Stomp the Yard

Sheesh. As simple as running appears to be, it’s, uh, kinda not.

Let me back up a few.

The new gym is going tremendously well. Getting up at 4 a.m is crazy weird, but I love driving at that hour as there is nobody on the busy city roads. Every morning from 5 to 6-ish, I’m in the cardiac cinema on a treadmill. I’ve watched episodes of Downton Abbey and much of Jack &Jill (Adam Sandler bomb) and The Help (so good I actually have a hard time removing myself from the treadmill. Haa imagine that). There’s a funny older woman who cracks me up with her occasional commentary on whatever it is that we’re watching.

One morning I was on the treadmill running next to this older gent, who I could tell was a seasoned runner. My criteria for determining who appears to be a seasoned runner: he could run the whole time I was next to him and not stop. I noticed that his feet made no noise and compared to him, I sounded like an elephant stomping.

“Well, I probably sound loud to me, and he probably sounds loud to him. Maybe he can only hear himself and he can’t hear me. ” I thought.

But this thinking made me literally pause.

I really don’t know what I’m doing. I barely passed physics in high school so I wasn’t about to delve deeper into this treadmill soundtrack situation with science. Maybe I was running incorrectly. I hadn’t read a single thing about running so there was a very good chance of this. Was I landing on the wrong part of my foot? “Proper form” was probably something I should have researched, hmm.

That night I watched a few Youtube videos about “foot striking” yet was still confused and concerned I was going to set myself up for injury. I decided I needed to seek out experts so I jogged / walked a mile to the local running store to talk to the people who work there. I found a sales associate; stumbled through my question dropping all the lingo I had learned in my Youtube sessions, explaining all about the silent seasoned running man on the treadmill next to me, elephants, Downton Abbey, Color Run, just prattling on and on nervously trying to get my point across. She instructed I should primarily focus on my breathing and arm motion, and wherever I landed on my feet was natural, so I shouldn’t worry. That sounded okay. I sure as hell don’t know any better. She also suggested trying a tiny incline.

After I spent $60 on gym clothes (whyyyyyyy), I left the running store, watched more youtube videos, read a few message boards, reaffirmed that I didn’t know anything at all – for example, Internet, I have no clue how many times my feet hit in a matter of seconds, is that something real people are worried about? – so I just decided that it was easiest and most likely that I  wasn’t landing on the balls of my feet like I should be.

So with the lowest possible incline I feel like I’m hitting a little softer and I’m trying to figure out where on my feet I’m landing. It’s weird to think so much about my body and precisely how I’m moving it and treating it. For so long, it was an afterthought because it was always just there and I was pretty confident it was not going to disappear anytime soon.

Running’s getting a little easier, Couch-to-5K is a great program that’s really easing me in and while it’s still hard, I’m enjoying it more. It feels SO good to have my body moving, knowing ‘hey, I’m doing something good for it. I’m working my body and working toward something. This is kinda awesome’ and to feel the trickles of sweat that I’m working my ass off for. And afterward, I feel like I have a little pep in my step, like ‘Why, yes, I did just run for a collective total of 10 minutes. Big shot over here.’

kenya wave

It’s uncomfortable that my legs and thighs feel itchy when working out, but again I turned to the triple-w, and the overwhelming answers from the Internet doctors are that it’s normal and if I keep workin’ on my fitness, should go away soon.

I’m still pretty timid about the rest of the gym. I dump my bag in my locker room, head straight to cardio cinema with my head down, after my workout beeline back to the locker room to shower & get ready for the day, then head down the road to work. There’s a whole floor and a half that’s a complete mystery. It’s the weights, machines for various body parts, the kind of stuff that’s foreign and intimidating. Maybe someday soon I’ll work up my courage and use them, but for now, I’m satisfied.

Woohoo for PROGRESS! I’m beginning to feel like…hey, I’ve got this.

beyonce-yeah

Any advice on where exactly I should be landing and/or tips on how exactly to insure I land there?

 

FF

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6 thoughts on “Stomp the Yard

  1. I’m glad to hear that the gym is working out so well. A cardiac cinema would be awesome to have in my gym. Instead, they just pump really loud techno so you can barely listen to your ipod.

    For foot strike, the people at the running store are right. Focus on your arms and breathing and your stride will come naturally for your body. For me, I over-pronate (lingo), meaning outside of the heel strikes and then I roll in and push off my big toe. You can see where my shoes are worn down from it. Just do what feels natural to your body and you’re good.

  2. Glad it’s getting better! I haven’t really researched much about foot strike but I know for a fact my foot strike is bad because i get awful blisters on my feet when I run. Go figure 😦

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  4. Good for you for asking for advice! Most people wait until it’s too late (injury, etc) to figure out what they might be doing wrong. I agree with her advice, relax your body as much as possible and your feet will hit where they should. Congrats on seeing progress!!

  5. I think you’re already off to a great start, asking questions. There really isn’t an exact right or wrong way. But yes some people do run so incorrectly it can cause injury. My suggestion, do you know anyone locally who is a runner who could watch you run a lap? Treadmills are hard to judge a person’s stride and form only because the machine has to much of a factor. One person can run completely different on a treadmill vs. road. So if you have time and know someone who runs, have them go to a local track and watch you run a lap. They can give you tips and suggestions on how your feet look, to your posture, head and neck lean and your arms. Or if you don’t know anyone, watching another runner will help you learn. If you think your footing is incorrect, the best way to correct it by yourself is at a local track and running on the line (not looking directly down, but looking down at the line ahead, and try to keep each stride on the line. This is how coaches in my past had me correct and better my footing. You’re probably doing it all right, but good luck just the same!!:)

  6. I wish I would have asked more questions like this when I started running. I’m a huge fan of natural running. I totally changed my running form and after about 6 months it’s working for me. I don’t think there is a single answer about the best shoes, form, etc. Give it time and find what works for you.

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