Shanghai Running Magazine Volume 3 - Page 22

My Year Of No Running By Tori Widdowson Perhaps a weird title for an article in a running magazine, but let’s see where this goes. to tell me not to start again. Maybe some day in the future, but not now, and I decided not for a full 12 months at least. In the meantime, I had sought physio advice to maintain flexibility and strength in my ankles and calves particularly. I also booked 4 sessions with a trainer in the gym to get inspiration and motivation for non-impact resistance work, a must for any woman over 30 by the way, if you want to maintain muscle mass (which, simplistically, helps with your metabolism and more obviously strength). As a weak runner, and someone that never genuinely enjoyed running until I did some trail runs, I’ve always found that as soon as I stepped up any sort of run training I would see rapid results, and this positive feedback cycle would help me pop out again. I was still a fairweather runner though, and those that have attended any of the hilly trail runs in Moganshan would understand that a pure runner might not have designed those route profiles : ) 6 months into my low-impact year, I started a fairly regular amount of swimming, biking and yoga. I found it hard to experience that proper out-of-breath feeling, although I was training more for endurance anyway. This made me look at other options, to see where I might build cardio fitness in addition to my core health routine. I found something called MAX Workouts. Not something I’m selling by the way, just the name of one of the many 90-days-or-yourmoney-back-type high impact interval training (HIIT) methods. Seems that because of my preference for activities that take me outdoors, I have been missing out on some results-oriented programmes that feed off the ‘latest’ science that suggests cardio work does not need to be long to be useful. I use ‘latest’ in inverted commas because I don’t want to jump on a bandwagon, just illustrate how experimenting is important, and knowledge of how our body systems respond is always evolving. A foot injury, probably a small stress fracture, that occurred when I was feeling relatively fit took the running option away in November last year, and it wasn’t until June, 8 months later, that I felt it would be safe to start again. Except I didn’t feel good about it. There were traces of the swelling, my foot felt different in my shoes, and some resulting ankle instability from the enforced rest combined Picking at random, I found a convenient exercise using the 2 flights of stairs up to my flat. After this 15-20 minute session, I was sweating and fighting for breath, and I’d only gone up half the JinMao Tower. I didn’t feel as tired as I would after 45 minutes of slow running, however apparently you don’t need to kill yourself every time (note to Strava addicts). I’m motivated to try this out, and for less I’ve always enjoyed cross-training, but as you get older, you think you know what your body likes and/or needs, and it’s easy to get in a training rut with ever-diminishing returns. I don’t have a flat stomach, and I don’t reach for the stars when it comes to body beauty, but feeling strong and having energy generally require you to put in some work. 22 © Shanghai Running 2014 than the cost of 1 hour with a personal trainer I have instructions for several 3-week blocks of full-on, short, workouts that will hopefully replicate the results I used to get from intermittent trail runs. I believe that an enforced break or change in your routine helps develop new routines that challenge your body in a different way. Shorter work-outs are easier to fit into your life, and if carried out indoors might avoid some of those crazy air quality days we want to avoid. The resulting stronger muscles and lungs WILL improve your running. If you don’t want to do it alone, look at outfits like Body Mind Soul, based in Pudong, who include some core/ circuit training. If you do come out to Moganshan for training, there are lots of stone staircases that you can make use of, allowing for bamboo farmers who will usually be dragging 100kg of ba