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Guest Blog: Caitlin’s Running Tips

Posted Apr 23 2009 5:12pm

Hello, Carrots N Cake readers!  I’m Caitlin and I also have a food and fitness blog called  Healthy Tipping Point.  Today’s guest post focuses the one thing that is both my passion and downfall — running!

I started running about three years ago.  Before picking up the fitness habit, I was just your average lazy college student who spent her days and nights watching too much TV, drinking too much cheap beer, and eating way too many $5 pizzas.  Although I knew that I was doing damage to my body, I could never reconcile my knowledge of a healthy lifestyle with my everyday actions.  One day, my best friend Lauren sat me down and had a bit of an intervention with me.  She told me that only I had the power to change myself.  That very afternoon, I went on a jog with her, and although I couldn’t even run 1/4 a mile with gasping for air and stopping, I was immediately HOOKED!

I began to focus on eating whole, delicious foods, cut back on drinking, and trained for my first 10K race.  Within a few months, I had lost ten pounds and gained a new passion for running.  Since then, I’ve kept the weight off and raced in thee 5Ks, three 10Ks, three 15Ks, two Half Marathons, and a 15-mile trail race.   You can read all my race recaps at my blog,  Healthy Tipping Point.  There’s a list of the races I’ve completed on the left hand side under the heading “Race Recaps.”

Although I love to run, the impact of 20 - 25 miles a week for three straight years has begun to take a toll on my body.  In October, I was diagnosed with a condition called chondromalacia, which is an irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap or a “softening” of the cartilage.  You can read about this devastating diagnoses and more about chondromalacia in  this post. Although the doctor advised me to stop running, I didn’t.  After completing two Half Marathons and a few smaller races, I recently decided I needed to take a running hiatus.

My  running hiatus post was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written.  For the first time in three years, I’m going to take an entire month off from running.  I’m nearly a week into the hiatus and it’s been a great mental and physical challenge.  As part of the hiatus, I’m experimenting with cross-training, biking, swimming, and tons of strength training exercises.  The hiatus has taught me that there are other ways to exercise, and that I don’t always need to push my body to its limit.

I live in Florida, which becomes overwhelming hot in the summertime, so our race season is over.  This makes it much easier for me to take a running hiatus, because I obviously love a good race!  But, for many of you, it’s officially the start of “race season” and I hope you’re considering running a 5K, 10K, or even a Marathon! Training for races brings me a great deal of happiness and confidence, so I hope you give racing a shot this summer!

Here are a few of my running tips:

  • Start slow and short! You don’t want to burn yourself out–mentally OR physically. Don’t try to pound out a 5 miler on your first run, and don’t be disappointed if you have to stop after 10 minutes. Similarly, don’t try to be a SPEED demon right away. I run 10 minute miles outside, and that’s fine by me!
  • Buy a decent pair of shoes.  The wrong shoes can cause major injuries.
  • Try the Galloway Method, which is basically walk/run/walk/run. You walk for 2 minutes, then run for 2 minutes, then walk for 2 minutes, etc. This gives you time to catch your breath and cool down. Gradually decrease the amount of time you spend walking.
  • Utilize a training plan to ensure you increase your mileage slowly and safely.  Never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%.   Here’s a post that lists my favorite training plans.
  • Incorporate several days of cross-training into your schedule to ensure you stay injury free and focused.  Now that I’m officially injuried and off the road, I recognize how important it is to mix up your training.  Overuse injuries are NOT fun!
  • Have FUN!  Remember that racing is about doing your personal best, and it should be FUN, not a chore.  If your interest starts to wane, take a few days off and come back ready to RUN!

Thanks for reading this guest post! :-D  I hope you have a wonderful day, and hopefully I’ll see you at  Healthy Tipping Point soon!

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