Power-athlete learns how to run

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Hi Danny,

My name is Ed, and I wanted to drop you a quick line to thank you for all the great information you provide and to let you know how much of a difference you’ve made for me.

I’m 41 years old, a life-long power athlete (baseball, football, wrestling, weightlifting, etc.), and I’ve never been able to run any distance over a mile without substantial shin and knee pain.  I’ve marveled at others who can bang out a 4 or 5 mile run, and I’ve never thought it possible for me to do the same.  The fact that I’ve accumulated some extra weight over the years hasn’t helped.

About 8 months ago, I came across your ChiRunning blog and read (and viewed) practically everything you’ve ever posted.  Your description of why folks get shin splints hit me like a ton of bricks!  Over the course of a few months, and with the help of your blog and videos, I taught myself how to run with a mid-foot strike, and now I can run completely pain-free for the first time in my life.  That’s pretty amazing.

The second thing I picked up from you was about pace.  As a sprint athlete, if the distance wasn’t 40 yards or 90 feet, my body just didn’t know what to do, and so when I trained (running a mile or more), it was always at a pace bordering on or exceeding oxygen deficit.  That always made running an unpleasant activity for me.  However, slowing down to a more conversational pace has made all the difference.  It seems in hindsight like an obvious thing to do (just slow down), but all I could hear in my head were decades of coaches urging me to “pick up the pace” or “stretch it out”.

So now I run without pain and without feeling like I’m going to suffocate.  It’s not quite “enjoyable” yet…no “runner’s high” to date…but it’s rewarding that I’ve been able to do a 7-mile run with no issues or complications.  In fact, the Ocean Drive Marathon is on March 28th next year, and given adherence to a gradually-increasing training schedule (several “novice” flavor to choose from), I believe running that race is now well within my capabilities.  8 months ago that would’ve been crazy talk.

So thanks for all that you do!  It’s made a difference for me.  I’ll let you know when I finish the ODM.  🙂
— Ed