Wednesday, July 16, 2014

You can walk if you want to!

Since my last post about training for a half-marathon, I have revised the idea a bit. Kate, my running partner, told me that she had a goal to run 200 miles this summer. And, being the competitive, team-player that I am, I jumped on that bus! So, here we are, separately, and sometimes together, trying to accomplish this 200 mile goal. It averages to somewhere between 15-20 miles a week which, so far, has been okay. Most days it's only 3-5 miles with one 6 or 7-miler a week. Those, for me, are the killers. I die on the long runs. I sometimes die on the short runs.

Currently, Kate is on an extended vacation with her family for a month so I am left to run the death marches solo. For the past two weeks I've managed to do a long run on my own. The first week, I used Kate's technique of pretending I was in the Hunger Games while I ran through Seward Park. That worked great! The second week, I managed to clock 6.8 miles because my partner Nancy and my daughter Lucia came with me. They rode bikes while I ran. Periodically, we'd all stop and jump in the lake. They'd get back on their bikes and I'd run to our next dunking destination. That was fun!

In support of our challenge, another friend sent an article about the importance of walking to support faster running. The article suggests that, "walking reduces the impact forces on the muscles, joints, and tendons, and reduces breathing rate and heart rate, so runners are able to cover more distance with better form and alignment, and a reduced risk of fatigue." What!? I can walk when I run and it holds therapeutic and performance value? This, for me, was groundbreaking. I have always felt like a loser when I have to walk during a run. Not anymore.

On Monday night after a long day of work and a pretty significant bike commute, I forced myself to do a 4 mile run. It was dusk so it wasn't so hot, and I anticipated that I would have an easy run. But it wasn't easy. I was dehydrated. I was tired. It was a grind from the moment I walked out my front door. As I ran down my street towards the hill on the Chief Sealth Trail about a mile into my run, I remembered the article. "I can walk up this hill!" I did. I managed that run okay. It wasn't easy and I had to walk two more times, but I did it. My plan for that night was to meet two of my favorite friends for a beer at the end of the run. I managed to sprint the last quarter mile to my destination. I think the walking helped.

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