How to run 15 miles
I never thought I'd say it, but I actually ran 15 miles in one go. This was an inconceivable feat for me just one year ago. I want to share with you how I did it.
I didn't wake up and simply bang out 15 miles like I was Forrest Gump. I started at one mile, meaning I ran 0.5 miles away from my home, and then turned back to go home. I kept doing that for about a week or so until I worked up the nerve to run 0.75 miles away from my home- 1.5 miles total!! After reaching the 3 mile mark, I realized running wasn’t so bad. I started to tack on 1 extra mile every week. Slowly and surely, I got to my 15 miles.
I learned several things about my body along the way, and it can all be boiled down to one word:
Stretch. Your. Body. Every. Single. Day.
One year ago, if you asked me how I felt about stretching, I'd give lip service to how important it is. But deep down inside, I felt like Allen Iverson. I'm out there dying for my sport, and we talking about stretching, man. Not a race. Stretching.
But as any good Coach Carter will tell us, that's what we should be talking about. Stretching. Every single day. Maybe I got away with zero stretching 10 years because I was invincible in my 20's. But now, there is no way I will run with my best efficiency without stretching. There is no way I can recover quickly enough for the next run without stretching. And as the miles racked up, I found that it's simply better to stretch every morning and every evening no matter how (in)active I decide to be on that day. Sounds like a lot. So does brushing my teeth twice a day. But I get it done.
What am I stretching:
I didn't start stretching all of those muscle groups all at once. It was all gradual. When something was aching, I went online and tried to figure out how to overcome it. So yes, it all hurts now. Unless I stretch.
Some other pearls I figured out:
-if there's ankle pain, the calves probably need stretching
-foam rolling is really nice.
-which means actually massages are probably super nice. I should try it.
-the knee is super complicated. This was the best website I found on the matter: https://www.knee-pain-explained.com/
There is another potential principle that might turn out to be true based on some hard personal experience- that there is such a thing as overstretching or stretching too aggressively. What the heck!! So as much as we know we should be stretching/practicing, perhaps even that should be in moderation. But if moderation was what we wanted, we wouldn't be running for 15 miles.