I have decided two things in the last few weeks: I really do enjoy running. AND I hate running.
I have upped my speed on the treadmill considerably and comfortably. This is a good thing.
I have upped my mileage on long runs from 3 miles to 6.5 miles. Also, good thing.
My shins have rebelled. Bad, bad, bad thing.
It turns out that when you get shins splints, they are VERY hard to treat. After reading several articles and online blogs and websites, I have learned a lot about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of shin splints. Also--I have learned a lot about the prevention of shin splints... something I would have liked to know a few weeks ago.
Supposedly, shin splints usually occur when you are "doing too much too soon". Your muscles in your legs are not strong enough or prepared enough for those long runs, even though you feel like you can do it. Your heart rate is good, the large muscles in your legs feel good, your lungs are continuing to breathe for you, and your shins feel like knives are stabbing in your legs.
For a while I was icing my shins after each workout. Now I have decided to take an indefinite rest from running (thanks to the advice of many professionals) and continue to do other workouts which continue to strengthen my legs, heart, and lungs until I can get back on the treadmill.
The elliptical is my new best friend! There is barely any shock on the elliptical because it is so smooth. It's good for your knees, too! It also works some muscles that I had been neglecting while running. I also go to a class at my gym called "BodyPump". It's a barbell class that basically strengthens your whole body and works all the major muscles groups in 60 minutes. Considering I am not a "weight-lifting"-type-of-girl, I am very proud of myself for not only continuing to go to this class, but for actually succeeding and enjoying it! I have been going for about 3 months, now. I am also taking a class called "BodyFlow". It is a combination class of Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates and it is AWESOME. Stretch, strengthen, concentration, and flexibility are the main components of this great class.
I am hoping to get back into my running routine asap :-) I REALLY want to make it to this Half-Marathon!