From 5K to 10K: Steel HR Sport, IT Band Syndrome, and the Zoopark Run

October 24, 2018

Our colleague in Munich managed to run 5 kilometers. Her next goal: run 10 kilometers and take part in a competitive race. Will she manage it? Read on to find out.

Ariane pushed herself to attempt 10k
Ariane pushed herself to attempt 10k

I’ve managed 5 kilometers—and now my training continues.

Because the training plan from C25K worked so brilliantly, I stayed with it and downloaded the 10K Trainer by C25K. Because I’d completed the first eight weeks of the C25K training, I skipped that and started with Week 9.

My goal: the Zoopark Run in Erfurt, which has been held on the second Saturday in September in the capital city of Thuringia for the last 20 years. How often do you get the chance to jog past elephants and giraffes?

The annual run is an eventful day designed for the whole family, with six different disciplines to choose from. And if you can recruit friends, colleagues, or family members, you can line up for the four-person relay. Whether it’s the 200 meters for the smallest runners, or the 10K run, which I decided to enter, both new and experienced runners will find just the right race.

The event organizer is SSV Erfurt Nord, a local sports club. The aim of the run is to inspire children and teens to take part in sports and track and field events.

Because Erfurt is a second home and I associate many pleasant childhood memories with the Zoopark, it was the perfect run for me—exactly the motivation I need to hang in there.

To achieve my goal, I replaced my Steel HR with a brand-new Steel HR Sport. With the beta version, I was able to test all the new features in advance. Of course, I was especially curious about the connected GPS function and the evaluation of my Fitness Level.

The first week—Week 9 in my overall training—went by without a problem. I was highly motivated since I had successfully cleared the 5K hurdle. In addition, I was excited about our new Steel HR Sport. The multisport hybrid smartwatch offers exactly the functions I want as a runner. I knew that my Fitness Level had definitely improved in recent weeks and months, but I had no idea it was so good—43!.

Unfortunately, the Steel HR Sport doesn’t warn you if there’s a cold sneaking up on you. I spent Week 10 in bed with chamomile tea, ACC for my cough, and a large box of tissues. The summer cold, including lateral pharyngitis, left me totally out of action for two weeks.

After this compulsory break, it was much more difficult for me to get running again. I suffered throughout Week 11, Week 12 was a bit easier, and in Week 13, I felt as fit and re-energized as I had before the cold. Of course, I needed to share that with the world. Luckily, the Health Mate app makes it easy to share my running successes with my friends and family. I sent everyone a picture with the distance I had run.

Click here to see the video. 

Day 2 of my 13th training week ended with me visiting the doctor again. However, this time it was not with a cold. After 7.88 kilometers, my morning run ended with severe pain in my knee. I ended the workout, slowly went home, and found myself in the waiting room an hour later.

The diagnosis: IT band syndrome, also known as runner’s kneeThe pain that I was feeling in my knee was actually coming from the iliotibial tract, a fibrous band on the outside of the thigh. This band extends from the pelvis to the tibia.

The doctor told me it was caused by excessive strain after running a certain distance and wearing the wrong running shoes. Because I have knock knees, I need shoes that correct this misalignment and support the inside of my feet.

With all the ingredients for a quark poultice and a well-taped thigh, I went home and started to chill. The doctor had prescribed 2 weeks off from running. I felt really down in the dumps. I had been so proud of myself up till then for winning the fight against my weaker self, and now my body had upset those plans—so close to my goal.

To fight my bad mood and start thinking positively, I used the two-week break to get new shoes from a special running store. I had bought my old pair a few years ago at a basic sporting-goods store, but they were not well suited for what I wanted to achieve. I also got some useful tips from running experts on how to stretch my thighs in order to stabilize the elasticity of the muscles. I also worked on my thigh fascia with a Blackroll.

I was sure I would have to forget about the 10K race through the hilly Erfurt Zoopark. Nevertheless, after my break from running, I tried to slowly start up training again. My longest run: 9.3K.

Then it all came to an end—my knee gave up. If you try to do too much too quickly, you have to take a break and start the stretching and strengthening program from the beginning.

In the end, I didn’t actively run in the race, but I registered as a volunteer assistant for the Zoopark run and was involved behind the scenes. I did pick up my participant’s shirt and my start number, and next year I will swap them for new ones.

Giving up on the race is not an option—I will try again next year. Ultimately, I know that 10 kilometers are easily manageable. Even if I didn’t achieve my goal, I gained a great deal of knowledge from my 10K attempt:

  1. Proper running shoes are the be-all and end-all. And to get the right running shoe, you need professional advice from the staff in a running store.
  2. Stretching is absolutely necessary.
  3. A problem shared is a problem halved: the more friends I told about my plan, the more (positive) pressure I was under. My loved ones’ support was extremely motivating.
  4. Quark poultices make a big mess.
  5. My favorite running music is the Morning Run 150-165 BPM playlist on Spotify.
  6. Avoid running routes where I go past a beer garden. The smell of schnitzel is just cruel when you still have half the distance ahead of you. Regardless of how much fun the running was at some points, I will always prefer a visit to the beer garden.

2018 is the year that I got over my fear of sports. I completed an anti-gravity course and did yoga on a stand-up paddle board, and you accompanied me on my excursion into the world of jogging. All of these things cost me a lot of effort, courage, and staying power, but they also made me richer by creating many great memories. I can only encourage you to try new things. Conquer your inner coach potato. It will be worth it!