struggling with running

Everyone has their reason for running. Some for physical and mental wellbeing, others are motivated by PBs (personal bests) and races.  I used to be motivated by the latter. Training involved long runs, intense speed work, hills etc. I was younger, had a bit more time and a lot more energy. Race results were great!

Nowadays I’m fortunate enough to father 3 young children and while it’s a load of fun, they are slowly killing me :/ Some days everything hurts! Back, neck, shoulder, hip, calf, Achilles you name it. There’s less sleep, more lifting, inconsistent diet, no rest, no warm up, no warm down and it’s caught up with me.  When I come in from a run, there’s no ice, roll, stretch, eat, drink – I’m straight on the floor to change a nappy, or do bath time. By the time I’ve dressed three kids and broken up 12 fights, my hip flexors are locked tight.

It takes longer to recover after all that. I was managing roughly 24 km per week over four runs but was struggling. 

Time to change tack

I’ve now decided to run 20 minutes, every day. Straight out the door. No messing around with hydration or gels, no waiting for Bluetooth headphones to sync. I just go – I’m out and back before my kids know I’m gone! I’m running 28 km per week now, which is actually four kilometres more than previously, but I recover much quicker. I’m talking about my muscles, tendons and bones taking less stress but still getting the same cardiovascular benefits. It’s win, win. 

If I decided to cram all of those 28 km into one or two runs, that would significantly increase load on my lower limbs, increasing injury risk. Spreading them out over seven runs is working for me, and a similar approach could work for you. If you are a less experienced runner, even 10 minutes per day could add up to 10 to14 km per week – that’s a decent amout!

How a running program can help

Those who are training for events and races will need a different and more structured approach. If you need help designing a running program, do reach out to us as we design plans from 5 km to ultra marathon distances. Those who are brand new or returning from a long break may need less, perhaps a run/walk program to give your body time to adapt. 

If you need help with your running volume, it’s always best to speak to a professional and get something tailored to your individual needs. 

How have you managed you running volume as your life has changed? Are you running more or less? Run smart I say. 

Yours in running,

Phil de Mestre
Sports Podiatrist – Running Science