My second day of running was another mid-day sunny “work out.” I had shin splints and achy calves (seriously…?), but I was ready to give it another shot. I dressed myself a lot easier this time, and I ate about 3 hours before the run. I kept thinking about the side cramp and desperately hoped it wouldn’t happen again.
I stretched my side body with some standing lateral stretches and did some full body roll downs to make sure I had a quick torso, hamstring and spine stretch. I started running at the same block where I started before so I could have a visual reference of how far I went previously and if I could make it past that.
I made it past the 0.38 miles I did last time, so excited that I had figured out this side cramp nonsense when it struck again. It was such a terrible pain in my side, but I made myself go farther. When I couldn’t go anymore I slowed to a speed walk. It was a continuous 0.5 miles. Better! But still not great. Ugh.
The day was so beautiful, that instead of sprinting and potentially losing my belongings (and dignity) again, I just sped walked all the way home. I used my time walking on the water to observe other runners’s strides and techniques. Everyone definitely has a unique run based on their body’s alignment, cardio health and the little quirks that get them through. (I saw some jacked, athletic guy, and he kicked his butt every time he took a new step. To each his own, I guess.) I realized, that everyone was running a lot slower than I had been. I envisioned myself running along the water, and I was constantly passing people.
Ding, ding, ding, lightbulb! I was running way too fast. I guess, like Friends’ Pheobe Buffay, I wanted to run like I ran when I was a kid. (Don’t worry, I don’t flail my arms quite as freakishly as she does.) A quick race to the swing set or down to the pond was something I could do since it was a short, intense burst and then lots of rest to follow. My stride was still long and fast, but as an adult this looked like I was getting chased by an axe murderer rather than out for a healthy jog.
Pleased with my new information, I thought I maybe I could solve the problem of the side cramp for good. We’ll see next time!
What I learned:
-Jog don’t run. Keep your strides smaller to pace yourself.
-Stretching and not eating before the run may have helped with the side cramping a bit, and I felt my abs engaged more this time.
The Run Around Girl