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You Have to Walk Before You Can Run

Originally I had planned a nice little rant for today. In my grumpy, injured state, all I wanted to do was complain about the dumb fitness-related cliches/sayings that people use all the time as motivation – but in reality just make me want to bang my head against the wall.

But then, as luck would have it, something pretty awesome happened yesterday. And I’m sort of still riding the high it created. I also figured that this rarely updated blog of mine was overdue for a positive post. Since the majority of things I’ve posted in the past couple of months have been fairy negative, I think my parents are starting to worry that I’m depressed.

Plus, with my wedding only 16 (!!) days away, I’m starting to feel just a little bit sappy.

IMG 0395

So today, let’s talk about something wonderful.

Yesterday evening, for the first time since March, I had a completely 100% pain-free run. The significance of this event is huge. And after almost 3 long months of struggling with pain, I’m trying very hard to resist the urge to jump right back into full-out training.

Because even though I technically ran for 27 minutes yesterday, it wasn’t all consecutive. I have reluctantly become a run/walker.

Now before I go any further, I feel the need to express how much I hate (hate hate hate) run/walking. I know some runners use this technique regularly to complete long runs and races. Some people even swear that it helps them go faster. If it works for you, that’s great. But unless I’m in the middle of a tough speed workout and am dying for rest between intervals, I do NOT like to walk during a run. For me, the first part of a run is always tough. I’m stiff, my legs are heavy, and it takes me awhile to get in the groove. Stopping to walk mid-run kills all the momentum I worked so hard to gain. Regardless of how tired I feel when I’m running, I always find it much harder to get going again after I take a walk break.

But I’ve finally come to realize that run/walking is the key to success when coming back from an injury. I was way too stubborn to admit it for a long time, and my attempts to run a couple consecutive miles only led to pain and more frustration.

Yesterday EC and I set out with the plan to run for 3 minutes and walk for 2, and see how I felt. I chose a relatively flat dirt road and got running. The first 3 minutes were pure bliss. Even though my legs were heavy and my heart was beating way harder than it should’ve been for the pace we were keeping, it felt so good to be running. That 3 minutes went by way too quickly. As soon as it was up, I reluctantly started to walk. We repeated this cycle a few more times until I figured it would be smart to turn around and head back.

IMG 0585My literal road to recovery

The way back was slightly less blissful. I was running on high-alert, ready for the pain to appear at any minute. No matter what I had done in the past, the pain always got bad a couple of miles into my run. I was fearful that the same thing would happen despite how careful I was trying to be.

Fortunately the pain never came. I finished the workout feeling on top of the world. I don’t think 27 minutes of non-consecutive running has ever made me so happy.

I’m not sure if it was the ratio of running to walking I used, or the fact that I stretched, rolled, and iced like a madwoman before my run OR if it’s the awesome new Saucony Mirage 2s I’m currently sporting….or maybe it’s a combination of everything. Whatever the case, I plan to keep it up. Even though I want nothing more than to head out and run a few miles without stopping, I know that I need to be patient. For now, I’m trying really hard to focus on what I CAN do, instead of what I can’t. And that means that I am going to be thankful for every single minute of running I can get.

saucony mirage_front[I will write more about my decision to switch to a more minimal shoe in the near future. But for now - I will say that I'm hoping my decision to switch to the Mirages (a slightly more supportive version of the popular Saucony Kinvara) will help improve my form and prevent future injury.]

Plans for PRs and long races are currently on hold. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have any short-term goals. Or, to be more specific, one very important goal. This new goal is much simpler, and hopefully more obtainable.

I want to be able to run a 5K on my wedding day.

I know running the morning of my wedding may seem silly to many, but I can’t imagine starting the biggest day of my life (so far!) any other way. On the morning of June 9th, I want to wake up with the sun, lace up my Sauconys and go for my last run as a single girl.

16 days to work up to 3.1 miles. Here’s hoping I can do it.

32 Responses to You Have to Walk Before You Can Run

  1. As a future walk-runner (one more week till my comeback starts), I look forward to celebrating a similar milestone! Yay for 27 minutes!

