Sunday, April 24, 2011

Success - Three Hour Run

The post before this one talked about my attempt to do a 3 hour run that had to be called off after 2 hours due to severe discomfort in my legs. Yesterday I tried the same route again and this time I succeeded. Well, to be precise, I finished almost 15 minutes ahead of time so the actual run was only 2 hours 45 minutes. However, this is good enough to pave the way for longer runs that will have to be done in the coming months.

This is how it went.

The summer sun is already out in all its harshness so the idea was to end the run before it became too hot. I started running at 5.15 while it was still dark and took the same route as my last attempt. This time I made sure that I was running much slower and that seemed to have helped a lot. My shoes are breaking in quite well and I also discovered the cause of discomfort the first time around – the gradual but steady incline. The slope on the route is pretty gradual and one hardly notices it. However, if your gait does not adjust for the incline, it will wreak havoc on your joints and muscles – and this is exactly what had happened last time.

Much wiser this time around, I paid special attention to how my foot was falling on the ground and ensured that my speed was as slow as possible. After running for one and a half hour, I turned around at 6.45 am feeling a bit tired but otherwise fine. By this time, I had settled into a good rhythm and had been running in stretches of 8 minutes interspersed with one minute walk-breaks.

However, by the end of the second hour, the exhaustion was mounting quickly. I had to reduce my running to stretches of 5 minutes and at times I cheated by taking walk breaks of longer than a minute. The last couple of kilometers were really bad and I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. However, I had enough in me to make sure that I kept running all the way to the point where I had started from. Makes me feel happy.

I finished the run a little after 8, meaning that I had been able to shave off almost 15 minutes. Maybe it was on account of the downward slope on my way back or maybe it was that I had settled into a good rhythm without realizing it which helped me finish sooner. I guess it was a combination of both factors.

Had a hearty breakfast as soon as I reached home and then just crashed. It was more than two hours later that I was able to come back to life. Ate like a pig the whole day long and more than compensated for any calories that I may have burned during the run.

One very good thing that I noticed that there was very little soreness in my legs and I was able to walk without much pain all day. If this is on account of my relatively new Asics shoes, I am thrilled.

Plan to hit the treadmill at least twice during the week for speed training and will run for an hour round the lake next weekend. This was a good run.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Give Up

Last Saturday was a disaster. I did something that I don’t remember doing before as far as running is concerned.

I gave up.

Here are the gory details.

I had just bought a new pair of shoes. Asics. I had been on Reeboks for the past several years but had heard a lot about Asics. Also, the sales guy at the Reebok store was a complete asshole who did not have a clue about running.


So, this Saturday, I wake up early in the morning, get ready and slip on my brand new running shoes. When I hit the road at around 5.15, I notice a very light drizzle and a cool breeze blowing. Fantastic weather, I say to myself and look forward to the run.

This would have been the first long run in this year ever since I declared my intentions to run the full marathon in January 2012. The plan was to run for 3 hours. And this was not something terribly outrageous; I had already run 21 km in 2 hrs 40 minutes some years ago so I was not scared of the 3 hour run at all.

Within fifteen minutes of starting I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and had to sit down. I took off the shoes and put them on again trying to adjust the tightness of the fit. This seemed to have helped since I did not have any more problems. At least for the first half of the run.

As planned, I kept running till I had been running for 1 ½ hours and then turned back towards home. By then, I started having a very bad fatigue-like pain in my right hip. On top of that, the arches of my soles were in a lot of pain. My new shoes have a little bit of arch support and I guess my feet were not accustomed to this.

Anyways, I kept going, increasing the duration of the walk-breaks and running for shorter periods. However, it kept getting worse and I decided to call it quits. Hailed an auto and drove back home.

I did not last for more than 2 hours.

While there is still some soreness in my legs I think it is more of getting used to my new shoes. Tomorrow is a holiday and I might try a shorter one hour run to see how things go. If I get used to these new shoes then great, otherwise I will have to go to that Reebok store and buy another pair of shoes.


Needless to say, shoes are pretty important. I have used Reeboks for most of my running life; getting great value for money at the factory price outlets. I also tried Adidas once which were good but not as good as the Reeboks.

Shoes last for around 600 kms and need to be discarded after they have run the distance. During my early days, I didn’t know any better and my middle class mentality pushed me to keep going on the old shoes.

As a result, I have invited pain in my legs several times in the past – which fortunately went away each time I changed my shoes. Once I had developed a pea sized knot in my left heel that was so painful that I could not put my barefoot on the ground. Another time I got a good case of shin splits - the shin area starts hurting a lot in the place where the bone and the muscles meet. Very, very painful. But it went away after I took some rest and changed my shoes.

Eager to find out what the new Asics will do to my legs and feet. Will I get used to them? Or will I be forced to change?

Time will tell.