How Running Can Change Your Life (And How It Has Changed Mine

Without getting all soppy and crying all over my keyboard.  I am going to tell you how running can change your life. I am also going to tell you how it has changed mine too.  Running can be and is well known to be a sport that is quite lonely at times.  It’s an individual sport for many but also running is based around teamwork and joint goals.

I started to run in August 2011 for no reason in particular apart from watching runners run the Dublin marathon 2010. You could say I was inspired.

To be honest it was a Facebook advert for the Dublin marathon that really gave me that little push. I signed up for the Frank Duffy 10 mile, Dublin Half Marathon and of course the ultimate one of all, the Dublin Marathon 2011.

Within 5 minutes of signing up I got this fear developing as I realised I haven’t ran in years. More importantly I had 12 weeks to get my ever increasing size bum out running on the roads.

“Running just became a part of my life and something I looked forward to”

My first year of running was absolutely great. I was out running 4 times every week with absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no structure or any sort of training program. I think that is one of the reason I took to running as it was fun for me and nothing more than that.  From day one I’d say to myself “why didn’t you do this sooner” running just became a part of my life and something I looked forward to.

Wasn’t that lovely? Non-runner becomes a runner, delightful. They might even make a movie about it, the runner version of Rocky! Of course I am joking but any movie directors interested in contacting me about such a blockbuster idea then do call. My mammy thinks it’s a great idea anyway.

To really explain how running can change your life I will tell you how running changed my life – what better way to do so!

Dublin Front Runners

Join A Running Club

Join your local running club if that is possible. You will not only be more motivated but you will share the experience with other runners like you.

I joined the Dublin Front Runners in July 2012, which not only helped me with my fitness, it helped me keep motivated whiles I trained for marathon number 3. I also look at other runners like my sister Christina who was running around the football pitch before joining her local running club Drogheda & District AC. I think she maxed 10 km to 12 km before joining the club and within 5 to 6 months she ran her first marathon.

“Join your local running club”

As I watched from the side line Christina started to clock the miles week after week. I could see her and all her running buddies become a team. They shared experiences together, motivated each other and ultimately gave each other the encouragement they needed.

I’ve had the exact same experience in preparation for both marathons Rotterdam and Dusseldorf 2013 with my running club. I often think the experience in training with the running club was what I will remember for my lifetime and not so much the race itself.

“I will remember for my lifetime”

Dublin Front Runners Training

Confidence

I once said to my friend that when I ran my first marathon I would repeat to myself “If I can run a marathon I can do anything in life” Okay that is a little soppy but the confidence I developed was great for me, I felt good, I thought I looked good and I was achieving things I never thought possible.

I have met runners who started on the Couch to 5 km program and are now regular runners with the Dublin Front Runners. I’ve seen my buddy Michael run his first sub 40 minute 10 km and how that rocketed his confidence. He is now running under 40 minutes regularly in training (better state that in case he reads this). I’ve watched my sister transform, run a marathon and develop a lovely confidence in her abilities more than anything.

Rocovery

Running Friends & Running Buddies 

When I started to run I met some amazing men and women. Friendships that started around common goals, targets and of course the love for running.  I’ve made running friends from all over the world which is just great. What more can you say here as it really is that simple, you form friendships with people that you will have for a lifetime.

“common goals, targets and of course the love for running”

Dublin Front Runners Rotterdam 2013

Focus and Direction

If I can run a marathon I can do anything in life”

Not everyone needs focus and direction but I know I do. Running helped me with that and It actually thought me a lot of discipline when it comes to everyday life. I am almost certain that it was my background in running that helped me secure the job that I really wanted. As I said I would repeat to myself in training that “If I can run a marathon I can do anything in life” of course that is not 100% true but you get my meaning.Dublin Marathon Finish 2014

Travel

This is a nice little bonus of running as every so often you might consider a race in another city worldwide or even locally. I ran a marathon in Germany, two in the Netherlands, 5 km in Toronto, half marathon in New Jersey and many half marathons in Ireland. I ran every single one these races with new and old friends.

New Jersey Half Marathon

I asked some of my friends “How running has changed your life for the better” and I received the following response from them.  Exactly why running is becoming one of the most popular sports worldwide again!

Chris, New York Frontrunner, 10 time marathon runner

“It’s my mediation.” It’s given me so many friends”

Roisin, Team Carrie Marathon Runner 2014

“When I have something on my mind I run and try to sort it out without people throwing their two cent in”

Christina, Drogheda & District AC, Marathon runner 2014

“Left me happy and positive in everyday life – I feel stronger and happier, happy in myself because the running which makes everything better. We all have different experiences on why running can change your life and this is my reason. I love running”

Edel, Drogheda & District AC, Marathon Runner 2014

“It’s the cheapest therapy ever!!”

