I’ve been waiting to talk more about my knee until I felt as though I was (mostly) recovered (partially also not to jinx it, of course!), but after two fantastic outdoor runs this weekend, it felt like the perfect time.
What I’ve learned so far?
Patience is a freaking virtue. I hate to admit it, because it was incredibly difficult at first. Despite this injury being relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, and of knee injuries generally, I consider myself extremely fortunate that it’s really only taken about three months since the pain first started (December) through physical therapy (starting in January for 8 weeks) to being back to running almost as regularly as before.
Leg strength and those PT exercises really do work wonders. I actually really enjoyed going to physical therapy and learning where I have some weaknesses (a little in my hips, left quad only [odd!] mainly) and how to work those areas, and the opposing areas to strengthen and improve my legs overall. While I went into this thinking my legs are strong – and they are – knowing that there are small areas of weakness that, with a little strengthening daily, really REALLY makes a big difference!).
Slow and steady wins the race. Okay, that statement never quite made sense to me in the literal sense, BUT, this approach has really helped me a) not get frustrated that I am not back where I was endurance, distance and speed-wise as before and b) steadily work my way back to 3-4 runs per week (4 has not quite happened yet, but that’s also due to teaching a lot of classes lately each week – wheeee – and I am trying to be smart about it and not overdo it!) and steadily increase my pace. Not that speed is important to me, because it is not, but I lost a lot of my ‘regular’ treadmill pace in those months of not running and I am realistic in knowing it’ll take time to get back.
What did my outdoor runs this weekend teach me?
I feel so much more satisfied running outside than on the (dread)mill. Even though my runs were shorter, about 3.5 miles each, my legs just felt so much more worked than when I run on the mill. I LOVE that feeling. Absolutely adore it. Every area of my quads, glutes, hammies and shins felt it. I am sorer today as a result and ya know what? That hurts so good. THAT is what I missed about running on the mill this winter and not running at all. I LOVE that feeling.
My legs feel stronger and sturdier post-PT. I was amazed at how much stronger I felt as I ran. Saturday I ran for the first time with a (soon to be!) instructor at barre n9ne (she is another 60 day transformation story – check her story here, side note/plug!!) and it just felt like a good run (sans one side cramp). Happy, not stressy or hard in a bad way (struggling way). Sunday, I ran with M post teaching at the studio, and the run felt amazing. Every stride felt good. I didn’t feel tempted to stop at a few spots I usually do on the route we took. Strong and sturdy. Slow and steady. Wins the race. (see, I guess that statement does work…hehe)
And I can’t wait to run outside more, more, more!! After only running once outside before this in 2013 (gah!), with this girl (kindred!), it’s making me itch for more outdoor runs. The more, the better. Consistency will be key for me now. Come onnnnn spring!!
On that note, I hope you all had a great weekend…we certainly did, much more to share on that soon, but lest I jinx myself, I shall leave it at that ;-)