Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fall Running Fun and Unsolicited Health Advice

Running at this time of year can be challenging. Many runners have been racing frequently through the past 6 or 7 months and are just feeling tired and burnt out. Many are nursing injuries from months of intense training. Add cold weather, slippery trails, short daylight hours, hunters in the woods, and holiday and family obligations, and we can begin to see why so many of us have trouble keeping our weekly mileage up in the Fall.

I haven't raced since April. I have just had an entire month of very easy running followed by another month of gradual build up back to normal mileage following shoulder surgery. I'm still not working due to mobility and strength restrictions my surgeon has imposed on me. So here I am at a time of year when I am normally emotionally and physically worn out on running, feeling excited and energetic and raring to go! I am still not convinced I need to return to racing to fully enjoy my running and get the most out of it, but that might come. Either way, it's all good.

I have been spending a lot of time on the local Ossipee River trails, both in running shoes and on snow shoes. I have also been out exploring a new-to-me network of trails in Parsonsfield. This is the kind of running that originally lured me away from road racing and into the woods. Put me out on the trail alone (or with my dog) with a vague idea about where I am going and I find myself smiling and happy and at peace.


I am going to have to work hard over the Winter to regain my upper body strength. I will start as soon as I am physically able. Now for a bit of unsolicited health advice. (It's my Blog and I can write what I want). Upper body and core strength is extremely important for peri-menopausal women, especially for runners as we tend to be of lighter build. Bone density loss and muscle mass loss are natural effects of hormonal changes that occur in women in their mid forties and beyond. Being of a light build to begin with intensifies these effects. These changes can lead to osteoporosis and arthritis. I know, every pound adds so many seconds to your 5K time and muscle adds pounds, but good health is so much more important than age group wins! There are a few skinny fifty-ish running women I know who are already showing postural changes. I have seen running photos posted on Facebook that are down right alarming. I would advise all light framed women runners in their forties and beyond to ask about bone density testing at their annual physicals and to regularly participate in strength workouts.

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