Lisa, Drogheda & District AC, Marathon Runner 2014

“It clears my head and it’s free go when I want”

If anything after reading this blog I just hope I’ve inspired you to run. I hope you can relate to this as a runner and remember how lucky we are to find something that has helped shape us as people and in many ways challenged us personally and if we are lucky inspired others. “Be Inspired and Inspire Others”

“Be Inspired and Inspire Others”

If you like this post please feel free to comment on it and tell us how running has changed your life and feel free to share this post.

Ways To Help You Manage Your Running Injury And Run

human anatomy physical therapy

I was recently asked by a friend who is back running more regularly “how does he stop his feet falling apart” that his feet felt a bit tender.

It got me thinking about injuries, looking after your body as a runner and what I’ve been doing over the last year trying to get myself running injury free.

I have been carrying an injury in my leg and foot for almost 2 years now. I know how annoying it can be to have an injury or feel a bit tender. My problem started during training for the Rotterdam marathon which ultimately ended in a stress fracture in my tibia.  I worked very hard, I was never so fit, I was running faster than I have ever ran during this period. Recovery and injury prevention didn’t even come into my head. I had one focus and that was my half and full marathon times.

During this time I was not listening to my body when it came to recovery.  I had a niggle in my foot that started in January of 2013 but I ignored it completely.  It wasn’t hurting much but I could feel something wasn’t right. Long story short it all caught up on me.

Remember when you run your feet play a massive part in how you run. Think of it like this, you push off on your feet and land on your feet. Which means your feet absorb the impact (landing phase of the running cycle) and controls the forces generated when running (during the push off phase of the running cycle).

It looks like my stress fracture developed due to the impact phase of the running cycle. I had an issue and still do when landing as I run. It is very hard to say if this was the reason for the stress fracture or it could have been overuse but who is to know. What I do know is that I still have the stiffness in my foot and often feel the pressure around the tibia.

If your feet are hurting and tender then really take care of yourself and don’t ignore the little signs. Now is the perfect time to start minding yourself as your not injured, your building mileage slowly. Prepare yourself for great running in 2015 and run injury free!!

Some suggestions and tips that has helped me manage my injury but also have helped me after my training over the last 4 to 5 months. Just to be clear you can do so many pre and post running activities that will help you.

Below is what I’ve been doing since June this year which has allowed me to get out running again more regularly.

Change of Mindset

I’ve changed my mindset dramatically when it comes to running and injuries. Before I would have had the mindset that I’d deal with it when it happens instead of taking all the necessary steps to make sure it doesn’t happen, or to reduce the likelihood of an injury developing.

Think of it like building a house and to build a house that will last you need to have strong foundations right?

When the foundations are built well, secure, safe, solid, strong, ultimately the entire structure is made to last but every once in while you need to do some DIY and maintenance.  The Pre work is the foundation/structure of the house and Post work is the maintenance of the house

running injury prevention

Physical Therapy

Go see a physical therapist if you have any niggles or for a bit of maintenance, if you don’t it could end up blowing up in your face.

My sister’s friend ended up having ankle problems during Dublin marathon training, and one of her running buddies told her she didn’t need to go see a PT yet. I was of the thinking that she should go straight away as she knew things weren’t right.

The outcome was a week off running due to her still running on it and not getting the right advice. A swollen ankle and almost not making it to the marathon after months of training. Thankfully she managed to complete her first marathon but as always the sneaky injury showed its sneaky face.

I have been working with a physical therapist since June of this year. She has done wonders with me and really worked on exploring the problem. Find someone you can work with and who can work with you and explore the injury together.  By having this relationship with your PT you are more honest with what you want to get out of every PT appointment.

“The goal of my clinic is to establish & treat the cause of your pain & help you back to living your life as you want to”  Grainne Butler, Physical Therapy and Acupuncture Clinic

ICE Bottle Roller

I am a big fan of filling a small bottle of water, placing it in the freezer and after long runs or speed work taking it out and rolling the sole of my feet.You get double impact here, you are rolling your feet which helps with the recovery as well as icing helping with the inflammation in your feet after a hard run.

What I like most about this is that I often get a slight pain in my heal, arch and even big toe and by rolling my foot back and forth, applying a little pressure I get a really nice relief from it.

It is also great for someone suffering from plantar fasciitis.  Read more about Plantar Fasciitis here

Long Road Back From Running Injury

Footwear

I don’t know enough about footwear, whether we should wear runners with support or not.  You can read may articles about barefoot running and whether barefoot running is king.

What I do know is when I changed my regular trustworthy runners for a new pair of less supported runners the pain in my leg and feet reduced massively during and after a run.

