How I made it to my first half-marathon (Read 607 times)

    1:45:18. If you had told me a month ago that I'd be running a half-marathon in that time, I'd have called you crazy. Probably something worse. But I did this past Sunday. Anyways, this was gonna be a race report, but I was rambling on and on and decided to split it up into a 2-parter. This is basically the story of how I started running, and you'll find the race report itself where it belongs - in the racing forum.


    The half-marathon distance has been in my mind for some time, seeing how my distances progressed since I started running a little less than 2 years ago. But with the ITBS issues I had earlier this year, I didn't think it would be possible for me to run a half in 2010.


    This year didn't start too well, with an injury that started to bother me in late December 2009, at which point I took about 2 months off. When I tried running again, the pain was still there, so I started seeing a physio, who really helped me recover through treatments and a stretching and gradual return to running. The biggest thing she did for me however was tell me to 1) shorten my stride to allow for a cadence of 180 steps/minute and 2) switch to lighter shoes. I feel these 2 changes combined, especially the shorter strides allowed me to run injury free.


    In May I was able to run a 5k, and I started increasing my mileage gradually from there... except for a dumb jump from 5 to more than 10k in late June which kept me off the road for another month. When I got back into it, late July, I was 100%, and really started running smarter, increasing my mileage gradually, changing it up once in a while – doing intervals or hills once in a while, without overdoing it. A few friends and I decided to register for a 12k trail race taking place September 25th. On race morning, the RD announced that the loop, which we had to run twice, was 6,75km... which makes for a 13,5km run... Hmmm... in the end, I managed to finish it in a 1:48 (winner ran it in 1:12). All 3 friends I was with dropped after 1 lap...


    On the road back home I was telling my friend I might as well register for the Fall Colours Half which was 2 weeks from that day, as I had just ran for a friggin hour and 48 minutes, and I had been telling myself the before attempting a half, I wanted to be pretty certain I could do better than 2h. So I would go and run on the next Sunday, the registration deadline for the Fall Colours to see what I could do. I went and ran my longest run ever at that point, 16k, in under 1:30 without pushing. I registered for the race that night. I ran twice that week, short distances and easy, to keep the legs loose and fresh...


    Actual race report here


      Can you tell me a little about your ITBS issue?  I think I am developing this problem.  Dd you wear any braces or any products to help it?  Thanks

        Sure. It started with pain in my knee, to the left of and below the kneecap.  It was a sharp pain that occured once, 500m during a run, with no warning.  I stopped, wondering what that was, and then kept going, completing my 5k lunchtime run with nothing more than a discomfort... but maybe an hour after, walking was painful and going down stairs was even worse.  The pain diminished with time, after maybe 1-2 weeks walking and using stairs was ok, but I couldn't run more than 250m.  I took over a month off running.  On the next run, I went a few Kms, but then the pain was as bad as the first time.


        The phyiso i went to see after that diagnosed it as a mixture of ITBS and some patellofemoral pain syndrome, with ITBS being the main culprit.


        As I said, she did some massaging pushing hard with her forearm on the side of my leg, and gave me a few exercises (step down), stretching - look up IT band stretching on google, you'll find a few good ones.  


        But the main things were:

        Gradual return through a walk/run program.  That was a chore following that program...

        Getting minimal neutral shoes (Mizuno Wave Ronin)

        Shorter, quicker strides - 180 steps/minute.  The fact I transitionned to that new form, and to the new shoes while doing the run/walk program made it easier than if I had tried to do that while running regularly.


        I've been running injury free since May, I try to stretch once in a while, but in all honesty I only rarely do...


        Hope this helps you!