Walk before run: it’s the natural progression of things. Before running was ever a blip on my radar, I walked. I enjoyed getting out there for brisk strides around my neighborhood, and I always liked walking in cities or downtown areas or even parks for the air, movement and change of scenery.
Now, with my mind and rehab focused on running, walking is back on the table, and I am here for it.
When I had my last appointment with the surgeon, he told me I was clear for the (non-spin) bike, the elliptical and swimming. I was, by no means, to attempt walking for exercise.
As the weeks passed, however, the idea of walking at all became easier and more reasonable. I was able to walk without crutches, then without a boot, and now I can even walk around without my brace. Some days, it’s just incredibly uncomfortable and I feel stable enough without it, so I skip it (the surgeon said that was ok, too).
My PTs and I are working on some fundamentals, but the treadmill hadn’t made an appearance in my sessions yet. I know it’s important not to rush things, but walking has been on my mind.
In order to graduate to a place where I can walk before run, I’ve been spending lots of time on my dorsiflexion (as I’ve mentioned), strength, and balance. I repeat exercises at home to reinforce what I’m learning in therapy, and build as often as I feel comfortable.
On Sunday, we took a family trip to a nearby venue to hunt for Pokemon and get some fresh air. There is a half mile path around a beautiful lake, and Mr. PugRunner forged ahead while little man and I caught critters, visited gyms, and did battle. After one lap, I told Mr. PugRunner that I wanted to go again, but this time, with purpose.
I turned on my Garmin, for the first time in forever, and we set out.
The effort was not entirely in vain. While my pace was dismal, I didn’t get winded (which has been a concern), and paid close attention to taking even steps and not limping or dragging my injured leg. At the time, I was not wearing my brace, so I had to be extra mindful of rocks and twigs. All in all, it was a solid effort, and I felt decent when I stopped my watch.
On Monday, I shared with the PT what I had done, and she said that was just fine. I was extra motivated and felt like I doubled my efforts that day. I pressed more weight on the shuttle, and I finally balanced on my right foot for 23 seconds (they are looking for 30, but 15-17 has been my limit).
Tuesday morning, rather than going to the gym and griping at the elliptical, I decided to try again. I picked a goal landmark and hit the road (brace on, this time). Again, I focused on even weight distribution and not dragging. I could feel my efforts just slightly on the inside of my ankle, as well as in my right hip and my right glute.
But, oh, when I was finished… I can’t quite describe that happiness. I totaled 1.2 miles for the outing, and it was about the best day since the surgeon took off my boot.
Things feel rather real now. I am going to keep this up, as best I can. I’m almost halfway to my goal distance, but I don’t want to neglect the rest of my leg. The atrophy has left it a little weak. There’s an opportunity to relearn my running without some of my bad habits (limited strength training, lack of attention to my weak hip, etc) and I want to take advantage.
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Have you ever had to relearn how to walk or run?
Do you have any bad habits with running or exercise?