    Count me as one who would LOVE to hear more about your shoe decision. My brain is telling me to go more minimal, my doctor is telling me to go (way) more heavy/stable, and I’m gun-shy about experimenting.
    Kimra´s last post ..On the Racing Rat Race

  2. As always Lauren, another great post! I am so happy for you – for your upcoming wedding and running again! Running a 5K on your wedding day sounds wonderful. You WILL do it and it will make an already special day that much better!!!!

  3. Congratulations!! 27 minutes of walk/run is huge!

    ALSO – 16 DAYS! Wow that is so exciting!
    Jocelyn´s last post ..What is Up

  4. So happy you had a successful run! And I think it’s really cool that you are planning to run a 5k on wedding morning! Wishing you well!!!

  5. I’m also returning to running after a stress fracture in my right foot. I’ve had other injuries, but this one scared the cr** out of me! Like you, once I get moving, I don’t like to stop. But for now, I have employed the run walk method. I am proud to say that I ran 5 miles yesterday, only stopping once for water at the park. I am only running 3 days/week right now, and plan to eventually add that 4th day back once I am running an easy 5. So far so good. Have you been cross training? I’ve been biking 2 days/week too, and I have found that I really enjoy that (altho not nearly as much as running!) Good luck with the return to running, and congrats on your wedding!

    Ali´s last post ..Thankful Things Thursday: Happy Thoughts Will Make Me Healthy

  7. The picture of you two is adorable. And RUNNING IS SO EXCITING!! And OF COURSE you want to run on your wedding day :) I wasn’t in a place where I could run outside, but I ran 6 miles on the treadmill on my wedding day! No other way I would have rather started the day!
    Corey´s last post ..Drenched

  8. Pain-free run? Whoop! Congrats! I am one of those people that does intervals for long distances, but I know it’s not for everyone. But I’m happy to hear that you’re making progress forward from your injuries, and hopefully you’ll pass the interval stage soon!

    And that picture of you and EC is lovely! I love your dress in particular :)

  9. So good to read that you’re doing better! The running gods are going to owe you a few massive PRs after your recovery. If you don’t mind me asking: do you know what your injury is? Where is the pain? I’ve actually read all of your blog posts regarding the injury, but I’m still not quite sure what you’re dealing with. Is it knee pain? Do you have any idea what caused it? I’m also an injured runner and am very interested in injury causation. I guess I’m trying to gather information on injury prevention for the future!

  10. Don’t tell Mom. Maybe i will run with you. After all, my last race was with you, as was my last run. I may be limping up the aisle with you, but nothing would please me more to have one last run with my Little Bud. That is, before your new EC Bud steps in…


    • Dad – I love this idea! I can’t think of a better way to start the day :)

      …well, except for you limping. Let’s see if we can avoid that.

  11. I LOVE the photo of you both nd wow, your wedding is so close!! What fantastic news about being able to run again – there’s nothing like not being able to run for a while to remind you why you love it!

  12. I think running on your wedding day sounds awesome!
    Lee´s last post ..Lifting Lighter?

  13. You and me are two of a kind – i HATE walking/stopping with a passion. It always makes me think about how much further I have to go! On the plus side – sounds like your injury is healing quick!
    Kailey´s last post ..Lean Cuisine – Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli

  14. Congrats Lauren! I know you’ll be able to run your 5k on your wedding day and I’ll celebrate by sprinting my heart out on the 3000 m race that same morning! :) What a lovely place you have moved to1 I wish you speedy recovery and a lovely wedding!

  15. Congrats on your pain free run!! :D

  16. Yay!!! I’m so excited that you are running again. No shame in walking – you know you’ll get back to marathon form soon enough.

    And wow – your wedding is in 2 weeks?? I am still riding high after my brother’s amazing wedding, but I love weddings! I hope it is all you’ve wished for and more :)
    Michelle´s last post ..Three Things Thursday

  17. Yaaaayyyyyy!!!!!! What great news!! And only 16 more days!!!
    Ricole Runs´s last post ..Girls on the Run IS So Much Fun!

