Monday, June 20, 2011

Taking the Path

I've always been a road runner. When I started running and as I trained for the marathon, I mostly ran on the roads in Central Park and along the West Side Highway. The main reason for this is that I wanted to know how far I was running, as I followed my training schedule, and mileage for the loops in Central Park is well known. I don't have a watch with GPS, so it was crucial to run measured routes (or routes I could measure on Map My Run or Daily Mile). When we moved Downtown, I took to running sidewalks along the streets, along the West Side Highway and on the esplanade in Batter Park City. I chose these routes because nothing else is available down here.

After my latest run-in with injury, I had to change things up. I want to run and I don't want to re-injure myself as I train for some upcoming races. Asphalt, concrete and brick are obviously very hard on us as miles add up. I need to switch things up and not run on these surfaces all the time. So, I've been making a point of going up to Central Park to run on the bridle path over the last month that I've been back to running.

Here's a funny story (but you can't tell Woody I told you this!). For my first post-injury run, Woody agreed to join me in Central Park for a short run on the bridle path. Along the way he asked about the name of the path because he thought the fact that it is packed dirt and gravel was weird. Turned out, he thought it was bridAL path, not briDLE path! He thought it was weird because the brides dresses would get dirty!! Apparently he thought back in the day, when the park was designed and built, that it had something to do with brides and grooms. He was very relieved to find out the truth! haha! For once I felt like I actually knew something about NYC that he didn't know! (he's one of those guys who can store and recall millions of obscure facts in an instant).

Running on the bridle path is quite different from my usual runs because I find that I have to concentrate a lot more on the actual path. I may be alone on this because I'm such a klutz and can trip on carpet, but I'm always looking out for where I'm stepping. The rocks, crevices, puddles and sticks are obstacles I constantly find myself zig-zagging to avoid. Saturday during my run I figured I probably covered an extra 0.25 miles along the way, but it was okay because I know alternating the surfaces that I run on is good for me in the end.

Central Park road

Battery Park City Esplanade

Central Park bridle path

Do you often get caught up in completing a training run exactly as it's scheduled in your plan? While I don't have a training plan right now and am just running to get in some mileage and enjoy time outside, I found myself pushing through a little knee pain on Saturday because I felt I 'had to' finish the route I had set out on. Thankfully, my inner voice kicked my butt into reality and I realized that there was absolutely no reason why I needed to or should run through an ache. (I want to stress here that it was my knee, not my leg, that was aching. I haven't had any trouble where I fractured my leg!) I slowed down and instead of pushing up a hill I walked it and a few minutes later I picked up the pace a little, felt worlds better and finished running strong. I wasn't racing. I was just out for a run, by myself. Things happen on a run, some days our legs feel like lead, sometimes light as feathers. Sometimes our hip aches or we get a cramp in our side. The trick is to learn how to deal with these things as they come and enjoy the workout and the results. While I had to walk for a minute, I finished the run strong and feel like I'm doing well with my recovery. There are definitely reasons to push ourselves, because if we don't, we'll never run longer or farther than we did today, but sometimes it's best to pull back and let our body overrule our head!

After I finished the run I took some time to walk around and stretch, then I made my way over to Argo Tea. It seems I've picked up a post-run habit that involves their ginger peach iced tea after my runs! It's a great way to re-hydrate and cool down for the subway trip back downtown!
  • Have you ever pushed yourself a little too hard during a run?
  • Do you have any post-run habits?
  • What was the best thing about this past weekend?
Saturday's workout -
~4.75mile run

Sunday's workout -
45min elliptical
2x14 leg curl
2x16 leg extension
2x20 hammer curl
2x18 weighted side bend
2x20 upright row

Today's workout -
35min elliptical
100 crunches
3x15 hanging reverse crunch
2x20 leg press
2x20 cable push-down
2x10 standing twists
2x16 front arm raise


Raquelita said...

You have so many great places to run that I'm a little jealous! I'm glad to read that you took it easy when you had some knee troubles.

B.o.B. said...

I am also jealous about your awesome run locations! Too funny about the briDAL path. LOL! Great workouts. Way to keep healthy and uninjured. :)

mealsformiles said...

I'm glad you listened to your knee and slowed down! I'm not so great at that either, but I'm learning.

I love the bridle path and Argo tea!

evillager said...

Post-race habit: waffles and bacon from Gene's Coffee Shop on 60th btw Park and Madison. Try it!

Julie D. said...

So fun! I will run in central park someday!! Yes, I get hung up on training plans, probably why I haven't committed to one recently. Good for you for slowing it down.