January 30, 2012

Runday Monday: Rewards

I officially began training for a half marathon this month. In doing so, I decided that I would throw in some extra motivation with a reward at the end of each month if I stuck with my training plan. I figured knowing something special was in it for me in the short-term would help me get to the end reward of accomplishment in crossing the finish line.

The reward I decided on at the beginning of the month was new sneakers. The ones I have need to be replaced, but I had been putting it off as I hadn't been running regularly. I was having a hard time justifying new sneaks when the ones I had were ok enough for a run or two a week. I figured if I stuck with my training plan all January, then all those extra miles would add more wear and tear to already worn shoes and I could easily justify the purchase price of a decent new pair. And c'mon, who doesn't love shoe shopping, even if it is sneakers?

It turns out I probably should have started the month with my reward. I had been experiencing occasional foot pain over the fall and it increased noticeably as I started logging more miles. I checked in with the doc to make sure I wasn`t injuring something and to see what the triggers might be. Turns out both my orthotic inserts - they`re a few years old now for sure - and my sneakers need to be replaced.

Having run for almost ten years now, I know that sneakers should be replaced regularly. The general rule is about 300-400 miles, or in Canadian terms, about 500km. I knew I hadn`t run quite that much on my current sneaks, so I felt I was ok to give it to the end of the month and use that as my motivational reward. What I didn`t know, and my uber-fit doc filled me in on, was that the cushioning and stability of sneakers break down over time, even if they are sitting unworn. So, despite not clocking the miles over the last year or so, my shoes were the most likely culprit of my foot pain.

On the upside, I had already prepared myself to spend moola on a new pair of sneaks and really this just adds medical justification to my reward. Worn out sneakers are one of the biggest causes of running injuries and what starts as a small niggling annoyance can quickly bloom into full blown issues. Not what I want at all. With this being the end of the month or thereabouts and I had stuck to my training plan all month,  I had hoped to get out to the clinic on Saturday passed to get fitted for orthotics and check out the new sneak options. The weather nixed that pretty fast, so I guess I`ll try cashing in on my reward sometime this week.

Until then, I`m having fun planning a February reward. I`m thinking maybe a pedicure to soothe those tired soles. I expect that when I`m debating whether to head out on a recovery run after logging 10 or 11km just the day or two before, thoughts of a paraffin treatment will certainly make it more palatable. The miles begin to add up this month and I`m pretty sure my soles - and my soul - could use a little extra TLC come February 29.

What about you... do you use rewards for motivation too? What helps you get through?

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