March 21, 2005

Pushing a Five; Let's Talk about Warm-ups and Cool-downs!

So tired this morning! After the Brooklyn Half Saturday and six hours of strike and re-hang to wrap up Rebel Without A Cause last night, my body did NOT want to get out of bed, bend, or even move. But responsibilities call and I needed to get some breakfast and get on the phone.

Yesterday I began reading the Competetive Runner's Handbook, which I picked up at NYRR headquarters. I'm not allowing what I read in there to sway me from my current training schedule -- I'll get through May 1st with the book I'm using now -- but I am picking up some good information.

One of the bits I've read so far that I need to pay more attention to is my warm-ups and cool-downs. Coupled with what the doc was saying at last week's seminar on preventing injuries, it made a lot of sense. 1) Before stretching, warm-up. The muscles are more elastic that way. 2) ALWAYS cool-down by some easy walking around before post-run stretching and don't just plop your butt down. Keep the blood moving as the body readjusts to near-resting state. And 3) it is probably good to push the pace a bit on shorter runs, to begin to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers. Not all-out sprinting, of course, just... kick it up a notch.

So. Bearing all that in mind, I did today's warm-up much like Saturday's had turned out to be: some walking, light stretching, five to ten minutes of easy jogging, then serious pre-run stretching. By the time I was done with that, I found I was more than ready to tackle a brisk five miles. Instead of my body sluggishly responding for the first half-mile, I was good and strong from the start!

I ran the five-mile loop from my house, up the Slope, around the Park, and down the Slope. Standard for me and, according to my little GPS, its exactly five miles and change (a few hundredths). Peeeeeerfect! I ran at a good clip, for me, slowing down only a little on hills and really trying to pick it up on downhills. I'm finding that I don't change speeds very easily! The GPS had me, overall, at exactly an 11:00 pace, but I figure I was doing a 10:30 for most of the run, save the hills.

Cool-down. After throwing my hoodie back on and grabbing my jug of Gatorade, I conscientously walked another quarter mile before returning to my stoop for some extended post-run stretching.

Results of this change in my warm-up and cool-down routines: NO PAIN! Seriously, none! The foot pain that's been plagueing me for a couple of weeks has disappeared. I had/have no joint pain at all right now. Maybe proper warming/cooling is going to make all the difference for me.

After a long, hot shower, I'm now sitting here gobbling hard-boiled eggs and water and checking email and preparing to go to rehearsal tonight. What a great run today. Top five, at least!

1 comment:

Chelle said...

Hey, good job with your running log here and thanks for visiting my page as well. It sounds like you're doing great on your way to your goal, though now I'm all stressed about your sore foot you keep mentioning. Running injuries are a nightmare for me and I'm always paranoid about every vague ache or pain.

Good luck in Cincinnati, I've heard really good things about that race.