Monday, January 30, 2012

Confessions of a Running Sinner

"I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the Saints… The sinners are much more fun…" 
- Billy Joel

Or maybe you needed to stretch a bit? Nah…! 
I am here to confess.

I am a running sinner. I'm hoping to repent and start afresh and remedy some of these sins.

I'll admit it, if I could get away with sinning, I would. But I do believe in karma of all sorts -- and sooner or later - it catches up to you.

So today I speak my sins out loud and look to you to help me see the light. I know some of you are sinners too so feel free to confess if you feel the need to… If you are a saint, then go a head and brag about it - you've certainly earned it.

Sin #1 - The warm-up.
Hardy-har-har-har. Warm-up? Does the 30 seconds of fast walking at the beginning of my run as I get my Nike+ set and pick my music count as a warm-up? I kinda try to run my "slowest" mile for the first one but it can hardly be called the true warm-up that Runners World recommends:
"Always warm up, Always! After a 5 minute walk, walk and jog for 5 minutes, then jog for five minutes more so you're basically warming up for the very slow first mile of your run."
Um. I've never done this. NEVER. Does anyone do this walk/jog walk thing for a mile? I can't think I'm alone here…

But the mortal sin is on race days. Especially a 5K - I show up, shuffle around a bit, maybe fake a stretch and then bolt. BAD, BAD, BAD.

EXCUSE? Usually, limited time. If I have 3 miles of training, for example, I don't have time to futz around with a light jog and walking nonsense for a mile… also, (admittedly this is dumb) but I want credit for that first warm-up mile and I don't want that first mile to bring down my "running pace average" too much, so I run faster than I probably should. SOOOO dumb. But it's the truth.

REPENT: I'm going to try to slow my roll a little more for the first mile (or at least half a mile). I can't promise I'm going to walk/jog but at least jog/run the first 5-8 minutes. On 5K race days, I'm going to try to get a little five minute, shake-out, pre-jog in to get a little warmed up, rather than just break into full on racing.

Sin #2 - Rest Days.
Over the course of my running journey, a funny thing has happened. A BIG shift in my attitude about rest days. I once LIVED for my rest days, "YAY! I don't have to run today!" Now, it's like, "Rest day? Nah, I'll just do a 2-3 miler. I don't need no stinkin' rest day." I have grown to crave/value/need my run. No matter how short/long/fast or slow I love my running. So much so, that I've even actually gone on running streaks without realizing I was on a streak. Generally speaking, (with no judgement on streakers - if done correctly, I'm sure this works for some) runners NEED rest days. Our bodies and minds need to repair, recover and rebuild. I hate my rest days - but especially now that I'm increasing mileage, I'm going to (gulp) take them.

EXCUSE? Addicted to running, fear of not burning off extra calories, fear of a rest day leading to a loss of motivation and an eventual not running at all (yes I'm insane), and a need for "me" time.

REPENT: I can't promise to be perfect but I'm going to try to honor my rest days. I will cross train/walk/bike/do some weights/dance around the living room or something else if I really feel the need to move.

Sin #3 - Stretching.
I don't ever stretch. It's bad. I've never been flexible to begin with and I never feel like I'm doing it right. I've read that you shouldn't stretch before running, I've read that you should. I've read that you should stretch after a run, but over-stretching on tired muscles could injure you. I'm way confused and I hate stretching so I just don't. Not sure if this a sin or what - but I'm confessing anyway.

EXCUSE? Lazy/ignorant/confused.

REPENT: I don't know? I guess I'll start doing more research and incorporate it if necessary.

Other sins I commit and you might too? Running on old sneakers/the wrong sneakers, upping mileage and speed too quickly, improper fueling/hydrating, not allowing enough time to heal after an injury, trying new stuff on race day,  and so much more.

The problem with these sins are you can only commit the crime for so long before you have to do the time… And unfortunately, "the time" is usually being side-lined by injuries raging from torn hamstrings to shin-splits and a "fun-filled" range of "good times" in between.

So what are some sins you've committed? What is your saintly advice for my sins and some of the others mentioned?

Do you warm up with a walk/jog for a mile?

Do you stretch?

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