Last time I wrote, I wrote about hip pain. Well, I took 2 months off and got "activated" with the reserves to go to Utah. Worked SO hard there that the time is almost a blur. Well, I got back to running when I returned to Oahu right before Christmas (yeah, started the following week... kinda like a "New Year's resolution". I started back on the Couch to 5K program again. I may have blogged about it before, but here we go again!!
Couch to 5K Running Program:
The Couch to 5K program is a registered trademarked running training plan... but, before it became trademarked, there were a few other groups putting out free apps out there. Now, it seems, everyone has their own version and you pay for them. You can try some for free, but to finish the plan, you'd have to pay. So, for the "original"... go here: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml for their plan (its $1.99). Now, the nice thing about this website is that you can print the plan for free on their site and make the intervals work for you.
|Week||Workout 1||Workout 2||Workout 3|
|1||Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.||Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.||Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.|
|2||Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.||Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.||Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.|
|3||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:|
|4||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:|
|5||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.|
|6||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.|
|7||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).|
|8||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).|
|9||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).||Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).||The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).|
The hard thing is... I don't want to look at a timer to see how long to run (well, that does work well on a treadmill!!). So... I did buy one of those "other" plans when it was still called C25K. The plan I've used now for almost 3 years is "Ease into 5K" by Blue Fin apps (this one is $2.99).
Now, I'm not telling you what plan to use... they are ALL modeled after the same interval-based running program to get you off the couch and running! I have seen some of my friends, who were self-proclaimed couch potatoes, get up and run and be SO proud of themselves for running greater than 60 seconds at a time... then to see them run a 5K? Priceless!! (not to mention ME running!!! I've always "hated" running as it was just too hard and "everything hurt") Most of the free apps are the main app allowing you to try out the first 4 weeks. I did find some other free apps, but cannot speak of how good they are. I did download some and found they appear to have all the intervals and weeks, plus the GPS and music sync. Investigate for yourself!! Like I said, mine was free when I first got it. Would I buy it for $2.99 now? Probably not as the other ones seems so similar. But, I'm used to it now...
What I like about the interval way to getting off the couch and running is that someone else is telling me (through my earpieces) when to run and when to walk and when I'm 1/2 way done or when my last run is coming up. I LOVE to listen to music when I'm working out as it really makes me think of the songs instead of how my body is feeling. Believe me, at 47 years, your body YELLS at you to stop at times!!
So... here's how I use the training plan for my patients. In the military, most people are now runners (due to the annual or biannual fitness testing requiring running) and are in a hurry to get back to running after hurting themselves. The kicker is that mostly, they've hurt themselves... running. (Or doing crossfit type workouts improperly. But, that's another story.) So, most of the injuries are "runner's knee", ITBand friction syndromes at the knee and hip, ankle pain, shin splints, and back pain.
There are typically two to three things that cause a person who supposedly runs all the time to become injured:
1. not warming up.
2. running improperly.
3. too much/too soon/too fast
1. WARM UP!!!
Most people I see going out for a run (yes, I watch every one, all the time!! I am a people watcher and habitually look for gait deviations and such... sheesh... I'm a physical therapist! Its in my blood!!) do a few stretches then simply... run. Now, we have all taken an aerobic class or two in our lives and they ALWAYS warm up. Perhaps it's a slower paced dance move for a few minutes or some other activity to get your heart started pumping... but they warm up.
There is a LOT of research out there as to how a person should warm up, should warming up include stretching or not, and why we should warm up. There are also some great videos that'll take you through a 5 minute standing hip/lower extremity warm up prior to running. There were so many on YouTube that I got off-blog for a LONG time just now!!
What I tell my patients? Warm up through some kind of movement which gets your heart pumping a little bit faster than "normal" walking. So, for a runner, it would be a faster walk than their normal walking pace. So, I ask my patients to build in a 5 minute warm-up walk and a 5 minute cool-down walk after their runs. Stretching?? When to stretch? My response is typically when YOU want to stretch... after the warm up walk or after the cool down walk? Its up to you. The research is all over the place, but does tend to point to stretching at some time (leaning toward "dynamic" stretching prior to running, but longer static stretches afterwards), period.
2. Run in proper alignment!!
Heel strike is the MAJOR cause of shin splints and joint pains, in my opinions. Somehow, when we're younger, around middle school age or high school aged, we change the way we run to include a heel strike.
There are a LOT of hits when you Google: Proper Running Form. I'm a visual person and need things explained in a way this kinesiologist understands... not in words, either. So, I tend to skip all those great sites (and there are amazing ones out there!!) and go straight to YouTube and look up "Chi Running"... it'll get you a great PowerPoint-looking video that's white background and a stick figure with ovals on him as one of the first hits. In my opinion, that's the best video. Take the time to watch it... it's less than 10 minutes and explains how to run in a way that's taken most of my patients from painful running (regardless of where the pain is) and into painfree or tolerable (at the worst) running.
3. Begin running or going back to running SLOWLY and smartly.
So many of my patients fit into one of two categories:
1) "I'm not a runner and NEVER have been a runner, but now I 'have' to run 'cause the Air Force says I have to!!"
2) I was injured while running (or had a surgery) and was told by my doc it was "OK" to go back to running.
#1. These folk dislike running so much that they've never taken the time to learn how to warm up/cool down, do proper stretching, wear best running shoes for their feet, run in proper alignment and how to go from a couch potato to becoming a runner. These folk mainly need to be shown the Couch to 5K program, Chi Running video, given some stretches and exercises for their specific body type and diet/nutritional counselling as they usually have a little excess weight to manage and think running alone will solve their weight problem. Typically, they have a mental block on running... so, if I can make it easier for them to get out there through education and weight loss, they tend to lose that mental block (hey, I'm one with this group!!! I always thought I "hated" running, too!!)
#2. These folk think that because they were distance runners before their injury or surgery/procedure, they can just get back out there and pick up from where they stopped... or just go out and run until something hurts or they're too tired to keep going. WRONG. Everyone should give their body a chance to readjust back to running... even if they've been on a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike!!
These prior runners also benefit from a return to run program, such as the C25K. Yep. I'm hooked on that one. Why? Because you can start it at any level of fitness. Typically, I'll have a prior runner start farther in on the program, such as week 3 or 4. This allows them to get their pace back and figure out their new alignment, smooth over issues with muscle weakness or tightness, and get back to running smartly.
Needless to say, I've done this with myself, too. I'm the kind of PT that won't do something with her patients unless she's tried it out on herself first. I need to experience the treatment/program in order to truly understand how to use it and with whom to use it. Make sense? GREAT!!
Now that the hip is feeling better, I've started taping it and got back to running. After a 2-month hiatus and an injury... you bet I went back to week 1 day 1 of the C25K! Yep... first week felt as though I was being a wimp, and that I could run farther or for longer times, but it was the SMART way to get back. It allowed me to focus on my hip level (don't let one hip drop down when weight bearing anymore - that's part of what caused the injury... gluteus medius weakness and a pull to the TFL), my pace and cadence, and whether anything was hurting or feeling OK.
Now, let's try some running!!
Questions?? I'd love to answer!!