This whole training thing can mess with your head. In typical Type A-personality style, I have been diligently following the plan to a T, and obsessing about every minor detail. My week started reasonably well:
- Monday: recovery 2.2miles recovery run with my beginners running group
- Tuesday: 5.5 miles with 5*400m repeats with 200m recoveries
- Wednesday: 6 miles hill run around Durham
By Wednesday my legs were pretty tired, and my left shin was twinging. So, of course, my immediate thoughts were ‘oh god, they’re shin splints, I’m going to be off my legs for ages, where’s the ice, I NEED ICE GODDAMMIT!!’
On Thursday I taught a pole class, which included some lovely stretches, and on Friday I had a sports massage. As well as pummeling my legs til they felt like bruised bananas, the physio reassured me that the twinge was muscular rather than on the bone. So…. I may have overreacted.
This is where my head is struggling: what is normal fatigue for this amount of exercise, and what’s a warning of oncoming injury? When can I push through, and when should I pull back?
I’ve written before about the mental aspects of running. I think all runners must be people who like to be in control to some extent: we set a goal, and then push ourselves to reach it. If you’re not in control of the situation – or of your own abilities to push through at least – then it will be tougher to overcome challenges and obstacles as you face them. I read somewhere that how you train is how you will race: if you don’t go for that sprint finish on a Saturday, you won’t on race day. If you give in to temptation and stop during the run, you’ll be tempted on race day.
Back to my
hypochondria injury caution. I don’t want training to suffer, but I don’t want to push through and injure myself. And I don’t want to fall behind in what I should be able to do by being too cautious. I mean, I’ve already missed my chance of being a Hollywood star from being too cautious to move to L.A. and be discovered. It would be awful if I didn’t learn from my mistakes (every Oscars weekend brings with it contemplation of the life I should have led… that Jennifer Lawrence now has).
So – as per the physio’s recommendation, I’ve taken 3 days off to let my banana legs get back to normal. And now it’s time to make some lifestyle changes: less fast food, more sleep, less wine, more stretches, less obsessing, more monitoring on a normal level. From there, I’ll see how each day goes and … generally try not to freak out.
For anyone who’s reading this who have already run the Great 26.2 – I know this isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff. But when it’s the first time, you’re aware of everything. With every event you want to give yourself the best chance, but I don’t know how to train for this! There’s a fine balance there somewhere, and I’m trying to find it.
Does it sound like my approach would work? Are there any other tips?
I saw this in Runner’s World today and it 100% captured the whimsy I love about running (except when you’re on a strict training schedule). Where have you run today?
P.S. SB and I just finished Captain Phillips. It’s amazing!! It was so tense that I barely took a breath throughout the whole thing.