I’m not much of a runner, though I’m at a point in my life which I actually do enjoy getting up to stride and moving quickly. My problem has always been my running technique. For years, I would run on a treadmill only to develop massive shin splints, heel and knee pain. What I began to realize recently is that running on a treadmill was actually causing me to run poorly.
A few years ago I started developing a nasty case of plantar faciitis. This was directly attributed to wearing loose shoes that I never tied tightly (Adidas Superstars [Shelltoes]) and my new found interest in walking to the train every day. The pain was awful. I was practically hobbled for a few months. Things would eventually loosen up on my walk, but then once getting to the train or work and sitting down made the pain come back two fold. Around that time, a friend of mine pointed me to a sale on Vibram FiveFinger KSOs (which I later found out to be fakes) and I ordered a set. Once I slapped them on and started walking in them, the pain slowly disappeared. I really enjoyed walking in them, and despite being a set of knockoffs (though really exquisite knockoffs) they held up amazing. I was walking miles in them. I also learned how to avoid heel strikes when running and support more of my running weight with my hips, knees and ankles as opposed to just my feet. At that point I started looking into getting a proper set of trainers. I had always been an Adidas fanboy, but their running shoes were a bit gaudy and expensive, so I decided to go try our local boys over at Saucony. I purchased my first set of Sauconys that day after taking them for a bit of a test drive. With my new found gait, they felt amazing. I felt like I could bound along all day, if it weren’t for my poor stamina. I wore those shoes to the bone and went out and bought another set just a few months ago (Saucony Excursion TR4).
I started jogging around the area and here and there and was surprised to not feel all the same pains I used to. Then, I started waking up early to go into work to jog on the treadmill and suddenly, the shin splits started acting up again. Very quickly I noticed that my nice, long strides that I was used to was turning into a near stutter step on the treadmill. I couldn’t find the room on the treadmill to run the way I needed. I need a treadmill that is wider and has better speed control. Very frequently I found myself running to the bars and holding on to keep from over running it… I never felt comfortable with my hands off the bars as I felt like I was going to fall off. It was a strange dance of jogging and balancing and my knees and shins were paying dearly for it. I tried running this way a few times and each time I ended up in the same painful place, but I pushed myself to finish the run anyway. Luckily, the pain subsided quickly and I was able to go about my day. I think I’m going to start running outside more instead or if I’m doing some gym workouts, to use another machine like the elliptical or a stationary bike.
Now, I’ve been doing the 21 day challenge as closely as I can manage. We don’t have a pull up bar at home and the pull up bar at work I’m physically incapable of doing more than 5 reps without gassing out (even with 110lbs of assist weight). Instead, I’m doing lat pull downs, which is very similar to the motion of doing a pull up. I started off with 50lbs per arm and I’m doing 25 reps and not dying a horrible death. The 50 sets of squats are no problem… at least while I’m doing them. I woke up the next morning and it felt like someone was whacking my legs with sledgehammers. I pushed through it and went about my day and my workouts. I had to do sprints that day. 10 seconds, full out for 6 reps. I made good distance, but my lung capacity required a bit of cool down time between a pair of sprints. I finished it and didn’t feel destroyed. Pushups are a bit of a problem. I do knee pushups now, but I used to be able to do regular ones. I’ll take what I can get. Then there’s the planking. The simplest thing I’ve ever seen that turns you into an odd trembling mess of goo. I actually like these because when I’m done I just have to fall onto my face and relax.
I’ve been doubling up on some of the exercises in an attempt to catch up to my wife, who started it a few days before me. Right now I’m waiting on the ‘Primal WOW’ event. It’s pouring rain out and this can’t be done in the confines of my gym. It also can’t be 100% completed outside either as the regular world doesn’t have a pull up bar. This is the kind of exercise that must have developed at Muscle Beach in California where people can go for a sprint and then yank themselves up on pull up bars in succession. This well thought out torture consists of 20 pushups, sprint 40-80meters (how the hell do I gauge that?), rest for 30-60 seconds (read: vomit), 1 set of pull ups (damn you), then BUNNY HOP for 20-40 meters (Seriously?), rest for 30-60s (read: take in the laughter of the crowd that just watched a grown ass fat man HOP for 20 meters), 1 set of squats (yeah, I won’t need my legs tomorrow), sprint 40-80 meters (Why, god!?) and then PLANK until you pass out. Then if you’re the master of your domain… get up and sprint 80 meters… and then finish it with 40 meters of hopping. Now, as much fun as I’m having describing this workout, I’m actually looking forward to doing it (Fat, Lazy Subconcious – Who is this man and what did he do with my Cheez Its?). The plan was to do it today, but with the rain inundating my workout area, I may have to pull the excuse card. My indoor gym doesn’t have 40 meters of bunny hop space and I don’t think the downstairs tenants would appreciate what they would interpret as the sounds of jackhammers on their ceiling.
After this Primal WOW is done, the majority of the rest of the workouts are pretty simple, except for Day 15. Can someone tell me what the HELL a backslide arches/Spidermans are? They explain it with words in the book but I’m befuddled. Also, more bunny hopping AND stair running! Yay!
Speaking of stairs, one of the ‘exercises’ we’re supposed to be doing is eschewing the use of the elevator. I’m doing this to a point. My office is on the 20th floor with our offices also taking the 16th and 17th floors. While I’d love to just jump right in and walk up 20 flights of stairs, I think I’d legitimately have a heart attack. So I started off by going to the 8th floor and walking from there. Round about the 16th floor, I felt like I was going to pass out from the heat and dryness in this stairwell, so I detoured into our 16th floor office to get a glass of water and then back up to 20. I had survived. But there was certainly a moment around the 14th that I started thinking “If I die here, no one will find me for like an hour because NO ONE here takes the stairs.” I’m working my way up to doing the 20 story walk though. Maybe next month.
Wednesday weigh in – 284lbs (what the crap…)