  18. yayy for a pain-free run, Lauren! That’s very exciting – so glad you’re on the road to recovery :) AND, how the heck did time fly by so fast?? I can’t believe you’re getting married so soon. Amazing. You both look fabulous in that photo. If I ever get married, I can’t imagine not starting it with a run either. And I know you’ll be able to do it!
    Kelly´s last post ..Fartleks and Fat News

  19. Hooray for pain free running! Very jealous, and I know exactly what you mean about waiting for the pain to hit…whenever I run(/walk), I’m on high alert for the pain to come back and think about EVERY twinge to wonder if that’s the pain coming rushing back.

    I will definitely run the morning of my wedding…I can’t imagine such an important day not starting with one of my favorite activities. So soon! You definitely have an exciting distraction coming up!
    Susan´s last post ..i want to throw my shoes out the window

  20. Run/ Walking brought me back last summer after my stress fracture. It was the start of a great marathon training cycle that was 100% injury-free. It was very humbling but I knew inside that fast forward several months it would get me to where I wanted to go and IT DID!

    So happy you had a pain-free run. I hope you get your wedding day 5K!! SO excited for you!

    BTW- love that engagement picture!
    Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom´s last post ..Where to Begin??

  21. Also not a personal fan of the run/walk EXCEPT for how awesomely it works when returning to running from injury. So glad you got those 27 minutes in :) And WOW…wedding is right around the freakin’ corner!!!!!!
    XLMIC´s last post ..The Idiot and the Labyrinth

  22. Run-walk is what got me back from my injury. I know it may not be your favorite, but it worked so so well for me. They helped me maintain good form, which really helped me not reaggravate my injury. I also split up some runs ie 15 min am, 15 min pm to make 30 min total for the day, but not putting so much stress on my IT band. I also would scale up minutes for a few days and then plateau or scale back.

    Good luck – I think a 5K on your wedding day sounds great and it fits in with my #5Krevolution.
    Meggie´s last post ..If You Like Reading This Blog…

  23. Yay! I’m so glad you were able to run! I would totally run a race on my wedding day — that sounds like the perfect way to start one of the most exciting days of your life.
    Sarah K´s last post ..Never Say Die

  24. That’s great! I run/walk/run and I love it…it’s the only way I can stay motivated to run, keep running and finish the races I enter. Check out Jeff Galloway’s website (www.jeffgalloway.com), he is the father of the run/walk/run method.

  25. I love the the idea of a run on you r wedding day! Maybe because it was part of my big day 2 years ago… Take the time on your run to relax and take a few moments for you.. and get ready to be the center of attention :)

  26. Yay for getting back into the groove of running! I’m in the same boat at the moment, slowly working my way back. I love seeing pictures of where you are running, it makes me want to go home and run! If your ever around when I’m up for a weekend I would be happy to meet up for a run!

  27. The photo of you and EC is so cute! And you can totally do a fun 3.1 miles before your wedding. I think it’s totally reasonable to want to run on the biggest day of your life!

  28. Awww, awesome! Congrats on a pain free run, Lauren! And YAY almost wedding day! So many good wishes and stress free thoughts your way in the final stretch! :)

  29. I ran on my wedding day for the same reasons you want to! Really hoping you can run that 5k, Lauren!
    Jen´s last post ..I can’t stop eating

  30. Good luck with your rehab! I have been going through a similar routine…working with a PT and slowly doing walk- runs in Saucony Mirages as well. I have moved down from ASICs with about a 12 mm spread. My right knee has been talking on and off for a few years now, but I have learned a lot about the causes for these issues and hopefully I am not too old too see some relief. At 49 with several years of running on my feet, the soft tissue around the knees are really breaking down. I plan on going to UVA in a few weeks to get a full gait analysis and additional info. Here is a great link to some important things to consider when transitioning to more minimalist running:
    All the best to you and congrats on your wedding!

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