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ICU210K - Run for Your Life

April 4th of 2011 I was in the ER having congestive heart failure. As most of you know, it got my attention.  It's not exactly stress free having to think about your life ending in a few minutes or even a few years. It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 55; "old" always seems like its 20 years older than you are now, right? I spent a week in ICU and months and months recovering.

Last year I felt old, tired, stiff, and a bit depressed. I don't feel like that now.

After I started logging into MFP and getting handle on my food consumption with the help of this site, a certified nutritionist, a trainer, my doctor and a my cardiologist, things started to change.

Lots of my MFP friends are either runners, or they wish they could run. I have been both in my MFP tenure. In fact this past Sunday I knocked out my first ever 10K in a tad under an hour!

I have written about running and races, but today I wanted to share some of the levels I have passed through - especially some of the tough stuff.

- Getting Started: I suggest doing some leg strength for a few weeks. Squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and push ups are a great little workout. My podiatrist said to walk the distances you want to run first. If your goal is to run a mile, walk a mile first. If it's a 5K, walk that 3.1 miles.

Depending on your weight, age and health, start with short distances you can realistically achieve in 2 or 3 months. It's fun to have a goal and make it! Do run/walk segments with C25K or B210K - or just make up your own. I like to run a fast mile now, walk a minute, and run another fast mile. Then I do speed drills and/or hills.

- Pain: It comes in many different varieties when you are starting out on your running journey. Some of it is normal, and some of it is bad for you. Here are some of the types I have experienced.

Muscle soreness is normal after just about any workout. The cure is a rest day.

Leg or muscles cramps can not only be painful, but some can actually cause damage to the muscles. The remedy for me seems to be lots of water and potassium which I get primarily from bananas.

Pulled muscles create longer lingering pain that as best as I can tell is from over use, fatigue from weak muscles, or the lack of warm up and stretching. The older I get the longer it takes to warm up. I walk for a minimum of 5 minutes as I increase the speed until I am at a very brisk walk. Then I stop and stretch.

Shorter runs seem to attack my shins and lower legs, and longer runs seem to target the hamstrings, quads and upper leg muscles. I give a good easy 10 second stretch to each muscle.

Joint pain can be something as simple as the wrong running shoes, or an injury. I am the MASTER of over use injuries. All of them affected joints. I got plantar fasciitis in my heal from running on high treadmill inclines with cheap sneakers. I tore the meniscus in my knee running down steep hills, and I got tendonitis and shin splints from doing too much too soon.

Bad shoes caused a lot of foot pain (arches) and shin splints. I went to a podiatrist and got straightened out. Different brands of shoes are better for certain types of arch/leg geometry. A good running store can help, and at the very least, check out the Shoe Advisor!

- Getting Faster and Increasing Endurance: Increasing speed and endurance can be the cumulative results of a number of different things.

Posture/Form: A good running form can keep you from wasting energy starting with how you tilt your head. It's best to look ahead to the horizon. Use your arms to work in rhythm with your legs to stabilize your stride. And finally your stride is everything. HERE are some tips.

Training: I run 4 days a week. I play hockey (cross train) and walk the other 2. And some times I walk on my rest day for a mile to stay loose. I have 4 different types of training. I have a long run at my easy pace of about 6 MPH, which is now a 10K 6.2 miles. It's easier than brisk walking. I am currently doing speed runs at 7.5 MPH (1 mile, walk 1 minute, 1 mile). I end with as fast a run as I can go for as long as I can do it. I will be adding a 3rd mile soon. I have an easy run at about 5.5 MPH. I just run as long as I feel good - about 3-4 miles. I do tempo runs on occasion. These are practices for races at a little bit less than my race pace.

- Music: For me, music is essential for keeping pace. I practice running to the beat on the treadmill a find tunes that work certain miles per hour.

- Racing: Just sign up!

Are you ready to run? If you already run, how do you train, and what types of running do you do?

Thanks for the comments and votes.

49 votes + -


TheKitsune6 wrote 114 months ago:
I run and have been running for a year! I just did my first half marathon a few weeks ago. To train I do one day with 6 miles of hills, one day of 4 miles of speed drills, one day as a nice and easy 4 mile don't track anything run, and one day as my "long run" day which can vary from 8-13 miles depending :)

I love races, I'm addicted to obstacle courses and mud runs :3 To supplement strength training I do 30DS three times a week and general circuit training once a week.

