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?



TurboTurtle said...

I had to laugh about the warm up thing--I want to go slow to warm up, but I hate it affecting my pace (which is slow enough already!), and I don't want to add to the time I'm taking with my running! However, I've made a deal with myself that seems to work for me--for my 4 and 5 mile runs I WILL walk for the first quarter mile, then jog for the second quarter mile, then pick it up incrementally from there. On my 3 mile days, I warm up for half a mile which I just eat--that is, I do NOT count this toward my mileage. Then I restart the 'mill and book it as fast as I can safely manage. For my weekend long runs, starting slow is mandatory--in part due to the wisdom of running buddy Robin, who would knock me out if we didn't start slow!! :)

Stretching--5 minutes (more after long runs) of three or four really basic stretches AFTER (never before) my run.

Totally get this.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Lisa! I love it, especially, "On 3 mile days, I warm up for half a mile which I just eat -- that is I do not count towards my mileage." LOL - it's just like the half mile I eat at the end of my runs to cool down :)

Some good suggestions. I'm going to try to be better about this stuff. I gotta look into some stretches.

Eleanor Burns said...

Oh wow did I love this! I am so guilty of all these things. My first mile is always my fastest (with a 10 sec warmup!!). Then I wonder why I hate mile 2 so much. ;)

Unknown said...

Elanor - we've gotta get a grip! It's no good for us! thanks for sharing your sin :)

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

I have to warm up. eh. I've had my best 5K's when I've gotten a good walking warmup done beforehand. I don't stretch before. After it's an almost most. I wish I could go from standing around to bolting in a race, makes it hard for halfs and 8K's

Unknown said...

See, Michel - you have had your best 5K's when you've had time to warm up! Now there's incentive. I'm definitely going to try to warm up before 5k's…

As far as halfs - I always try to keep it slow the first few miles not only to warm up but to mainly reserve a lot of fuel for later on in the race - so it's not as big an issue.


Whitney @9 Kid Fitness said...

Totally guilty of all of them least you re repenting!!!

Unknown said...

LOL, Whitney. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little relieved to learn I'm not the only one!

However, I really am going to try to repent. I'm not sure I'll ever fully be a saint but I'm afraid that continually tempting fate with my sins is gonna come back and bite me! I will be so angry with myself if I suffer an injury because i was too lazy to learn how to stretch or too stubborn to warm up a little bit…!

Jill said...

I've never stretched and don't think it's as necessary as one may think. Here's a couple good articles from one of my favorite guys out there (instrumental in getting me healthy enough to run again after two years of heel pain)...

Unknown said...

Jill, thanks very much for the links - I'll definitely check them out!

Jason said...

stretching? WTF is that? Go read MissZ's post on is really good.

My warm-up consists of dynamic stretching which takes about 3 minutes and then I run.

I do walking lunges, high-knees, ass kicks and skipping to start and that gets my HR up and then I run and I do this before every race.

When I'm done I will add in those same dynamic stretches but also add in carry-overs and done.

I don't static stretch. Not that great for you so don't sweat it.

Unknown said...

"stretching? WTF is that?" that made me laugh. I will take your advice and read Miss Zippy's info. I would also like to watch you skip sometime. ;)

Anonymous said...

Guilty on #1 and #2! I almost never do a warm-up (unless the 3 minute walk from my front door to the start of my route counts), and I make myself take one day off per week, but I always feel like something's "off" on my non-running days

I do always stretch, both regular stretches and those specific to hip flexors due to a past injury, but I only do so because (a) it feels good to stretch and (b) when I don't my hip flexor gets tight and that might lead to it getting injured again, which last time meant 2+ months of no running. My husband never stretches and he feels just fine. I think it varies from person to person and there's no "right" answer for everyone.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment!

I totally know what you mean - yesterday I had a rest day and it felt off all day. Today I have been pressed for time but made myself get 20 mins in because I was already getting the shakes from not running. hahaha… I have a packed week of work ahead and running is going to be tough to get in. It's freaking me out a little. the only comfort is, I do have a half on Sunday, so if I run a little less it can only help me to have extra fresh legs on Sunday.

I think you're right - the rules are different for everyone. I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing for myself to not get injured! That's my great fear.