Picking the right shoes for you is important so do some research. Try on a couple of pairs of runners, test them on the treadmill in the sports shop.  Ask questions like are they designed for long distance running, short distance, track, cross country etc. I hate to say it that a lot of it is trial and error. In my case anyway!

Listen to your body

Easier said than done right! Listen to your body as when you’re hurting you are hurting. It’s a sign not to go out running.  In November I ran 10 times which isn’t really that much for someone who loves to run. Before the injury I would have ran 5 to 6 days a week.The truth is I couldn’t run as my injury didn’t allow me or my body hadn’t recovered from hard workouts I done. I learnt that if I didn’t take the 2 days off after a hard run I eventually end up having to take 10 days off.  It’s that simple, listen to your body!

Quality of quantity

I think this is one of the main reasons that I can continue getting out for a number of runs a week. I’ve no training plan or target miles a week. When I do go out and run they are 90% of the time focused on quality rather than quantity.

For example:

I’d run Tuesday nights and run about 10 miles at a nice steady pace, focusing on form, allowing my body become fitter.

Thursday night is usually a fast 10 km in which I like to push hard and test my fitness and speed.

Saturday morning is either a recovery run or speed work ( all depends on how my body feels).

Sunday is a nice long run which is usually negative splits, steady first half and second half is usually faster but gradually increasing the speed over the distance with the last 2 kms been the fastest kms overall.

10 km Race Samsung Night Run

As a runner, more than anything keep learning about the sport, read books on running, nutrition, recovery, injury prevention.  You have no shortage of running blogs to read but ultimately enjoy the experience of running.

As I was told recently that “a marathon isn’t the only race you you can train for and that you can get just as much of a buzz after a 5 km, 10 km or half marathon” so I am guessing variety is the spice of life (running)

Read more about common running injuries –  Common running injuries

Back Running After An Injury – So UnFit!

So here I am again back running and back writing in my blog.. I feel like I must confess that it is over 6 months since my last blog post… An injured runner is not a happy runner and I am very sure if I had been blogging over the last 6 months then every single one of them would have started off with I AM INJURED FEEL SORRY FOR ME… Better off not blogging then. Right?

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Last Saturday I went for a run with the running club and a number us done some speed work with the new running coach.. Only a couple of us decided to do the speed work with him and all I can say is ‘Speed Work Hurts’ BUT so worthwhile!! I have been running at least 2-3 times per week over the last month so I didn’t just start my first run back and jump into speed work!

What we done was a nice 2 km warm up and 4 x 1km w/ 3 mins rest in between. I was worried about doing them as I am still getting over the injury so for me I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or bad idea. I got an MRI done last month and got the all clear, however I still have pain around the injury (shin) and for some reason now in my foot. Anyway back to the speed work.. It was hard work for me to do them and I felt really unfit, it was like I was starting out running again even though 1 year ago I would have had no problem running them.. We ran a nice fast pace for each 1 km and averaged 3:22 min per km. Honestly it was really hard for me to complete 4 x 1km at that pace, if we had to do 5 x 1km then I would have dropped out… I am so unfit.. I’ve still some strength when it comes to running but the fitness is seriously lacking.  

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I have still yet to write out a plan or follow any sort of running routine so I guess the fitness won’t really improve until I commit to something. I plan to run 3 to 4 times a week and max 40 km a week over the next 2 months. I will start off with 3 runs per week and increase the distance per week ever so slightly.. Gone are the days of 100km per week – Oh god the thoughts of running 100 km a week sounds crazy to me now! 

Watch this space and I hope soon I can say “Back Running After An Injury – Feeling Fit”

 

 

 

 

 

December Fitness Challenge – December 1st to December 24th

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I am starting the first day of December with a fitness challenge, it is for me but I’d be interested in seeing if anyone wants to join me.

Why?: I always start a health or fitness challenge in December – Last year I stopped drinking December 1st (apart from a Christmas party), and I didn’t start drinking again really until April (OK after the Kinvara Half Marathon in March I had a couple of beers) – I started get my fitness level up for I was due to start a new marathon training plan in January.

Anyone interested in joining me?

It’s not necessarily only running, however as the first line suggest ‘A Fitness Challenge’ 

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How is it all going to work? – December 1st to December 24th

You can continue on to December 30th should you wish!!

1) You must do some sort of physical activity every single day.

2) You must really stick to it and keep us all update on my runningwithnolimits Facebook page. It’s all about motivating each other.

3) You can do any sort of exercises you wish – Running, Swimming, Classes, Yoga, Pilates, Gym

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4) It’s December and we all have a lot of commitments, meaning that time is going to be an issue for a lot of people, however, on those days that time is an issue you can do something like the following routine, this can be done in your own living room easily.

> 50 push ups, 50 body weight squats, 50 crunches.

5) If you like, weight yourself, take measurements, write them down and after the challenge is over do the same again and see what kind of results you get form the challenge. Keep this information for yourself, and at the end if you want to share then that’s great.

