Tuesday, May 17, 2011

run, forrest, run!

Ah, the movie that always seems to follow me.  If I burned a calorie every time someone called me “Jenn-ay,” I would never have to workout.  Which brings me to my topic:  exercise.

This happens to be the half of “diet and exercise” that I have no problem with.  As my boyfriend likes to point out, I’ve become “addicted” to working out.  He’s probably right.  I do love it.  And when I go too long without it, I become a cranky pants.

So what’s my preferred method of “torture?”  I love to run.  Unfortunately, some injuries have prevented me from enjoying a good run for the past year.  Running just isn’t very fun with shin splints and plantar fasciitis.  So, here are some tips from me to you, so you don’t have to suffer the same fate.

#1 Find the right shoes!  All feet are not created equally.  I thought I wanted the nice Nike Free shoe.  It was so light and it felt like I was running barefoot.  It was great for a couple runs. 

But it wasn’t long before I could barely walk to class because of the sharp pains in my shins.  To make things worse, I injured my foot playing basketball.  The podiatrist told me I had strained the tendons in my foot, a condition called plantar fasciitis.  He marveled at how flat my feet were and prescribed a new pair of running shoes with special insoles. 

Now, two months later, there are no pains in my foot or shins.  The shoes have literally been miracle-workers.  Today I ran four miles and felt amazing.

#2 Stretch it out!  Nothing is worse than a pulled muscle.  And one of the best ways to avoid injury is to stretch before and after each workout.  However, stretching doesn’t help if you don’t get warmed up first.  So jog in place a little bit and get those muscles moving so they are ready to stretch it out. 

Last summer, I went to the gym to scrimmage with some friends.  I was running late, so I just threw on my shoes and ran straight out on the floor.  No stretching = big mistake.  Three hours later I was exhausted, and my shins were killing me.  I was not able to run for the rest of the summer.  On top of that, I was miserable throughout vacation because I could barely even walk.  All because I couldn’t stop for five minutes to do some stretches.

#3 Don’t push yourself too hard.  When I started gaining weight, this was one lesson I needed to learn.  I thought I would make up for it by working out long hours at a vigorous pace.  Instead of training and building up, I would start right off with a five mile run.  To make things worse, I worked out every single day and would not let my body rest.

The got shin splints for the first time because I overworked myself.  It might be tempting to add the extra workout to burn more calories, but you have to understand that weight loss is a slow process. 

This all might sound silly.  But you must remember:  If you’re hurt, you can’t exercise at all.

I was healthy enough to run a 5k in September 2010.  I ran a 7.5-minute mile, my fastest time since entering college.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

~Hebrews 12:1


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