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

I don't warm up or stretch either. Whoops.

Unknown said...

Hmmm - Rose, seems like a pretty common sin. Thanks for confessing! ;)

Kevin said...

Cold stretching can be potentially harmful. Warm-up, on the other hand, is essential. If you haven't been stretching, you can probably go without it. But when you decide to incorporate stretching into your training, make sure to always warm up first.

Caroline said...

no warm up really...I run the first mile of my run slower..does that count?

stretching: that is not consider a sin for all not to stretch...I think it is pretty even who does and who does not...I am with Jason and Jill and miss zippy...I skip that also.

Rest days: 1 per week
Taper 3 days

Heather said...

Unless I count working all day as my warmup I would have to say no I don't warm up.
Honestly I do what I can time wise and I don't usully stretch becuase of that too. Ooops.

Rest I love. Not guilty.

Jamie in Savannah said...

Eeeek! I totally sinned and now I'm paying for it. I got a super cool tattoo on my right foot (arch area) in December and had to take two weeks off of running for it to heal. Then exactly two weeks to the tattoo day, I hit the road and over ran. 7.5 miles later, I'd pulled my soleus (sp?) and now, 4 weeks later I'm still running in pain (and some tears too b/c apparently I'm a crybaby when injured... who knew?) I've got a half marathon this coming Saturday and I'm scared of a DNF... bad sinner bad sinner!
After this weekend, I'm resting I PROMISE. ;)

Unknown said...

Caroline - Sounds reasonable - I'm tapering too for our race this weekend - yippee!!

Heather, excellent on taking your rest days! :)

Ohhhh, Jaimie - I'm so sorry to hear how tough it's been for you! :( I hope it's a cool tattoo at least! Pictures?

Miss Carrie Ann said...

New runner here. Sprained my ankle on Saturday. Today was a scheduled run(/walk) and I do not want to fall behind in our group, so I slapped on an air cast and ran anyway. It's been resting for almost two days and it feels so much better today than it did yesterday. It didn't bother me too much when I was running. Big sin? Probably.

The Unexpected Runner said...

I admit it, no warm up here...just out the door & running. Stretching...I'm trying to do better at it since I've had some pain lately that I'm trying to get rid of. Rest days...yeah I take them, but basically I run every day I don't work. I simply could not wrap my head around NOT running on days that I have available for it! It sounds simply blasphemous!!!!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I'm sure I sin in other departments, like running too many miles in a pair of shoes or my FORM, but I don't commit your sins, terribly. I use the first lap to warm-up, starting with walking then working up to slow jogging. And I count every last .10 of a mile towards my total! On rest days I use the arc trainer and burn mad calories with that thing and I stretch a few minutes after every workout because I'm afraid if I don't I'll miss a workout and a chance to burn calories causing me to not get to eat as much!!!

Katie Foster said...

Great post! I don't stretch, and I don't warm-up or cool-down... sheer laziness? I don't know. I just don't want to "waste" my time walk/running when I could just be running! ;) I DO love my rest days though--I live for them! hahaha

Laura said...

Yeah, I NEVER warm-up. Been running 7 years, never been injured, don't think it's necessary. I did start the FIRST marathon program this year and it calls for a 10 minute warm-up and cool-down before the intervals workout, which is actually kinda nice. Gives my running partner (my dog) a chance to do her business too. ;-)
I also never stretch. Again, 7 years, no injuries.
I DO take my rest days though. If I run too many days in a row (even only 3 miles) my body starts to ache and I start to feel run down.

Suz and Allan said...

I'm sinning right there with you about warm up and stretching. My husband, however, is a saint in all three of these categories. Hmm...something is very wrong with this picture

Maria simone said...

I committed every single one of these sins....until I spent over a year suffering from ITBS. So, now, I do warm up. But I use a core routine and dynamic stretches to get that going. I take about 15-20 minutes and schedule in the time. Added bonus - stronger core!

Static stretches may. Ot be as beneficial as dynamic stretching and foam rolling. I really recommend the foam roller. It hurts so good :)

Before race warm up will lead to better performance - I promise :)

Rest days may not be as important as recovery days. I'm concerned about weight too. Try light cross training - swim, bike, elliptical. You get your motion fix without the orthopedic stress :)

Happy running!