After my difficult run Wednesday, I was a bit worried to see what would happen the next time I laced my runners up. Originally on Friday, Emily and I were supposed to complete an 8 K run outside, but life's circumstances got in the way and I just went back to the gym to pound it out on the treadmill. Emily was not able to come with me, but my husband signed up for the gym and he came along. Even though we weren't necessarily doing the same thing, it was nice to know that someone else was there with me.
I started my workout with a five minute brisk walk. I didn't want to risk my calves cramping again. I bumped the treadmill up and ran for a good 2 kilometres at about 9 kilometres an hour before I realised the cramping in my calves had been caused by running faster than I'm ready to. I completed 2 K in less than 14 minutes and even though I was starting to hurt pretty badly, I was proud of myself. I didn't want to stop though and so just turned the speed down to about 8.5 and I was able to carry on to the five K mark with hardly any problems. When the treadmill beeped at me and slowed itself down, indicating my warm down period, I was shocked. I felt as if I could have kept running. This in and of itself also surprised me. That was the first time I've actually felt that way. As I've mentioned before, I am not a runner, but I feel as though with training I could become one; at least enough of one to complete the running leg of the triathlon successfully. I always thought running would be a struggle and to get to a point where it actually felt good and as if I could keep going was extremely gratifying.
On the walk home I began thinking about how I had felt and realised that I was ready to kick my running training up a notch. I had finally reached a level where I could actually maintain some kind of running at a half way decent pace; at least half way decent for a beginner. In order to improve even more, I needed a plan; I needed workouts that would push me without fatiguing me so much that I landed on the couch for a few days with seized muscles. Upon arriving home, I browsed the internet for running workouts that would be beneficial to triathlon training. I was overwhelmed at the number of articles published for that purpose and was having difficulty discerning between articles that were actually good quality workouts and ones that were not beneficial.
As a retired swimmer, I can usually look at a water workout and understand its purpose. From there, I can make an educated decision of whether or not I should use it. My knowledge of running is so limited that I was not able to pick a regiment for the next couple of weeks that would get me to where I want to be in three to four weeks. With that in mind, I made three appointments with the gym to discuss running sessions with a personal trainer and also emailed a friend who is currently training for the 2012 Paralympic Games scheduled to be held in London. He is a long distance runner and I hoped that he could at least point me in the right direction.
When his response came back, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had not only given me some useful information, but had also given me some workouts for the next three weeks. They all seem doable and although I may have to do some tweaking with some of the lengthier runs, as I am not sure I can run for 70 minutes straight yet, I was, and am incredibly grateful for the guidance.
On top of all this, I also found out, from a Canadian athlete currently training for triathlon, that "the powers that be" have decided that Para (athletes with disabilities) will compete in sprint triathlons as opposed to Olympic distance events. This means that the distances for all three legs of the race are reduced by half; 750 metres for the swim, 20 kilometres for the bike and 5 kilometres for the run. Personally, I'd still like to complete an Olympic distance triathlon-1.5 K swim, 40 K bike and 10 K run-but knowing that I am now training seriously for a Sprint triathlon changes things a bit.
Today I head to the gym, armed with new running workouts thanks to a friend and a new perspective on what I need to accomplish to reach the Paralympic Games in 2016. As I have said a million times before and will probably keep saying, I have a lot of work to do still, but things are moving right along. Besides, if I ever feel that I do not have any more work to do then I should probably stop training for a triathlon. The point of competitive sport is to always strive for improvement and if I feel there isn't any more room for improvement, then I am probably ready to retire.