Are you ready to take the 30-day spondylitis run challenge?

OK, listen up! I know you’re ecstatic right now but don't go running an extra kilometer and end up hitting the wall after the very first day. The concept of progressive overload is what we are focusing on during this challenge. I haven't run in two years. In fact, I participated in the 5k Color-me Rad race two weeks ago and pretty much walked the whole way, so this is a challenge for me too! I’ll be doing it along side of you and posting my progress.

I’ll be posting the daily challenge every morning at 7am Eastern Time. The challenge starts off at a low intensity that may seem easy at first, but don't worry it gets harder. Run at whatever times you want and check in daily to let me know you are signed up and how you did that day. Start your challenge when you feel up and ready!

But wait...there are prerequisites! We don’t want to aggravate any existing problems so be sure that you meet the following criteria before starting this challenge. If you don’t — chin-up! There are certainly other things that you can do. I’ll be posting other non-running challenges soon.:-)

Pre-requisite 1) Can you bend your ankle more than 90º without pain?
Using a wall, position your toes against the wall. Bend your knees forward while keeping the heel flat on the ground and touch the wall with your knee. If you feel pain in your Achilles tendon, ankle or knee during this movement, you do not have a green light to start just yet. You need to loosen up those posterior leg muscles and add a little more mobility in there. Once that is done, you’re ready to go!

Pre-requisite 2) Are you able to walk more than 5 minutes non-stop without pain?
If you cannot walk for 5 minutes non-stop without significant levels of pain, you might want to start with strength training and mobility work before embarking on a running challenge.

Pre-requisite 3) Do you have segmental fusion? 
Medical professionals indicate that running forces on a fused joint can cause fractures. Although I agree that those with segmental fusion should not run for risking stress fractures, I believe that a low volume running program is beneficial for those with spondylitis.

Pre-requisite 4) Do you have proper running technique?
Make sure that your foot strikes remain light on the ground - if you feel your feet landing hard - your workout is over. Be sure to maintain an efficient level-head posture (teeth and eyes parallel to the ground) during the run.

Here’s the challenge:

We are going to run with progressively increasing intervals in order to improve our running ability and resistance to stress. If you want to create the positive changes in the body necessary to tolerate running without falling into the trap of overuse injury, it is best to use frequent (4-6 days per week) short workouts. We will be running 5 days each week in this challenge.

Warm-up: 5 min walking
a. 3 x 10s running; 50s walking
b. 2min passive break
Repeat steps a & b one more time (for a total of two cycles)

What if there is an onset of pain?

For the most of us, pain is present in our lives from the very moment we get out of bed. It is practically impossible to train or do an activity without feeling pain somewhere on our body even to begin with. You need to be resilient while maintaining the discomfort to less than a 6/10. You will notice that this pain will dissipate as you progressively challenge it. If the pain is a 7 or higher after a training workout you should stop the progression but do not stop the training. What I mean by this is that for a few days you should repeat the last workout that did not cause pain — do not increase the number of sets. Repeat this same workout until the pain and inflammation is controlled. This simply means that your body took a little longer to adapt to the training overload. Once it has adapted, you will be able to continue the training progression without further pain. 

Good luck & I'll see you at the finish line :-)

*you can follow the challenge and other articles on my Facebook page

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