Hello everyone! I have been training for the past 2 months and what do you know…life happens. You can do everything you can to research, plan, and prepare for the perfect training progression but sometimes life just has a different plan for you.

I last posted when I hit a challenge progressing past 6 miles without pain. Since that time, I have been working on shorter runs (3-4 miles) while performing Physical Therapy exercises for control training and began a spin classes to increase my muscle endurance. This weekend I ran 7 miles before I hitting fatigue with slight discomfort. The most I have ever ran at one time!!

These are the pearls of wisdom I did not “truly” understand before I attempt training for myself:

  • Bad Runs Happen: Stress, diet, and pain in other body areas can affect a run. This does not mean you failed at your run or have done something irreversible to your body. Listen to you body and, if it is not having a good time running, it is not worth continuing that day. You may overdo it and mess up future runs. Just stop and try again later.
  • Never Never Forget Cross Training: As a Physical Therapist I should know better but I broke my own rule. After cross training for a few weeks, my body feels more stable and I have more “spring” to my run which makes training more fun. Cross training does not have to be heavy weight lifting or “crossfit” training. I have worked in body weight exercises 4-5 days a week performing – squats, lunges, lateral lunges, heel raises, and upper body exercise lying on my back to improve my core control. The body just needs to “remember” how to use other muscles to make movement easier. When it forgets and doesn’t use them to control your body as you run, bad habits form and pain sets in.
  • Other Methods to Improve Endurance: When I realized that I was hitting an endurance barrier at 6 miles, I became a defeated thinking of how was I going to run 13.1 miles by August if running is painful. Because of past injuries, I have simply never trained my body to tolerate running at an endurance level. Spin class became a great option to push my muscles to the limit without the problems and pain I was feeling pounding the pavement for another half mile gain. It is also a great option for cardiovascular training.
  • Sleep is Key: No sleep = No energy. Pretty basic concept and circles around to the “bad runs happen” rule. If I didn’t get a good sleep, I would fatigue earlier and my run would go south pretty quick. Flexibility in a training routine has been a great way to keep working towards my goal without taking steps backward. I could perform a short run and then go work on cross training later that day. No time lost.

Last post, I had some goals to reach for improved training:

  • I am running minimum of 3 x week, 2 short runs and 1 long run. The short runs I am also training my dog to run with me so the first 2 miles are at a faster pace but more start and stop. She pushes me to run faster but she is still learning. I run another 2 miles keeping a good pace and stride.
  • I have found a good easy pace to work on long run endurance and now have a “zone” I keep to during the short runs which has been improving.
  • On my short runs, my route has a gradual hill and some stairs. When I reach these segments, I work on my running technique and drop my pace to stay in control.
  • Cross training has focused on single leg loading and balance control.

That’s the latest update! Follow the series on the Mobilize Physical Therapy Blog or Instagram.

Shawnee Perkins PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist at Mobilize Physical Therapy in Seattle, Washington