staying Motivated:
Commit to Something!
Signing up for a race gives me a firm goal and a reason to set up a training program and stick to it. I have committed to 3 races so far, two of them half marathons and the other (the first one) a 10K.
Find a Partner
Having a friend who is willing to sign up for the same race is perfect. Training with someone who has a similar goal allows you to be accountable to each other to stay on course. My wife will be a great running partner once I get in shape, she can run circles around me now. I also have a friend signed up for the half marathon who is closer to my level and we’ll train together when we can.
Announce your Intention
I’m telling everyone! My goal is to run a half marathon by January and the more people that know it, the better I will be at holding myself accountable. I’ve written this post, shared my race goals on Facebook and encouraged friends to sign up for the same races so there’s no way I’m going to allow myself to fail.
Don’t Over Train
When I get into training I tend to push too hard and go too fast. I want to avoid injury so I can make it to my goal, I will focus on getting my rest days in and cross training where I can so I can stay on task. I will take my rest days and use yoga, swimming, biking and hiking as cross training components to avoid overuse injuries and over training.