I think I have overworked my body.
I've been reading various articles on Runner's World, which is very helpful for both beginners and more advanced runners, and the biggest realization that I came across was the three toos of running: too much, too soon, too fast.
I think I fell victim to all 3. I had increased the distance I've been doing way too much from week to week, I had tried to attempt a 5K way too soon, and I tried to push myself to run faster before my body is able to cope with the added stress.
Yet all this time I thought it had been a natural result of my increased endurance and my comfort at a quicker pace. But I think I've just been too ambitious. I was unhappy with the same amount of distance I do everyday, I wanted to be at the top of the leader board among my friends, I wanted to do well in the upcoming 5K, I wanted to be the runner in my head.
But my body is not ready.
I think I will still run with the same frequency that I do now, but I will shorten my workouts and not attempt any long distance running any time soon. I'm moving my run onto the road this weekend, which I'm both nervous and excited about, but I won't push myself too hard.
Interesting things of note:
1) I know in theory the right form that I need to keep while running, but when I'm on the treadmill I'm never quite sure if I'm doing it right. I keep my body and gaze straight, I try my best to push my elbows back, and I try to land my foot not too far ahead of my body and kick the other back as I propel myself forward. And sometimes I feel that I can really get the full effect when I was running fast. But at one running interval today I kind of felt how I was supposed to be running. I felt that my back foot was pushing much higher, my elbows pulling more forcefully, and that I was really using my whole body to move forward. I felt that for about a minute, and the next time I began to run I lost that feeling. And sometimes when I kick too hard my shins began to hurt.
2) Today I officially signed up for my first 5K race. It's not the Cystic Fibriosis Foundation one that originally inspired me to run, but this one happens earlier. It's on May 3rd, which is in 3 weeks, and it's a 5K/10K race hosted by our schools Armed Forces Alumni association to raise money for two different veteran-related charities. I liked it for its convenient on-campus location, and the fact that the first 300 entrants gets a free T-shirt (since I was asked for my shirt size I assume that I will be getting one). Our lab manager happily agreed to run with me, and I signed up online. This is going to be my first race, and since I put it on Facebook, the whole world now knows. Since you also have the option of doing a 10K, they are giving out sensor chips at the race to keep official record. I'm excited about the whole officiality of this.
3) I started to ice my shins after showering yesterday. I don't have a real ice pack so I tried to fill up my glass bottle with water and freeze it to make my own. I had underestimated how much water was going to expand as it freezes, and overfilled my bottle, and destroyed the bottle astonishingly into little pieces. So I switched over to plastic bottles, only filled up 2/3, and left the cap unscrewed as it sits in the freezer. In the mean time this was how I iced my shins: