Hello! My question is about running a 5K with hurt muscles. My daughters are in Girls On The Run, Kansas, and we have decided to run our first 5K. As my fit 9 & 11-yr. olds have been training with GOTR, I have been doing the Couch 2 5K workout over the past several weeks so I can run with them (I'm 48 & so-so shape). Since starting, I tore my soleus(grade 2 tear) which dr. told me to rest until no pain (5 wks) but now it's great. My prob now is with my hamstrings. I recently tried to increase the length of my running stride (from little old man shuffle to some semblance of normal) and my hamstrings now feel like they've got charlie horses in them after about 1/2 mile of running, no matter what length of stride. I am very scared to tear up anything since my soleus took so long to heal and it would ruin any chances of me running this upcoming 5K with my girls (in 1 week). Any and all suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks!!
I am new to running so take my option with a grain of salt.
If I were you I would ask myself if I can realistically run a 5K so slowly and carefuly (including "little old man shuffle" and walk breaks) as to not hurt my hamstrings. If I thought it's possible for me to take it easy and not get hurt then I would just run for fun (not speed). It does take some discipline and control though. If I were not confident that I can slow down enough I would probably skip the race.
There are many races but we only have one body. I think your girls and you will be better off if you don't get hurt.
P.S. I don't know why you are trying to lengthen your stride but you might want to look into learning about "proper" running form. Speed doesn't necessarely come from longer strides. Here is a good starting point:
Try using a foam roller on your hamstrings to reduce the soreness. Here is a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBA64htscxQ&feature=related Hopefully it will clear up in a couple days.
You probably tried to lengthen your stride by reaching forward with your feet. This doesn't work well and tends to add stress to your legs. Learning good form will serve you much better. The site SlowestTurtle list makes some good suggestions and could serve as a good starting point (though I have some differences of opinion on some of it).
I will try the foam roller. And, yes, I did try to lengthen my stride by reaching forward with my feet. Thanks for the correction...so much to learn, but I really do enjoy the stress relief that comes from running, so this I will press on, even at the slow turtle's pace.