Why I stopped running regularly
…and what you can learn from it
by Patricia Nadine Mirasol
If you look at the banner photo of this blog, you’d notice an image of me running. Though I don’t run as much anymore, I like to keep it as a reminder of how my fitness and wellness journey started. Here’s my running story and how I evolved from there:
A happy coincidence
I used to run. A lot, by most people’s standards. It started late 2009 when my brother gifted me with a pair of running shoes and I decided to use it as a way to lose the few holiday pounds that started creeping in. It was as simple as that. Discovering running, I realize now in hindsight, was a bit of a happy coincidence.
Of course, I didn’t start running straight away. I contented myself with just walking at first. That walk became a brisk walk, then a walk-jog, which eventually morphed into my version of walk-jog-run. As with all activities, do it long enough and you’re bound to improve and crave more. I eventually increased the frequency of my runs to once a week because once in a while didn’t cut it anymore. My once a week then quickly became twice a week before settling into a regular two to four times a week, 3K minimum per run.
Running as a social exercise
Those were absolute happy times. The people I hung out with were running enthusiasts, and socializing usually meant running and then partaking of a yummy treat afterwards, haha! I felt that it was a good departure from my usual weekend routine of chillin’ at coffee shops (usually Starbucks). You see, prior to running, I was a bit sedentary. My 2006 self would probably be shocked by some of the outdoorsy adventures I’m open to now!
It was also a wonderful time to run. Coach Rio de la Cruz had popularized running as a cool and fun sport by then. Running was so popular during those years that you could join a fun run every weekend if you wished. All you had to do was browse the calendars at Takbo.ph, RunRio, and Pinoy Fitness and pick your event of choice. I personally joined a fun run at least thrice a year and interspersed it with regular jogs around our neighborhood.
Late 2012 though, a nagging problem with my knees forced me to assess my routine. I couldn’t run without having my knees give me trouble, so I finally decided to visit an orthopaedic surgeon. He confirmed what I basically felt and knew to be true: I had to shift to other joint-friendly sports.
I was really sad and bummed for at least a week. It felt that a part of my identity was snatched away from me. What made me bounce back was another happy coincidence: I had already began to try out other sports. Also, I enjoyed swimming as a child so I knew that it was an option that was always open for me.
So what can you learn from my experience? Well, first of all, mix up your fitness routine. Add strength training to your cardio and vice versa. I seriously just ran my bum off several years ago with nary an effort towards strengthening my body and the muscles around my joints, specifically my knees.
I know now that a good fitness regimen is one that combines both cardio and strength training. Incorporating strengthening and corrective exercises in your routine will go a long way towards saving your knees. Check out strength and conditioning specialist Migie Felizardo’s easy-to-follow tips at Inquirer Multisport for starters.
Warm up and cool down
Do not forget to warm up and cool down after every exercise. Not that I didn’t warm up and cool down then, but they bear reminding. Just as a computer needs a few seconds to reboot and shut down, so does your body need pre- and post-workout care. Here’s my favorite cool down routine by Karena, one half of the dynamic duo behind Tone It Up:
Running is such a natural movement you’d think everyone can do it correctly. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that. There’s such a thing as proper running form. Adhering to it could make you a better – and less injury-prone – runner.
According to Budd Coates and Jen Van Alle of Runner’s World, that means relaxing your shoulders and grip and resting your arms in a 90-degree angle or less. It also means not overextending your forward leg and making sure your foot lands underneath your knee. Here, let’s hear the experts explain it:
I’ll share more tips in a future post.
How about you? Are you a runner? What do you do to prevent running-related injuries? 🙂 I’d love to know!
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Read my blog’s full disclosure and disclaimer here.
Information from Migie Felizardo of Multisport Philippines.
Second photo from JCI Alabang.