The Runner’s Life
Do you remember when you made up your mind to give running a try and realized you actually liked it? You decided to keep running and along the journey resolved to enter a race. From there, you entered more races, trained for longer distances and made personal time goals to beat.
Then Boom! Because of training frequency, duration, or intensity, you were slapped with injury. You put mind over matter and determined to run through the pain. You lived with it, or are living with it now, as a chronic running injury. Sometimes you’re forced to rest for weeks or entire training seasons at a time. Still, you keep training hard, going longer distances, and you continue to treat the pain without solving the problem of injury.
Mike, member of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway Training Group, has experienced all of the above in his running journey, but has done one thing differently. Mike found a way to get rid of the pain. And he plans to stay injury free.
In 1999, while living in England and working as a mechanical engineer, Mike decided to start running because he wanted and needed some type of exercise he could do easily. “A pair of shoes are easier than a gym membership” Mike says.
I like running. I like exercising. It feels awesome to run. It feels even better afterwards.
When Mike first started running, he made the classic beginner runner mistake that so many of us make. He didn’t pace himself, ran too hard, and built up too much lactic acid, essentially going too fast for the shape he was in at the time. Mike recalled that his first half mile out of the door was always his fastest time, and he never ran beyond 4 miles at a time.
After 7 years of on and off running and a move back to the US, Mike registered for his first race–the Mora (Minnesota) Half Marathon. Although a half marathon is an ambitious undertaking for any runner, Mike admits to compressing the training schedule into 8 weeks. Imagine the amount of physical stress he put on his body. By going beyond the suggested 10% mileage increase each week, Mike’s legs were “jelly” by the time he and his wife/training partner reached the 8- and 10-mile training runs.
The week we did 12 or 12.5, we couldn’t move the rest of the day.
If Mike’s running experience isn’t sounding familiar yet, maybe this will. After years of conditioning the body to train too hard with a stride that landed his heel too far in front of him, the physical stress took a toll and Mike was slammed with injury. For three years, he suffered with debilitating shin splints.
If you’ve ever experienced shin splints, you know that ice and rest are completely temporary treatments. The moment you start to run again, you’re experiencing pain that feels like the muscle in front of your lower leg is being ripped away from your bone.
Instead of a runner’s life stacked with chronic shin splints, Mike made two tremendous changes.
Mike explained how watching the natural running videos by Newton and switching to the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk/Run training method saved his running life.
I heard about Newton somehow. That was the first time I heard about this natural running thing. Everything they said made sense, engineering-wise. Watching the videos made sense to me. After years went by, I heard more about Galloway and how it was a good injury free method and for recovery. Everything was pointing to making it easier on my body because I was putting my legs through too much.
No More Jelly Legs
Over the last year, Mike has concentrated on changing his stride by landing with his feet directly underneath his body while incorporating the Jeff Galloway training method. Things have been going so well that currently, he’s training for the Red, White & Boom! TC Half Marathon with the Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway Training Group. After our 9.5-mile group run, Mike said, “I felt awesome for the rest of the day.”
These days, Mike has one long term goal: not getting injured again. When I asked him about his short term goals, particularly for the upcoming half marathon he said, “I’m just happy to stay injury free.”
Mike also says that one day he’d like to train for a full marathon. For now he prefers to spend his free time with his young daughters. He and his wife, who also runs half and full marathons using the Jeff Galloway method, are raising a family of future runners. Both of their daughters recently completed a 2k race at the Apple Blossom races in Hastings, Minnesota.
Does Mike’s runner’s life inspire you to begin running or to make changes in your training method? Well, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway Training Groups has training sessions available in the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon distances. New sessions begin in June! Join us and learn how to live the rest of your runner’s life injury free!
Join us for a FREE run! We run as a group every Saturday morning at 8:00am at various locations throughout the Twin Cities. Fill out our contact form and receive information on where our next run will be.