A few days ago, I got pretty excited about something a little, well, weird.
You see, while I was running, I started to have some pain in my left peroneal, (a muscle in the inner calf for those of you who, like me, just said, “Huh?”). The pain persisted and then got a lot worse after I cooled off and sat down at my desk for a while. It hurt to walk!
All I could think was: I get to blog about my first running injury! It’ll be so dramatic! The pain! The recovery! Is there a version of the Peabody for a blog? Because if there is, I am totally going to win one for this.
(Have we talked about my problem with delusions of grandeur before? Yes? Okay.)
Anyway, in a tragic turn of events, this did not turn out to be a serious injury. Despite my very dramatic texts to JK, she did not seem to think that I required surgery or amputation. In fact, she told me to ice it, elevate it, and foam roll it. Foam roll it! Take the part of your body that already hurts and foam roll it. Trainers, man. (She also suggested I soak my leg in the cold plunge but there are limits to my ability to inflict torture on myself and the cold plunge is absolutely one of them.)
So, here I am with a calf that feels totally normal and no dramatic tale to share. I know. My life is really hard.
But the whole thing got me thinking. Would I really have been happy if I’d had to take time off from training to nurse an injury? Potentially award-winning blogging aside, of course I wouldn’t! And not just because I’d be in pain and it would set me back in reaching my Disney Princess glory. I’d also be bummed to have to stop running because, okay, I still wouldn’t say that I’m starting to like running, but there are things I like about it.
Let’s talk about those.
1. Running is good for my knees (and ankles, and hips, and….) I’ve got some troubles with my joints. They don’t like me. The first time JK trained me (she’s been dying for me to tell this story in the blog), she asked me what was wrong with my hips. I shrugged and told her, “They’re just cruddy” (except, I might have used a word that is less acceptable for polite company than “cruddy” because I am not very ladylike sometimes. Apologies). Good news for me though: running strengthens your joints! How? By increasing your bone mass and helping to hold-off bone loss as you age. I’ll take it!
2. Running is going to keep me brainy! That’s right, studies have found that fitter adults have less trouble with their memories as they get older. (Considering that it is already a miracle if I ever make it where I am supposed to be, on time, with everything I’m supposed to have with me, and I’m in my twenties, this is really good news.)
3. I get to eat more carbs?? No, seriously, this is a thing. Look, I try not to be a girl who deprives myself of the food I want to eat, but I do try to keep my desire to eat nothing but bread and cheese in check. However, if I’d needed a reason to start running again besides the tutu, how about the fact that once I start doing longer runs, then bagels and spaghetti dinners become things I have to eat. I am really looking forward to getting to this point.
4. Bragging rights. I think I’ve already established that I think running a half-marathon makes a person some kind of super hardcore mutant. I intend to lord this over all my non-mutant friends in an insufferable manner.
5. Running makes me feel good. Not while I’m doing it, necessarily. I’m still early enough in the process that I spend my runs vacillating wildly between wondering if I’m going to die and being amazed and proud that I haven’t died yet. But when I’m done? Whoa! I feel amazing. Not only am I pretty impressed with what I’ve accomplished, but I am also flooded with runner’s high and, baby, that is no joke. It’s a rush of feel-good hormones flooding your system and it is awesome. Plus, for the rest of the day after a run (or some form of cross-training, for that matter), I know that I did something good for my body, for my mood, and for my health.
Sure, that afterglow feeling may be my body’s way of tricking me into exercising again because I sort of start to forget the part leading up to the high that wasn’t fun, but that’s okay. I can deal with a little self-inflicted Stockholm Syndrome if it is for a good cause.
Tempo Interval Run
If you’d like to experience some of these benefits for yourself, why not give this second treadmill workout from everyone’s favorite taskmaster, JK, a try? This is a Tempo Interval run, designed to build endurance and sustain three miles of running without walking or resting. Enjoy that runner’s high!
- 1 mile at an easy, conversational pace.
- 1.1 miles, alternating every five minutes between an easy run and a faster paced run. Your faster intervals should challenge you but don’t push yourself to go as fast as you can. That’s not our goal right now!
- 1 more mile at an easy conversational pace.