Training in Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School has many surprises, including an opportunity to take part in half marathon competition. On Sunday 18.11.2018 eleven students and our head master decided to try their best and run, for most of us, the longest distance we had ever run.
Was I prepared? Probably better than if I wouldn’t train shaolin kung fu. But Kung Fu training is definitely not designed for running long distances. Yes, we run everyday – mornings and afternoons, a lap which has around 1,6 km. Yes, we have Power Training, where we run up to the mountain, which is pretty exhausting. No, we never run longer than 10-15 km.
I am very happy that unexpectedly I checked Half Marathon off the List of Things I Always Wanted To Try. It turned out to be easy and very difficult at the same time.
EASY PART OF HALF MARATHON
- I didn’t have any problems with endurance. My breath and heart rhythm was steady. It felt like I could run and run, if not the …
DIFFICULT PART OF HALF MARATHON
- After already 3 km I started to have pain in my left ankle.
I needed to stop every 1 km or so and make circles with my ankle, otherwise I was unable to run.
- After around 10 km my right ankle was sore.
- In that moment I also started to feel my leg muscles working out hard.
- Than my knees slightly gave me a sign – TOO MUCH RUNNING!
This run was like a sinusoid. The 8th km seemed very difficult, after 10km I kind of recovered and it went easier. Again 16th km gave me a headache, while the 18th km felt like this run was not such a big deal after all.
What Makes The Half Marathon Enjoyable?
- The support from the audience and runners was amazing. I could hear “jia you!” everywhere. It’s literal translation would be [add oil], it’s kind of like saying “You can do it! Go for it!”.
- Another enjoyable thing during half marathon were drinks. After every few km there were stations with medical support and drinks. Sometimes they were giving just a cold water, sometimes warm, sometimes water with some minerals and my favourite one a tea with sugar. I would never expect that this simple drink can become such a happiness. It packed me with new energy!
- They were also handing out cookies after 17km. I didn’t try them though. I never like to eat, when I exercise. No difference here.
- When the run finished I received hot tea again, cookies and a reward for a 40th place between the women, a big 1,75l thermos.
After Half Marathon Soreness
After I changed my clothes and talk with the other students, when all the excitement was over, I realized how exhausting was this run. My legs, especially sides of the hips started to be sore to the extent that I had troubles to walk. My ankle hurt.
We went to eat lunch. I wasn’t that hungry. I was very sleepy instead. After I ate a bit and took shower, I fall asleep in my room immediately. I slept till the dinner time. Every time I wanted to stand up from bed or a chair I had troubles, because of muscle sore. It bothered me for the next few days.
How Did The Run Affect My Daily Training:
- On Monday I couldn’t run or participate in Kung Fu Basics class due to my ankle. I was just stretching.
- Tuesday was similar.
- On Wednesday I tried to run a morning lap and in half way my ankle become painful again. I pushed myself to do some Kung Fu Basics though.
- Thursday was relaxed as always – Qi Gong and Stretching.
- On Friday I finally could run a whole lap and train some jumps. Still my ankle bothered me a bit.
It took one week for me to recover after this run, but it was definitely worth it. Now, I know half marathon is NOT EASY. It does require preparation. I wish someday I will run full marathon. Right now I cannot really imagine doing it. My joints would just give up.