The fallout …. 1:32:13

Posted: January 27, 2010 in Training

So here we are on Wednesday morning three days after the Austin 3M Half Marathon and it is time to take stock of training and recovery.  Last week I took the opportunity to blog about the benefits of racing during marathon training – you can view the post here:  For the most part race day did provide quite a few answers on Sunday but it also raised a major question in my mind as I continue my preparations for Boston.

One of the major questions I had leading up to the Half-Marathon was whether or not my right shin injury had in fact been fully resolved.  Was I now to the point where I could run a considerable distance, (13.1 miles) and run pain-free after a period of physical therapy and a slow return to training.  Over the past two weeks my nightly stretching exercises and ice routine had dramatically reduced any discomfort in my shin area (tibia).  I did however have a lingering doubt in the back of my mind that I was truly recovered from shin splints.

I recently ordered a shin splint sleeve from Zensah that was advertised to support the recovering muscles surrounding the tibia as well as promote increased blood circulation to the injured area.  As anyone who has experienced shin splints – the pain which at times is quite severe – I was ready to try just about anything and everything to resume my normal training schedule.  The results on Sunday were nothing short of tremendous.  I was able to really push the pace throughout the race and finish strong – bettering my goal of 1:37:00 +/- by almost 5 full minutes at 1:32:13.  My final full mile at 6:48 was well below my overall pace of 7:02, leaving me with the feeling that I did not leave my best “Boston effort” on the race course in Austin. I feel as if I could have actually pushed the pace a bit more this past week and perhaps threatened the 1:30:00 mark.  You can read a full race report here:

As good as my physical performance was on Sunday, there is one test however that I feel I failed rather spectacularly which was keeping my emotions in check and not falling into the “race” trap.  As the miles ticked by on Sunday and I knew I was doing a terrible job of slowing my pace and staying within my race plan (7:30 +/- pace) I simply could not shut my competitive juices down and race “my race”.  Whether it was the crowds, the downhill course, the competitors around me or the number pinned to my chest – I simply needed to do better.

Tuesday’s 3-mile recovery run as well as this morning’s 6-mile pace run were completed without incident, no pain, no soreness and no set-backs.  I am fortunate to be in this situation and I know it.  I really needed to take it easy on Sunday and not increase my chance of a re-injury to my shin area.  Instead I let my emotions get the best of me and took an unnecessary chance that thankfully I did not have to pay the price for.

I realize that come April I will need to do a much better job of managing my race at Boston so that I am able to complete the second leg of the Run for Dom at the Pittsburgh Marathon just 13 days later.  Being able to impress at Boston by achieving a new PR (personal record) is not the goal.  Never has been, never will be.

I need to really focus on being able to run a smart race, recover and perform well at Pittsburgh a little less than two weeks later – which will provide the true test.  Keeping my eye on the prize is my focus moving forward.

Physical questions were answered in a very positive way on Sunday.  My rest, rehabilitation and cycling cross-training to build quadricept strength for the downhill nature of the Boston Marathon course all were passed with flying colors.  My mental preparation however left something to be desired.

I plan on paying great attention to my weekly pace runs (endurance) as well as my tempo runs (speed) to make sure I am able to stay within myself, not get caught up in the moment and stay focused.  I have always said about the marathon that it is a far greater mental challenge than physical.  This past week has only affirmed that view in my mind. 

From this point forward I am going to dedicate myself to treat each training run with a specific goal and purpose – never losing sight of the road ahead.  It’s time to walk the walk and not only talk the talk.  I must say however, it did feel good to go fast  at the 3M Sunday’s race was a lot of fun.  I’m just fortunate that I was able to recover quickly and get right back to training.  Only 84 days left to Boston.  Lesson learned – keep your eye on the prize.

  1. Sarah says:

    So great to hear your shin splints are gone and you are recovering from your race pain-free! You give me hope. 🙂 I’ll have to check out the Zensah compression socks. I have compression sleeves I mostly wear after long runs on the treadmill, but they don’t seem as comfortable as the Zensah.

    Good luck with the mind games! 😉

    • joerunfordom says:

      Sarah – thanks so much for the visit. I will tell you that the Zensah sleeve has really made a big difference in my recovery from runs. Until using the sleeve I still felt a little soreness after a run and then relied on ice to address the discomfort. The added pressure and improved blood circulation to the area really seems to have helped. Best of luck with the battle – I’ve never valued pain-free running more than recently – it really is a gift.

      Take care – Joe

  2. onelittlejill says:

    I cannot tell you how happy I am to read abut the Zensah sleeve- I just bought the same one for the same reason. I am so thrilled to hear it worked and I hope I have similiar results. I suffer from both ITB and shin splits, and yes they can be very painful. Lately my mileage has increased so I purchased the sleeve. This weekend I plan to try it out after my long run! Thanks for the review!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Jill – wow, you have the double-whammy for sure with IT Band and shin splint issues. I really think you will see a big difference with the Zensah sleeve – I am absolutely a convert! Best of luck this weekend! Joe

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