TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Planks, Blogging and Short Runs

Planks and more planks, that's what I say.  I still hate them.  But I can tell they make me stronger, more stable on my feet as a runner.  I am now up to five sets, more than a minute each.  I know that doesn't sound like much.  Consider this:  when I first tried planks, I crashed to the floor yelping after a few seconds!  That's how weak I was.  Sure I could run for five/six hours straight.  But there was always that nagging hip.   And then with my last injury (when I finally visited the dr.) he was amazed at my leg strength, but frowned at my core strength.  He actually used the words, "very weak." 

I knew my core was weak.  I didn't want to do anything about it.  I knew it was more difficult to keep my column straight with a weak core, and that I bent at the hips when I grew fatigued.  And I knew that the more rugged the terrain, the more apt I was to get injured.  But this is the funny part.  Nevermind that running period, is hard -- it was just too hard, in my mind, to work on core strength.  And so I didn't.

Now, I'm not saying that planks are the "end all" answer to my weaknesses (that is physical weaknesses :).  I've added all sorts of weight training and hip exercises, and I'm returning to a schedule that includes more cross training.  But I am saying that planks are the clincher in this strength training journey I'm taking.  Thanks to Runner Dude's blog.  I'm not sure I would have began my plank regimen if I hadn't stumbled upon this blog.  He convinced me:  planks, planks, planks!

I've been running for about seven years.  I've been running trails for about two years.  (Another plug:  thanks to OCTR).  Since my first blog on myspace back in about May/June  2008, I have blogged every single run, even those runs I put in on the treadmill (which by the way, now I can't even look at a treadmill without anxiety shuddering throughout my body).  Recording every run is just something I do -- 1) because I run, and 2) as an exercise in writing (because I love to write, but don't have enough time otherwise).

AS THUS (spoke Zarathustra -- joking) I feel I must blog today's run, eventhough today's run was my short run, and I don't have much to say about a run that lasts well under an hour.  (Obviously that's not true, because how many pages have I written so far?)

My rule for these newly added "short runs" (thanks to Tom, who inadvertently convinced me on Harding Truck Trail that I need short runs) is that they must be less than five miles.  At first the idea repulsed me.  Seriously.  Was it even worth tying my laces to go out for a 3 or 4 mile run?  I mean, if I'm gonna run, well dang it, I want to put in the time.  (As I've mentioned before -- I'm a glutton). 

Now I am here to say -- Yes!  It is worth it to tie my laces and run for 3 or 4 miles, even less.  This afternoon I was joyous from the very first step.  Because from the very first step, the run is almost over!  (For those who don't understand the logic to this, because I wouldn't have 7 years ago, part of the joy of running is FINISHING the run, that is the last step).  With the short run, that last step is "just around the corner!"

I ran the wharf and Doheny Beach today.  And to add a little excitement (did I say excitement?  I meant, pain : ) I added seven bursts of speed throughout the run.  That is, I ran for short distances the pace I would run if I were coming into the finish line of a 5k race, which is basically the fastest I would ever run.  (Thankfully I haven't had to run from a predator, human or otherwise, because that would probably be the fastest I would ever run, which would be faster than my bursts today).  

I originally planned on 6 bursts, but in the end added one more.  I have to say that after each burst I wanted to stop running, but I kept on going, and in time, I was ready to add another.

At the end of my short run, I walked about for a cool down same as usual.  And I drank some water before a regular stretching routine (same as my long run stretch session).  The only thing different on these short runs is that I don't carry water, nor do I stop at fountains.  I also don't take in calories on the run.  And my snack back at home was a mere apple (of course, lunch was just around the corner).

Running!  It has taught me to change things up. It has taught me so much.

Miles logged this afternoon: 4.27

2 comments:

  1. Thanks to you, I have started doing planks every day now. After holding the position for about 20 seconds my whole midsection starts shaking. Yes, my core is that weak!

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  2. Twenty seconds is good! Better than five : )

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