ORN: 3 miles, 31:41, R4/W1, 10:34/mile
One of the most enjoyable things about running is how it teaches. I’ve learned more in the past four months with this persistent ITB hassle than ever; more about my anatomy, more about myself. This week was a prime example.
In my professional life, I am responsible for driving process excellence in our company. My other blog, Learning about Lean, describes my implementation of the Toyota Production System. Central to the TPS is W. Edward Demming’s famous PDCA cycle, for Plan-Do-Check-Adjust. It is a simple, systematic and phenomenally effective way to learn anything.
Therefore, it is not surprising I apply a similar perspective to running. I’ve described here (in painful detail…sorry) the effort to recover from the injury. This past week is the first full week of running I’ve had since mid-November. The plan called for Monday 3; Wednesday 2, Thursday 3 and Saturday, 3.
Monday’s run went OK. The 2 miler on Wednesday was tough…I couldn’t complete the run. Then came Thursday; I knew a week ago running two days in a row would be a test and I was right about that. Thursday’s run was awful…I could not even run one mile. Not one. I was yelping in pain just past the half mile marker. I turned around and walked home, hurting. It was a true low point in the past three years of running. My leg ached the rest of the day, a constant reminder of the injury. To say this was discouraging would be an understatement. It seemed as if nothing at all had changed since last October.
Therefore, my planned 3 miler for today was a big mental challenge for me. After morning errands and 3 hours at work (yeah, working on processes), my leg hurt. I decided to stick with the plan and thus went out into the 20mph wind at 30 degrees pleased to be outside but unsure how the leg would hold up.
I tried two new things on today’s run. First, I went to an extreme Run/Walk ratio (run 4 minutes, walk 1), thanks to some comments from some of you. Second, I wore a Knee Strap which I picked up recently on recommendation from a work colleague. Third, I had a day off before running.
And it seemed to work.
The ITB hurt most of the way. But the combination of the knee strap and the run/walk routine made a big difference. Every time I walked, the pain subsided. I finished strong without the knee hurting all that much. After a shower, it was only a minor annoyance.
What did I learn? How does PDCA work here?? On running; the “adjustment” needed to be pretty severe. I was surprised and pleased at the help the R/W and the knee strap offered. I’m interested to see how that continues. I also see that, for the time being, I must accept I can only run every other day.
On the mental side, it is largely a deeper understanding of priorities. Running is so real, so measurable, so physical, so visceral it is hard at times to remember it is only a sport and not life itself. My family, friends and spiritual life all take priority. Running can serve these things but dare not take first place.
Did W. Edwards Demming ever run? I doubt it, he was quite a curmudgeon. But his principles work. I’ve adjusted the Plan for next week to doing 3 milers on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, all with a R4/W1 ratio and knee strap.
Yeah, we’ll persevere. There is still much for me to learn.