I’m training for a half-marathon that’s quickly approaching in less than 1 month and I haven’t been training!!! I’ve been running on and off for the past 2 years so I figured I could just roll out of bed and do long runs on the weekends and work my way up to 13 miles within a few weeks. I knew this was a bad thing to do because I’ve heard over the years that you have to build up your endurance and get your body ready for the wear and tear a long run will do to your body. I knew this but I ignored it. My first long run of 9 miles on a Saturday was horrible - I was dying (literally) and the last half-mile of the run my knee started hurting but I didn’t listen to my body. The following Saturday I ran for 10 miles and it was even worse - I really, really felt like passing out at the end but even before that my knee was giving me problems. The last 2 miles were h-e-double-hockey-sticks, but I’m stubborn and when I set goals I do everything to hit them - which includes risking the health of my knee to finish a training run…? I know - it doesn’t make any sense; I hurt me knee and with the race about 4 weeks away I don’t know when I can train again.
I need to do some form of cardiovascular exercise to get my heart rate up, but it has to be really easy on my knee and the rest of my joints for that matter. I heard that swimming and rowing are great for full-body exercises that put no stress on your joints so I decided to check out both options. Swimming seems like a great workout; look at the bodies of the Olympian swimmers from the Summer games; they’re in great shape and who wouldn’t want to look like that. The problem for me is - I don’t know how to swim so I crossed that off of my list.
The next full-body low-impact exercise on my list is rowing so I decided to look into that. Being around water isn’t my favorite thing because I don’t know how to swim, but there are indoor rowing machines that mimic the feel of rowing on water and you get to stay far away from the water! It sounded like a good option for me so I decided to call local health clubs to see if they had any rowers for me to use. I called a few an surprisingly, not all health clubs had machines. I shrugged it off and went to the club that had 2 rowers. I watched some youtube videos to learn the proper form of rowing before I actually rowed to help me avoid injury. I got to the gym, went to the rower, started rowing, and fell in love right there! I couldn’t believe how much of a workout you can get from a machine but most importantly - you get a heck of a workout without putting much stress on your knees. I couldn’t believe it! I was so worried I would re-injure my knee so I was taking it easy a little bit when I got started but after just a few rows, I decided to let it loose and row without any reservations. I never looked back; couldn’t even tell I was working out my legs until I stood up and almost fell over because the workout was so low-impact.
Don’t mistake low-impact for easy - I was sweating a lot when I rowed - I can run 10 miles, but couldn’t row a few meters. Rowing is a great full-body workout. I’m sold now on rowing. I will use rowing machines as much as I can to get a great full-body workout and because it will save my knee!