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6) I will update the page daily with some suggestions and tips. It will be very simple routines or an evening time motivational push to get you to go out for a walk, run etc.

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Let me know if you are interested and if you need any advice at all. We can motivate each other.

Be Inspired and Inspire Others

8 Stages of Marathon Running Funny Video

I had to share this as it really made me laugh, it is very funny and very true….
Best quote – “Even my teeth are tired”
 “From the excitement of Mile 1, to the shock of Mile 5 and the despair of Mile 19, nothing’s quite like the emotional roller coaster of running a marathon. This cartoon takes a look into the mind of a first time marathon runner as he experiences everything from Runner’s High, Runner’s Trots, and hitting “The Wall,” all over the course of 26.2 miles”
by: BuzzFeedVideo today and check us out at http://buzzfeed.com
Mile 22 has happened to me before on my first ever marathon! I didn’t stop but I can tell you it was one HELL of an experience, it took me another two miles to get over The Wall!
Happy Running Guys and Gals
Be Inspired and Inspire Others

I Run And I Can’t Get Over It. Did I Say I Run Marathons?!

I read this article today on The Wall Street Journal called “OK, You’re a Runner. Get Over It – Running a marathon is hard enough without also patting yourself on the back every step of the way”  by Chad Stafko

Nice article and in many ways he is right on the money, my god us marathon runners can be hard work for we talk about running, marathons, running gear and anything running related all day, and yes everyday, BUT I wonder has he ever ran a marathon himself? More than likely not and that’s all well and good, but I mean that if he did I am very sure he’d get it at some sort of level.

“I have a theory. There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running. When runners are dashing down a street in the middle of town or through a subdivision, they know that every driver, every pedestrian, every leaf-raker and every person idly staring out a window can see them”

Trust me the less people looking at us in training the better… We are training most nights of the week and our bodies are tired, we hurt, we are sweating like crazy, our faces develop some sort of salty complexion, we really don’t look like the picture of health on many occasions as we run.. The less people the better I say. I know a couple of runners who are a little nervous heading out running during the day because of what people might say or think….. 😦 Run I say, run like the wind!!

I won’t deny it and say that we do on numerous occasions say “Yes I run marathons” but that is only because for most of us it was wasn’t something we never believed we could do! It’s an excitement in us that we need to share, and dare I say that this excitement even inspires others to run. It that is a result of us marathon runners patting ourselves on the back, well then I am happy as  Larry for I think I did a good job!

I would love to challenge Mr. Stafko to run a marathon and keep it low key!I am sure if you did, it wouldn’t be long afterwards that we’d see an article saying “I saw a great new bumper sticker the other day. It read 26.2 I’ll take one of those, please” 

I know he will never read this but if he did read this I’d double dare him to run a marathon…… I know he’d love it.

OK, bumper stickers are a little over the top, but I am thinking the majority of those bumper stickers have been bought by loved ones who happen to be so proud of their loved ones achievement! Don’t you agree? I could be completely wrong, I hope not!

One of the lovely girls that I work with says that the first thing I said to her when we met was ” I run marathons, when I am not running I am thinking about running, when I am sleeping I am dreaming about running” Yep that sounds right! OH god I have a running obsession and I just can’t stop talking about it! How annoying I know but folks we got the bug!

Happy Running Guys and Gals

Be Inspired and Inspire Others!

Common Running Injuries Part 2 Results

Back in September I posted a poll on my blog – What Running Injury Have You Suffered From?

I listed 8 of the most common running injuries and asked the question – What Running Injury Have You Suffered From? I also gave the option of Other and Never.

In total the poll received 98 votes and since it’s common for runners to suffer from one running injury to the next, I allowed for max 3 votes.

The results are as follows: 

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What I find really interesting is that out of the 98 votes, only 2 of voters never had a running injury, that equates to 2.04%

It’s true when you run you become aware of how many injuries you can potentially get and worst of all they can show up without any consideration to where you are with your training, you could have just started to train for a race and it shows up or you could be on week 20 out of 24 when it decides to show it’s sneaky face, or worst of all during a race, which has happened to me and a number of runners I know.

If you want to know more each injury and how to manage them or prevent them, then I suggest the following website – ‘Virtual Sports Injury Clinic’

The number one most common running injury on my poll was Plantar Fasciitis, with 20 votes, which equates to 20.41%, followed closely by Hamstring issues, with 15% of the votes, which equates to 15.31% of the votes.

The ultimate question is how do we prevent running injuries but that is a completely different blog post on its own. For now I think it is best to listen to your body and don’t overdo it for the majority of injuries would come down to doing to much, to soon.

Happy Running Guys and Gals

Be Inspired and Inspire Others