I just got back from a fantastic, memorable, totally wonderful, extremely slow 3-mile early morning run. I didn’t take a watch. I have no idea how fast I went. My experience was noticeably different from my usual self-prescribed run. I’m icing my left leg as I write this.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been injured, but last week-end I had to gimp two-miles plus to get home from a planned six mile run because the muscle in my left calf so much.
On Monday I did nothing. “Time for a break,” I told myself, although I really had no choice. I hit the ice hard. By Tuesday I could walk a mile and here it is Friday and I’ve run three miles. With every step, I was aware of my sore muscle, but it became less noticeable as I went, letting me know that I probably wasn’t doing any serious damage. It was letting me run.
I finished these few miles with great appreciation, reminded once again of the amazing healing ability of the human body. If we’ll only respect it a bit more than we do.
I used to be an avid and consistent stretcher before I ran, but then pre-run stretching went out of style and I wasn’t going to argue with that. These days I do a few random stretches at no particular time and at least once a week I do a Pilates workout. Maybe not enough, I’m thinking.
The more you run, the tighter muscles seem to get until the day comes when they say, “Whoa! Tend to me.
I’m planning to do some small amount of stretching every time before I hit the road in the future, and a little more afterwards—and maybe up that Pilates routine to twice a week.
And I’m contemplating some cross-training. My bike is in sad need of a workout and a hike in the hills is calling.
Danger lurks, I know. It is too easy to fall back into old patterns. Running has the allure of being so accessible—right out the front door—so simple—just throw on a pair of running shoes—and so efficient—40 minutes and you have “exercised” for the day.
But it’s a good thing to mix it up. Take the time to drive to a favorite trailhead, lace up the hiking boots and soak up the fall colors. Or pump up those bicycle tires and ride.
The choices are endless. A tour of the foothills, a bicycle trail that lets you ride almost all the way to Greeley minus traffic, or a spin around the Fort Collins network of trails.
Meanwhile, as my mistreated muscle slowly heals, I’m loving the opportunity to run slowly sans watch, pausing to check out road construction progress and appreciating the joy of temperatures that make early morning running such a great pleasure.