Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Running is the devil. It hurts people.

As I sit here with ice on my shins, I’m reflecting back to the past few months. I’ve been so emotionally drained because I’m pushing myself physically and yet, still, I cannot run for 3 minutes straight. I’ve been doing this since January. Swimming, biking and trying to run. I’ve surpassed my swimming and biking goals easily. Yet I’m stuck on running. I’ve tried the Couch to 5K program in the past and haven’t been able to move past week 3 because I can’t get up to running for 3 minutes straight. So in beginning this triathlon journey I decided to follow a triathlon plan and work on the running that way. It didn’t work. So I switched to other running plans. I tried running drills, I tried short intervals for longer periods of time, I tried everything I could think of, but I just couldn’t get this running thing done. Finally I decided to give Couch to 5K another chance. I worked my way up through week 2 and I felt strong and confident that maybe I could do this. I had been building up endurance and strength in other areas since January, and now I needed to work on the running. Finally, I hit week 3 and even though I knew I hadn’t been able to do it in the past, I felt confident. Until I tried it again. I’ve tried Week 3, day 1 three times now. I told myself I wasn’t going to go past a day that I couldn’t complete and go about it at my own pace, but that I’d keep to the schedule so that I didn’t do too much too fast and get hurt.

Well guess what. I’m hurt. Last night I went for a walk with my mom and dogs, but decided to do a few running intervals up and down the side streets of our complex. I started having shin pain and had to walk most of the time. Tonight, I tried Week 3 day 1 again and couldn’t run for more than 45 seconds before I had to walk due to the pain in my shins. First, I had a hissy-fit and flailed my arms, stomped my foot (which made my shin hurt more) then cried "Why the hell can't I just DO this?". Finn looked at me curiously, probably wondering if I was talking to him or myself. Then I re-grouped, because now I was crying in public and I tried doing a speed-walker shuffle/pee-pee dance run-walk thing. That alleviated the pain and I was going faster than my normal walking, but it’s still not running. And I’m sure I looked wicked cool. Seriously, just try and picture it.

I started thinking about why I’m having shin pain now, after 6 months of trying this running stuff and I think I’ve found the culprit. Pavement. I’ve done almost all of my training up until now on the treadmill. Besides my 5K races, I haven’t been outside at all before Week 2 day 3 of Couch to 5K. Even though I’m completely discouraged, and pissed off that I can’t do this, I’m not a quitter and I will complete this.

I have two options right now. I can continue my training on the treadmill and finish the couch to 5K program on the treadmill and then transition to pavement after I know I can run for 30+ minutes straight. Or, I can start over. Week 1, Day 1 on the pavement and build up that way. I'm seriously torn between the two. Both have pros and cons. Your thoughts?

Either way right now I need to take a few days off of running so my shins can stop hurting. I also need to be stretching more. Maybe take a few yoga classes like I keep talking about to get myself more limber. 

But no matter what I decide, I will never quit. Quitting is a weakness and I’m way too proud for that bullshit.

By the way, don’t forget to check out my “What’s in a Name” contest. It ends on Friday night. Hurry up and enter, because as it stands, Jenn and Richelle are winning by default as they have the only entries! And really with so few entries your odds of winning are huge! 


  1. First off, rest those shins. Second, how fast are you trying to run that you can't get to three minutes straight? Maybe you need to slow down? Third - shoes. How old are your shoes...maybe you need new ones. Fourth - I'm sorry you're having such frustrations with running!

  2. When I was on the treadmill I was running at 5 mph. Outside, my garmin shows that I'm averaging about 12 min/mile or around there. I think it's about the same. On slight declines, I would get up to 6.5 mph according to the garmin. The past 2 days, haven't been good. more like shuffling and way slower than the 12 min/mile pace I've been doing - closer to 17 min/mile when running. I don't think I can go any slower!

    I had my shoes fitted to me in February or March, and although I haven't really been keeping track of the miles, I know it hasn't been many. And I've only been wearing them for training. I've done four 5Ks, so that's 12 miles. and usually less than 2 miles per workout. In April and May combined, I did 36 miles and that's including those 5Ks. I doubt I've even hit 50 mies with them. I just bought a new pair of the same shoe a few weeks ago, but I haven't worn them yet. Do you really think with the small milage I've used them for that I'd need to use the new ones already?

  3. Hi Sara! I'm so sorry for all the frustrations you are having with running. :( I give you so much credit for sticking with it. Stay focused - your body HAS to come around eventually! I hope your shins feel better soon in the mean time!

    I hope to get a post up soon with my core/strength routine - it's kind of random so hard to give a simple answer.

  4. Thank you, Marlene. And I definitely look forward to your core/strength routine post!!

  5. There's nothing wrong with doing intervals. A friend of mine ran the Stillwater Marathon in 2009 doing intervals and he looked great at the end. I'd recommend going to a different running store to see what shoes they'd put you in and test those out. I wouldn't be surprised if it's your shoes that are causing your problems.

  6. Here's a good article:

    I would definitely think about the shoes. It's possible that they're not the best ones for you. Or it might be good to try a shock absorbing insole. That helped me a lot when I switched from treadmill to pavement.

    Also look at your form. Where are you landing on your foot? If on your toes or heels, that could be the cause of the pain. You really want to try to land on the mid foot. Consider your posture too. I know when I was watching you come in to the finish line at the beach 5k, you seemed to be leaning back a lot. Of course this was the very end of the race and you were tired, but still something to watch for, as leaning back goes against the physics of running. (Ha! Listen to me trying to sound like an expert. Just don't watch me run. I know what I'm *supposed* to do but my form is still horrible!)

  7. Sara, the form has been a big thing for me. I have been doing treadmill running when I need to (like you, around 5 mph, but as the time increased I lowered it to 4.8, and even 4.6 to get through an interval). I am definitely a heel striker, though, and have been consciously working on developing a midfoot strike. That has helped a lot.

    I don't know if it's an issue with me being such a newbie runner, but I have a hard time believing shoes can be such an issue for a run lasting all of a minute or two.

    Oh, the trainer at the gym had me doing a bunch of squats - supported ones, on ropes, and one leg at a time. One leg up on a rope, do a squat with the other leg. That seemed to be about when the pain stopped, so maybe look at adding some kind of extra training might help?

    I know exactly how you feel. I'm still trying (today will be my 3rd try) to get through week 3. Doesn't seem like 3 minutes should be that hard, but my God! I see people running down the street and going for *blocks* non-stop, and I want to be able to do THAT!


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