(also, your blog says April 2012 you were having heart failure?)
alasin1derland wrote 114 months ago:
just started C25K, I appreciate your blog, thank you
felicity866 wrote 114 months ago:
i can soooo relate to the pain section of this gone from a complete non runner to completing a 10k race last weekend it is great to see that we all have the same issues...the hardest part is to hold myself back from the overuse injuries. since i found out that i can run it seems to be all i want to do and the warm up walk is never over quick enough..haha..

i try to run 3-4 days per week with weight training in between and i have also been doing 30 day runs through the week are a mix of walk/run intervals using c25k and now b210k.
Mindmovesbody wrote 114 months ago:
First off I want to say that I am glad you are still with us! My father just had a stroke 8 or so weeks ago at 55...a few days before his 56th! He is alive and doing well. Very scary! He now eats a almost no fat, high ( good) carb, protein diet. No calorie counting or anything and he is losing a lot of weight. All that being said, I can relate to all of this being an eye opener. I just started C25k. This is my second go at it. I injured my calves badly last time and had to take three weeks off exercising all together. I'm back and at it again! Thanks for all the info!!
kreisad wrote 114 months ago:
You are very motivating and inspirational. Thank you for all the advice! I'm doing C25K for the second time. I've done it before and completed B210K but after taking a break in the winter time, I'm starting over C25K. I'm also hoping to increase my speed so I'm trying to run faster during the intervals. I run on a treadmill and set the incline to 2% to give myself a little bit of resistance. I get so caught up running that I forget to do the strength training. Thank you for the reminders. Way to be dedicated!! :)
kellicruz1978 wrote 114 months ago:
As usual, great blog! I always gain new knowledge from reading everything you write. I am going to go get fitted for my running shoes, I have purchased 2 pairs over the last 3 weeks and my feet hurt really bad in either pair.
Thank you!
pmkelly409 wrote 114 months ago:
Great Blog as usual!! AND you wrote EXACTLY what I would have if I had the ability to write (well actually organize my thoughts so it has clarity and meaning).
Your training schedule is exactly where I am at now and I love it. I am amazed at how much progress I have made in the past 6 months. GO US!
May I suggest Sissor Sisters - "She's My Man" for your runs at 6MPH? Perfect BPM.
fypspirit wrote 114 months ago:
I just started running a few months ago. Started out walking then picked up the pace now I run/walk with running on most of the uphills feels like it gives me a better workout on the legs. I notice if I don't have the chance to run for a few days my legs get sore. My worst thing is I don't stretch well, I need to concentrate on that more. I wanted to run my first 5k this past Saturday but chickened out cause I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do the whole thing. Maybe another time. Your story is awesome and I wish you the best. Thanks for posting.
wisebadger53 wrote 114 months ago:
Great post my friend! As you know I recently completed my first 5k with lots of encouragement, support, and advice from you and a couple other of my friends who have run before me! Looking for my next one now!
DarkFlutter wrote 114 months ago:
Thanks for the insight!
I just had a kickass finish to Week 5 of C25K!
CrystalFlury wrote 114 months ago:
Wow, thanks for the tips. I've felt like I hit a wall recently running-wise. I run every other day and the days I don't run I use the gym elliptical. I've gotten up to running 4.5 miles at the most. Every time I get to 4.5 I want to call it a day. I know I can go farther it's whether I can get passed that mental block. Perhaps I should do what you suggested--walk the distance that way I know I can run the distance.

My goal is to run a half marathon in the beginning of December, but I need to get passed my mental block before thinking of signing up to run 13.1 miles.

Anyway, thanks for your post it really opened my eyes.
Cjoseph03 wrote 113 months ago:
Awesome advice and the most informative that I've seen. Thank you so much. Being able to run is a goal of mine. I'm just starting out on MFP and you are definately an inspiration to me.
CatAriSal wrote 107 months ago:
Thanks for such an informative post! I'm going to go to the local running shop tomorrow and get fitted for some sneakers so I can start running the right way.

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