in this post, i want to bore with some of the lessons i have learnt in my few years of active training and hope that you don’t repeat the same mistakes if you are going to get into exercise
Sit ups, if overdone can lead to muscle tear in the stomach and this can manifest in so many different ways. You might think you have a stomach bug. If you are going to exercise any part of your body, start slow
Every time you run a hard race, take time off pounding concrete. Your muscles need a break.
whatever you do, don’t get a groin injury
cycling is a good way to recover from intense activity
include stretches as part of your work out schedule. especially after a strenuous run
water is your friend
carry a pressure pump, puncture kit and or a spare clincher for long rides, you don’t know where a puncture will find you
listen to your body. if in pain stop. if sore, continue working out, but gently
most of the time, the weather is not bad for a work out, we are just not appropriately dressed for the weather
good nutrition is your other best friend
finally, sleep is your best of friends. it can be the one determinant between a successful workout and a ruined run
and final final, rest and recovery doesn’t necessarily mean being a couch potato.
So yesterday I went for the Nairobi City Marathon. I think it is the first of its kind. We have Standard Chartered Bank Marathon and other runs but they are different. To cut the story short, I clocked 1:47 for the race distance I entered in. There is still work to do to shed off the 7 minutes to 1:40.
I don’t do such posts because as George Carlin said, who needs motivation books anyway? But for anyone having doubts about what they can achieve if they put their energies to it, here is a good one. Now, my friends, if you are not rich, are not good at public speaking and fundraising, forget it. You can’t be president in half the countries in the world. The other half will not even take you seriously, just saying. That is, even grit and determination will take you so far but one thing is certain, it will most likely be better than where you started.
I wanted to blame my shoes, according to the manufacturer, I have exceeded the run by date by over 90km so they are prone to cause injuries. The strange thing is they feel so comfortable now than at the beginning. It’s like that saying of the old broom knowing all the corners or something of that sort. I will take a short break from my running and ride more for a while till this pain goes away and in the meantime do some butt exercises.
I think i was born with motivation in the pocket. Just the idea that i can better my best is enough inspiration to get my ass out and do something. the same applies to my other hobbies like reading. this is not to say i don’t get distracted, i do. i have found myself being an occasional couch potato, though never for long. but while i can give advise on weight loss, i can’t on motivation. maybe i should get a marketing department to help with this.
all this was just to tell you about my morning run. i must have mentioned that i had a goal of doing the half in 1:40 but quit that training plan a week ago after putting in 8 weeks of regular training. i guessed i need to run much slower for the time being, build a low aerobic base and spruce it up occasionally. we will see how that goes. for now i am in competition with a camel in drinking water. we will see who wins. the camel or myself
A Hidden Tribe, Super-athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall is a book that makes you want to run as you read it. At other times you get tired thinking about the many miles these people run (I mean who runs 100 miles in a day? ) and still have energy to do other things instead of laying dead for 3 days!
It also takes you to a tour to strange places in Mexico where one would to visit not to run, but maybe hike. Who runs in steep hills?
How do you run without injury? Maybe you run fast, tall and happily. I am not making it up. If at the end of a run you are not laughing/ happy you are doing it too hard or wrong. You should enjoy running. So your pace should be such that you can smile during your run. I smile sometimes, especially when I am going fast (maybe because i can’t believe I can run that fast).
You can outrun a horse, if you are fit enough over long distances. And maybe even hunt without a weapon. Just run the antelope to death, literally. It has happened before, so I read.
What Christopher’s argument basically is human beings are running machines. We can outrun almost if not all animals on the planet.
Even if you don’t like running, the book makes for good reading. You may actually disagree with all he says about running injury and all but find the story intriguing, especially about the Tarahumara country and their running.
One of the interesting things i have discovered during my morning runs, especially the days when I have long runs is how challenging it is to map out 15K and above. I could do a route on any one of the apps that I use in advance but then where is the joy in being random and approximating distance by feel and of course I have a smartwatch that provides aid with the distance covered. Or maybe I should get a team mate who is slightly faster than I to make this long run short.
And talking of running, I feel very proud of myself. My first specific running shoes have told me they have done their duty and need a change but because the feet have got so used to them, I will do an additional 117km in them as i plan a replacement. Maybe that will be a good reward for myself for having surprised myself with running that much. I think i have mentioned it elsewhere, if you asked me at the beginning of 2020 if I could run, I would have laughed you out of the room. Now look at me, clocking 45km weekly and hopefully it will get to 60 or 80km per week.
so now i have been running for almost 8 months. the last time in my life i ever ran this much was in high school. and we had no choice but we could defeat that requirement. i recall we ran on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Interesting thing is no one talked about running form, shoes, stretches or warm up. we left our classrooms and went a running. if anyone got injured from running, I can’t remember. I would know.
but since i started running last year, i have had a partial tear of my calf muscle which was a real scare because some doctor was of the opinion i needed surgery yesterday. only reason this didn’t happen is because i used dr. google and it was of the opinion of conservative treatment and two other doctors also agreed with dr. google. so that was it. then this year once the tear had recovered, i resumed running and i think one day i pushed it too hard. this time it was the hamstring that must have been strained but i decided not to see a physician. i think it has healed. i just decided to run and stop only when the pain increased.
this brings me to another debate. use of technology in running. a while back it was elite runners doping on steroids, now i think manufacturers are competing on what shoes will give you competitive advantage. maybe they should just have the shoes run and we choose the best shoe. or shoe and track. no need to have athletes battling it out when shoes can do the trick. i have nothing against good shoes. i run in good shoes. they are so good, tarmac almost feels soft. but they have such a short distance. for example i have done about 560km and if i was to listen to the manufacturer, i should run maybe another 80km in them and get a new pair. sounds much like new phones, if you don’t replace the old one, you don’t receive updates.
but all this is a digression. this is not the story i wanted to tell you. i use a garmin watch & one of the things it comes with is training plans for cycling and running. you can train to run a 5k, 10k or 21k which in americanese would be 3 miles, 6 miles and 13.6 miles respectively. i already attempted the 5k and had a pb of 22minutes. i am still proud of that timing. yesterday in my training plan, i was to do speed repeats: warm up 15min, run at a pace of 4min/km for a minute & jog for 1 minute x6 then run 3:30 min/km for 30 sec and jog for a min x6. I gave up after the 4th attempt of the first bit. I must have been fatigued from the previous day 50km ride. so in the evening i decided to do a recovery run of 10km and felt much better.
i also discovered that running while listening to music can be such a good thing. i have some headphones that have noise cancellation and since i do my runs early in the cool of morning, they are just perfect. and i run towards oncoming traffic so unless some idiot is overtaking dangerously, or drunk driving, i am not so worried about vehicular traffic.
These are unedited versions of my thoughts straight from the mind, a relieve from the ‘pressure cooker’, snippets and flotsam of a mundane existence, collected over time, at the early morning hours at sunrise. I have no intensions to start a self-help group or a forum for complains!
An online journal celebrating the joys of living bare with pride! This site usually publishes every Monday and Friday. I may be irreverent but I am no way irrelevant! My preferred personal pronouns are he, him, his.