Another fine example of how 'slow and steady' will win the race - by Katie
I was forced to stop running for nearly two months recently after experiencing hip pain/tightness. My physio did her job releasing tightness and prescribing a program of stretching and strengthening exercises to get my buttocks (gluts) working properly. After testing it out with a few long walks I wanted to start running again and was keen to get back into 10km fun runs as soon as possible. However I was scared about being sidelined with injury again if I went too hard, too fast.
Katrina suggested I try the Couch to 5K program to gradually ease back into it. So I downloaded an iPhone app. The App was labelled as 'Couch Potato to 5km runner" and is an 8 week long program with 3 workouts a week to gradually get you from alternating walking with short interval runs, to a continuous 30 minute run. I was not exactly a couch potato because I had been keeping up my weekly Fix classes, an outdoor boot camp and weekly swimming squad sessions. So I toyed with the idea of skipping to week 3. Instead, I started at week 1 but moved through the 'weeks' a bit faster.
At first it was FRUSTRATING. I really enjoyed the run intervals but at only 1-2mins long I was only just getting into them before the App told me to start walking again. I just wanted to keep running. I had to keep telling myself that the end goal is to run 5K without reinjuring myself and I had to be patient.
Even though I thought I was fairly fit, the run intervals did start to get a bit harder from week 5. I guess my cardio fitness had dropped a bit. (Before injury I was exercising 5 times a week, including 3 runs). So from then on, I stuck to the prescribed 3 runs scheduled for each week.
I had a few weeks towards the end where my hip was sore again. I gave myself a couple of extra rest days but still finished the program in around 8 weeks.
It felt great to finally do the 30 min, 5km run and be back into running.
In the month since then I've been doing 3 runs per week, between 5-6kms. I have had a few niggles of pain & tightness and have had to accept that I will always need to keep up my strengthening exercises & stretches if I want to run regularly. It needs to be a permanent part of my schedule but I think it's worth it to be able to keep running.
The final word
Now Katie and I are running again! We have our 10k fun runs lined up for the coming months and it is great to have these as our next set of goals. It's all about finishing each one and with a hopeful PB!
If you are keen on starting your own running program to improve fitness, get ready for the City to Surf, or Blackmore's Bridge Run in September, now is the time to get started. Here are the Apps we suggest.
Here we are together at a recent fun run in Balmain.
http://c25kfree.com/ (watch the ads popping up regularly)
A big thank you to Katie for sharing her pacing experience.