7 Days Without A Run Makes One Weak…or Strong
Earlier this year…the week before my amazing running trip to Albuquerque to be exact, I began noticing a nagging discomfort in my hamstring. I wouldn’t call the hamstring problem a pain as much as I’d call it a pain in the you know what. Bothersome enough for me to be aware. I would nurse it as needed and remain mindful of it while doing strength training, purposely staying away from explosive or jarring movements.
Lots of changes from RUNNING to REAL WORLD:
Since starting a new job and a new training cycle this summer, I’ve also conservatively/cautiously started increasing both volume and speed to my workouts. I was adamant to stick within the recommended 10% mileage increase week over week for safe training (averaging 20 miles/week). I have been diligent about paces as well. Per recommended RRCA training standards: my long runs have been completed at 9:30-10:00 pace, 60-90 seconds off of my goal race pace. Speed and tempo runs have been completed on effort due to humidity and high temps, no faster than 8:00/pace. But as any life long runner knows, sometimes you can do everything right and the body still fights back. With each occurrence over the past few months, there didn’t seem to be any commonality to each flare up. Speed or distance didn’t seem to matter. Sometimes it would just “act up.”
The past two weeks the discomfort has spread. Even after having a spectacular and conservative 6 mile run last Saturday to cap off a stellar training week, I knew by Sunday morning I needed a break. This was confirmed in wise words from my training partner as I sat on a bag of ice.
For the past week I have not run. Each day passing I thought maybe today or maybe tomorrow. The week brought stress and scheduling challenges from work and personal life. My mind and body was tired. I am sure this aided in my aching leg. In the past I would have either:
A) tried to cram it all in anyways
B) would have felt guilty missing a workout
C) ignored the problem and hoped it went away
Instead, I opted for:
D) to listen
Not only to my body, but to the universe. Obviously both were trying to not only slow me down but stop me dead in my tracks. It was clear my energy and attention needed to be spent elsewhere. Message received!!!
It is now Friday and I haven’t run since Saturday. I feel edgy, emotional, and of course out of shape. The later being something that is completely psychosomatic I am sure, but never the less, true for any sidelined athlete.
With all of this extra time…I have taken a step back. I refer back to years of great coaching and wisdom from Ryan Conrad and Jerry Frostick. Time for me to decide how and what should happen next. What can I control? What attitude will I take?
What I will NOT do:
I will not jump back in to the exact spot I walked away from. It would be foolish and risky to tackle the 8 mile run scheduled on my training plan after 7 days off. Duh!!!
I will not spend time thinking about where I would be had this not happened.
I will not neglect self care including warm ups, post run, nutrition, yoga, sleep or massage.
What I WILL do:
Order a boatload of new gear from Brooks!
I have scheduled a massage and a short shake out run for the weekend, both will complement my Saturday obligations of work and beyond.
I will allow myself to feel frustrated but not defeated. This is a minor detour to my destination, not a roadblock.
I will participate in the Rock n Roll 5k in two weeks for a little race practice and for the fun of it. I will absolutely #runhappy and will embrace a fun morning in my Brooks on my boardwalk.
I will implement a more robust nutrition plan complete w carbs, iron, and protein.
I will commit to better sleeping habits as part of my recovery program.
I am weeks away from Crawlin Crab and have matured enough in my running to know that taking a step in the reverse CAN and WILL pay off advantageously for the training cycle moving FORWARD.