Friday, February 5, 2010

Question for Runners.

Remember how back when I was pregnant and desperate for some freedom and outlet from the physical discomfort of pregnancy, I vowed to run the Capitol 10K in April?!? You do? Damn. I mean, I'm not trying to wuss out, but 10K? I hardly have the energy to run and check the mail today!

Ok, in all seriousness, though, I need some advice/a pep talk from all you seasoned runners out there. For those of you who know me well, you know I'm a walker, at best, so this is a big goal for me. Here's my big question: Can I train for a 10K in 9 weeks after not having exercised a single muscle in my body in over six months, and after having a c-section five and a half weeks ago? If so, what kind of training regimen/diet/lifestyle changes do I need to adopt?! Lastly, if anyone reading is in the Austin area, would you be interested in training/running the 10K with me? I need some support, ladies!


  1. Having been in competitive martial arts let me say first:

    It takes you much longer than the 6 weeks to heal entirely from a section. My scar still randomly hurts some days, 7 months later, so if you start REALLY hurting while doing anything, stop.

    That being said, if you're not into exercise, jumping into it all at once, full-bore, 12 hours a week hard training will not work. You'll be dead on your feet in about three days. It took me months to work up to being able to pull the 12 hour workout weeks I used to do, because I too started with zero muscle mass. Also, the first 5 weeks I trained, I went home, ate painkillers, took a hot, hot bath, and woke up the next morning only semi-twisted into a pretzel.

    The first 3 weeks will be miserable. You WILL hurt in places you didn't think you possesed, but it's worth it in the long run.

    So my advice to you, starting from the bottom.

    Lift weights. Do the requisite cardio to keep your heart healthy and slowly build endurance, but the thing that will save your body most in contact sports is it being strong enough to take the abuse.

    Once you have some muscle mass to work with, you'll find your endurance running goes up, as well.

    I learned that idiots do cardio to "tone up" and that cardio gains you NOTHING as far as building muscle. The only way to do that is to lift heavy things regularly and to ramp up how much you lift on a curve. Cardio gains you endurance, but there is a reason most runners look like beef jerky. Cardio burns muscle, which is bad when you want to build it, but cardio is also necessary to make sure you can USE those muscles. So strike a balance.

    To build muscle, you MUST EAT. You cannot "diet" and build muscle. You must eat enough to have materials to build muscle with. Eat healthy. Eat meat. You don't need to double up on protein, but you do need to eat more of it. No, you will not become a manly-woman by building muscle (women's physiques don't work that way) but you WILL get madly defined muscles you never knew you had.

    And random guys will be standing in puddles of their own drool when you walk past in a skimpy outfit.

    Lifestyle wise, I highly recommend you find a personal trainer (hit a local 24 hour fitness) to help you formulate a plan. Trainers will be able to point you in the right direction of what to work to achieve what you my case, I went with a harder-core trainer because I was supplementing martial arts competition. I had to make sure my workouts with him didn't cut into my ability to perform on the mats. No matter what kind of trainer you pick, make sure you are comfortable with them...don't be afraid to switch if you don't like someone, but make sure that you keep in mind, your trainer is there (and being paid) to push you to do "just one more."

    Diet-wise...don't diet. Don't restrict or skip meals or any of that other BS. Watch your calorie intake, but make sure to eat enough to offset what you are working off. When you gain muscle it is very likely you will gain weight...I was heavier when I was in martial arts, but I wore a size 4, the same weight prior to building the muscle, I wore a size 8.

    I spent many years working with various trainers, and many years in martial arts. It's best when getting into shape to set small goals and work up to big ones.

    A 10K might be a tad out of your reach right now, but you WILL get there, eventually, if you apply yourself...and the importance of reaching a goal is not when you do it, but that you do it.

    If you need any more advice, you just call or text...I do know my stuff when it comes to fitness, even though lately I've been doing an absolutely horrendous job taking care of myself. Maybe having you around for inspiration will help me get back on the wagon and start lifting again.

    I do miss lifting. It and TKD were my zen.

  2. My husband runs marathons and says he thinks you could walk the marathon. Running would be ambitious - and you would have to run REALLY slow. His concerns are that 1) you wouldn't be fully healed from your c-section 2) your joints won't have solidified up enough to deal with the impact of running. But his advice to new runners is always to run SLOW. Very slow. Don't set a distance, start by saying I'm going to run for 3 minutes, then walk for 3 then run for 3. And do it just above a walk. Then you slowly stretch out the time you spend running and gradually get faster. It took him months to get his joints/knees strong enough to be really in shape initially and a good pair of running shoes. I would definitely check with your doctor about any running, though.

  3. I ran for about 3 years and my first ever race was a 10K in April 2006. I started training for it on my own in January. I finished that race, running the entire way (slowly), but I had almost 4 months to prepare and hadn't just had a baby. I'm no expert but I do think you need more time to train for a 10K. It would be better to start with a 5K if possible and work your way up. I also suggest going to, put in your info, and get a personalized training schedule. See what it says and if it looks possible. Usually when training for a race, your longest run will be longer than the race itself and then you need to taper for the 2 weeks leading up to it. I don't think you have enough time to really do that. That being said though, when I started out training for my 10K, I had no help and didn't know what I was doing. The week before the race I ran 6 miles (my longest run ever) just to make sure that I could and then was able to successfully finish. I ran a few other races that spring, though, and then got injured and had to stop running for awhile. When I started back up it was with a group with coaches who knew what to do and I never had another problem. I went on to run two 10-milers, the last one being just last April. I haven't run since last May though due to my pregnancy and I know it's going to be a long road to get myself back to that point. I guess you just need to do what you feel comfortable with and don't do too much too soon. Take it slow and if you have to walk part of the race, then do it. The goal is to finish, it shouldn't matter what your time is. Oh, and go to a running store and get fitted for shoes. Don't go to Foot Locker or one of those shoe places. Find a local running store. That has been my biggest help. Having shoes that really fit well makes a huge difference and is worth the money! Good luck and keep us updated on how it goes!


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