Sunday, 13 February 2011

I just went on a run for the first time in over a year!

I had given it up for a while at least because of the pain in my left knee, but on my bicycle on my way to visit a friend in Germany the other day, I saw some people jogging on a path in the forest, which looked like it had something on it to make it quite cushy - I thought woodchips but it turns out to be sand and leaves. Today Alex asked if I wanted to go along with him on a short run, so I said yes, as long as we sought out this path. We found it very easily and it's a 500m loop - very nice. Towards the end of the fifth loop I started to feel a bit of aggravation in my knee, and called it a day, but I think I shall give it a try again soon (and invest in some better shoes, and stretch out my hamstrings properly before even leaving the house). Nothing quite beats a runner's high, especially before a concert where some really exceptionally long notes are involved... that would be the trombone cantus firmus this afternoon!


  1. Some unsolicited advice from someone who's been there and done that with the knee pain thing.

    1) Yes, get some good shoes, and the sooner the better. And make sure you change them every 600-800 km.

    2) Take things REALLY slowly. Stupid slow. In the beginning, you will improve your cardio fitness faster than you build muscle mass and ligament strength, so at first you'll feel like you can do a lot more, but your body isn't ready. Follow the ten-percent rule (never do more than 10% more than your previous longest run, and never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%). Don't run two days in a row for at least the first year.

    3). Look into getting some custom orthotics (if you don't already have some). If you have a knee alignment problem, they will help to correct it. They're expensive, but they basically freed me from having to run with a knee brace.

    4) Everyone's different, but stretching before a workout (i.e., stretching cold muscles) is generally frowned upon nowadays. You can actually do yourself more harm than good. If you really feel the need to stretch before a run, warm up with some very light jogging for 10 minutes first, then stop and stretch. Stretching afterward is fine, but you should never stretch a muscle so you feel even a little pain. Most people tend to over-stretch. Be very gentle. Personally, I only stretch, even after a run, if I feel stiff somewhere. Most of the time I don't stretch at all, even after. But as I said, we're all different. Lots of runners I know swear by stretching after a run.

    5) I think I've recommended ChiRunning (Danny Dreyer) before. Great book for improving your form. The first few chapters are a little touchy-feely, but the chapters on technique are solid.

    And as always, if you want to solicit some advice, I'm always happy to help. Hope you can keep at it. IMO, the feeling after a solid run is right up there with the post-concert high.

  2. Oh, also, EXTREME envy here of your getting to play a Bach cantata, and with my favourite soprano, no less.

  3. Thanks, Peter for the useful advice! I did spend some of my globe dosh this summer on some orthotics, but I haven't tried them running yet. The change in angle of my foot seems to aggravate a neuroma between my toe bones - how very complicated.

    On Thursday my knee started to go haywire so I haven't even touched my bike in a day - delayed reaction? I'm sure it's a combination of things...but yes, when I do try it again I will make sure to take your advice into account.

    And yes, it is a treat to play Bach with your favourite soprano!