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Iran’s So Far Away February 1, 2006

Posted by KG in Uncategorized.

One of the many things that contacts have told me about our Ambassador to Pakistan is that he is a fierce runner, a marathon type, who actually encourages his staff to run the circuit around the compound that goes literally through his back yard.  At first, this didn’t matter to me, especially since I’m not much of a runner (I believe that until recently, the last time ran was for the bus).  I’ve done my time on elliptical machines for cardio and I’m good with the weights, but I’d previously eschewed running with a litany of excuses: “I get awful shin splints,” “I have a bad back,” “dude, running is so boring,” etc.  Studies have shown that all of these things are true.  But later it struck me that since there may not be much to do in Pak in terms of social outlets, real physical fitness might be a good goal — and running through the big boss’s backyard could be fun.  So unstymied by prior experiential evidence and the work of our greatest scientific minds, I recently elected to start running and get myself up to speed.
It kind of became a mission:   I purchased a decent pair of running shoes good for both pavement and dirt.  The iPod and accompanying armband provided diversion from running’s lack of stimuli.  And as for my back, well, it’s been asking for it.  And my first attempt at a run wasn’t so bad, except for the near freezing weather.  My second and third attempts (the latter just completed) were also good, each slightly longer than the one before.  The results: horrible shin splints, and a serious pain in my back.  At least I’m not bored (here’s to you, Mr. iPod armband inventor).

The question is where to go from here, and how to measure progress.  Would it be smart to keep up a habit of daily running?  Is this running thing like weights, where one should ease into it, or should I dive in?  I guess much of this depends on how hard I’m running and for how long (answer: not very to both) and my general cardio health (not bad considering how much I’ve cut down on smoking.)  Oh, and whether I can move my legs tomorrow morning.  That part is pretty crucial.



1. catherine - February 1, 2006

i would definitely ease in to it…do a few miles a few times a week until that starts getting easy, then up the distance and the pace. unless you’re training for a specific distance, i’d say there’s no reason to do more than 3-4x a week of 4 miles, just to work out.

2. scott - February 2, 2006

also learn the differnce between good pain and bad pain. Sore muscles that feel better after a day or two = good. Sharp pain in joints bones etc that persists = bad. Dont try to push through bad pain

3. Suz - February 2, 2006

I went through the same thing and found the most recurring piece of advice to be “work up slowly”. I suffered a stress fracture in my foot before I really began to take this advice seriously. And being out of commission for two months is not fun (or worth hitting the 3-mile mark quickly). Runnersworld.com has tons of really useful info and some great training plans. I used a three-week one they had for awhile. Basically you want to get to the 20 minutes without getting winded-point in three weeks, and then take it from there. It can be frustrating and seem tedious. But I run 3 miles a day now and it’s worth it. As for the ennui, you’ll find that there’s nothing in the world like a runner’s high….

4. Shawn - February 2, 2006

It took a while to sink in, but you really should be punished for the title of the blog entry. No iPod on your next run.

5. Becca - February 3, 2006

Try this plan. It is commonly recommended and pretty successful. I have used this and I know people who use the other training programs to train for longer runs.


I second that salute to Mr. iPod armband inventor…I too get bored easily when running.

6. Amadie - February 16, 2006

I’ve just started ChiRunning (http://www.chirunning.com), and it has really helped stave off the aches and pains.

Otherwise…I echo previous advice. Take it slow.

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