In our last blog post, The 5Ws of Plank360, we explained how this unique method was created to satisfy our clients’ need for cardio in addition to their pilates classes. To further assist this goal, Plank will be starting a Run Club in the coming months! When I heard this, I was excited about the idea and then immediately worried. I desperately hoped that I wouldn’t need to be the instructor to lead this Run Club because, well, I can’t run. It’s a hard thing to believe, but there are many aspects of my childhood that have now made it difficult for me to run as an adult. I spoke with Julia, Plank’s Studio Director, about this shortcoming and fear, and she encouraged me to record my experience so I could keep track of my progress. Though running is a seemingly natural activity, many people struggle with it as part of a fitness routine. Starting from square one, I will share my running adventures on Plank’s blog with the goal to run four miles by June. You can read here to benefit from my mistakes (there will be plenty!), and learn along with me.
Here’s a bit of my fitness background so you get a better understanding of where I’m starting from.
Workout Activities of Choice
I’ve been dancing since I was seven years old and am now a professional dancer in the city. Even though I dance with a company here, I transitioned from a college dance schedule where I danced 5+ hours a day, 5-6 days a week to the “real world.” For seven months I had a part time desk job (also known as sitting and eating to reward myself for being there) while I tried to find a great Pilates studio where I could teach and work full time (cue Plank’s entrance.) I was hitting the pavement auditioning, but finding extra time to take a dance class was slim, not to mention extremely expensive. To dance 5+ hours a day it would cost about $60-$70 per day, meaning that’s in no way feasible unless I had a burning desire to be homeless. After graduating I saw all my college friends shed pounds, simply from refraining from nightly binge drinking, while I instead gained weight. Nothing that was too obvious and detrimental, but my body responded to the negative change of not having hours upon hours of dancing (a full body, cardio workout) in my everyday life.
I do mat exercises on my own and then take Tower and Plank360 classes from Plank. I’ve been practicing pilates for about 6 years now.
I don’t frequently attend yoga classes, but I incorporate the stretches before and after dance and Pilates work outs.
Dance themed classes
I like to move to music with a good beat. Classes like Zumba are really fun for me since I’m enjoying what I’m doing and not thinking it’s work. However, in the city these usually require a gym membership or a large payment per class.
I’ve always envied runners because they can get their cardio workout anywhere at anytime. Inside or outside. City streets or park. Sun or rain. Dawn or dusk. I could technically dance anywhere, but then my mental health would be questioned.
Reasons I’ve Been Scared of Running and Deemed Myself Unable to Run
I had severe asthma as a child, and it was very hard to control. I would wheeze and cough any time I did too much cardio exercise whether it was dancing, running, or going wild on my Skip It. Because of this, I was always the last to finish the mile run in the Presidential Fitness Test in elementary and middle school. While dancing aggravated my asthma, it was the lesser of two evils, since the cardio lasted in short bursts rather than long extended periods of time. My asthma was eventually controlled with medication, and it grew to be more seasonally induced than exercise induced. Regardless, the effects from childhood made me nervous to try again.
The more my dancing improved, the more flexible I got. I would try to run more at the beginning of high school, but my legs killed when I tried. My loose hamstrings couldn’t keep up.
No, I’m not flattering myself. For eleven years of my dance career (the pre-college portion) I was always taught to “dance” run, gliding effortlessly and quietly across the stage in a toe-ball-heel fashion. When I try to run normally (heel-ball-toe) I automatically go to my toe-ball-heel ways (or just toe if I’m feeling sprightly), so I look like an idiot, and my calves cramp before I can even think of accomplishing any long distance goals.
Despite all of this, I’m still going to learn how to run. I need to for my heart health and general well-being. I have about two months to accomplish my four mile goal, but with Julia’s guidance I think I can do it! Read my posts to learn along with me so you can join our Run Club too! (More info to come!)
Plank’s Run Around Girl