I haven’t posted about my running since the race on New Year’s Day. That’s ’cause I tried something different and injured myself again. Dammit.

I get these email newsletters from Active, and in the last one, they had an article about treadmill running and making it effective. And in the article they said:

Use a minimum of 1% grade. Running at 0% grade is similar to running on a slight downward slope. It’s also very difficult to maintain solid run form on a flat treadmill, so kicking it up to a minimum of 1% means that you?ll have a better chance of getting into your normal running style (foot strike, body lean, etc.). Note: As you increase the grade for hill workouts, be sure to cut back a bit on the speed. We all slow down a bit as we head uphill, but the treadmill won’t unless you tell it to.

Great, I’ve been running on a flat treadmill. No wonder it’s so easy, I thought.

On Tuesday I put this into practice, even though I’m still fighting allergies and generally did not feel like running. I upped the incline to 1%, set the speed for about a 10:00 pace, and started going. I planned on doing a simple 3.5 mile run.

I could immediately tell that it was tougher. Duh. I expected that. What I didn’t expect was my footstrike feeling odd and different. Different even than running on the street, unlike the article said. My feet, especially my left foot, was landing toes-out, at an angle. It didn’t feel right, and I tried to compensate. But because I had less time to land my feet straighter, it just wasn’t working. After about 3/4 of a mile, I was working harder, and my ankles were complaining. I kept pushing, though, trying to complete the distance. I slowed down the speed a bit, and even stopped to walk for about a minute after a full mile before trying to get back to a 10:00 pace in the second mile. I lowered the incline to 0.5% and kept going. But after 2 miles it was obvious I wasn’t going to be able to complete my planned distance. My left ankle felt… bruised. I stopped after a measly 2.1 miles, cooled down, and stretched out.

Next morning, my ankle was still tender. By the end of the day, though, there was definite soreness. And this morning, still sore. Ugh.

I planned on running tonight after work, but decided on the better part of discretion. I used the elliptical trainer instead for 30 minutes, at a high incline, a medium resistance, and a fast tempo, then stretched out and did those strength exercises I’ve been meaning to add to my routine: 3 sets of 10 at 75%-80% of my max weight for my lats/back, sit-ups, triceps, pecs, and quads. Probably need more leg exercises and core exercises but that was a half-hour’s worth. The elliptical is non-impact.

I think I’ll just focus on 3 days a week of strength training for the next week or two and see how my ankle feels. If I feel like running I’ll just hop on the elliptical, or the bike. Oh, y’know, I might do some running. But the focus will be strength for now. Winter’s a good time for it, and the next race isn’t until February so there’s plenty of time.