In the few years I’ve been running, I’ve been very lucky health/injury wise. In that I haven’t had any major issues. There’s been some soreness, a bout of shin splints last summer, some random foot pain last fall, and one lost toe nail in 2011, and that’s been it. Given my clumsy nature, this astounds me.
Since the end of last week, I’ve been feeling some random twinges/pains/discomfort in my left shin. The feelings aren’t intense, almost like a dull ache, and are really more annoying than painful. The last time I felt something like this was last August when I was in the throes of marathon training. At that time, the pain was in both my shins and was much more intense. A recipe of rest and ice helped a lot and I was able to resume training. In both instances, the discomfort started after a significant uptick in training (from 50 miles in June to 78 in July before the pain started, and from 44 in December to 63 in January). For some people, this increase in training load is manageable, but I think it may be more than my body is ready for (or maybe it’s all in my head and I’m just holding myself back).
Since I want to be able to run as long as possible, I need to be flexible and train smart. What does this mean? For me, it means not being a slave to my training plan and taking a few days off running this week. Next week is scheduled to be a cutback week for me, so my plan for the rest of this week is to swap out running for cross training (I did run yesterday, more on that in a minute) and slowly ease myself back into running next week. If after a week of more low impact training I’m still feeling the same symptoms, I’ll reevaluate. And to prove I’m serious about my no running plan, I already booked a spin class for Saturday morning to keep me from doing my planned long run.
Race day is still just over two months away, so there’s still plenty of time. Initially I was panicked that taking a few days off now would totally screw up my training. I’m already up to 6 miles for long runs, more than half the distance. And honestly, after running a marathon, running 10 miles doesn’t seem that far. So no need to panic yet.
Which brings me to yesterday’s run. The plan was for three easy miles. Since I was on the treadmill, I played around with the speed some to keep things interesting. The workout went roughly like this (all done at a 1% incline):
- 0 – 5 minutes: 6.2
- 5 – 10 minutes: 6.3
- 10 – 20 minutes: 6.4
- 20 – 25 minutes: 6.3
- 25 – 30 minutes: 6.2
In terms of my shin issues, I felt a little wonky during the first few minutes, but the rest of the run was fine. Pace wise things felt easy and comfortable, just what the doctor ordered. After my run, I did a quick ab workout (the Nike Training Club Ab Burner workout) to round out my gym session. All around a good way to start the day.
And now I have a favor to ask. I’m good about knowing what I need to do, but not always so good with taking my own advice. This is especially true with running. At some point this week, I’ll decide I don’t need anymore rest and I want to run. If I talk/tweet/Facebook whatever that I’m going for a run, or you see me lacing up my running shoes and eyeing a treadmill or running path, yell at me. It’s for my own good.
Now it’s your turn! Do you panic when you need to take time off when training for a race? Any tips for staying sane? Tell me about it!