From the outside looking in I’m sure that sometimes this marathon training stuff must look pretty easy.
Joe goes out, knocks out 8, 10, 12, 20, 22 milers at will. Runs his hill repeats, two runs on Tuesdays, races half-marathons …. no problem.
Well, it really isn’t that easy.
There are plenty of days where the muscles ache, I am monitoring a sore area trying to discern the slight difference between “soreness” and “injury”.
Soreness we work our way through. Soldier on, do the best we can and stay the course. It is on those days the marathoner is chiseled from stone.
But when pain and soreness is the precursor to injury – that is when it is far more important to be smart than tough.
Over the final 5 miles of my 22-mile training run last Sunday I noticed some soreness on the top of my right foot. A runner’s feet swell a bit over the course of a long run, and it appeared that I simply ran long in shoes, or more specifically, a right shoe that was tied too tight.
I pressed on, finished the 22-miler, my best long run of the training cycle in fact, and went about my usual post-run recovery.
I ran my double workout on Tuesday, an easy paced 12-miler on Wednesday and finally my hill repeat session on Thursday. After four days the discomfort on the top of my foot should have been gone. But it was still there. Nagging at me, letting me know that it was a warning sign. Time to back off.
So this weekend I decided to skip my Saturday and Sunday runs. 12 miles on Saturday, followed by another 22-miler on Sunday. Squashed.
I took it easy, tried to stay off of my feet the best I could, although Landry was pretty determined to make sure Dad was still chasing her around the house quite a bit.
I woke up on Monday morning, put the Tri Bike up on the trainer in the garage and rode hard for 60 minutes. The kind of low-gear, hard-cranking workout that simulates a hard training ride up and down hills on the road. Not just an easy spin in high-gear.
After a sweat-soaked hour, I got down off the bike and my foot felt very good. I no longer had that nagging pain on the top/inner side of my right foot, and tomorrow morning we will fall back into our marathon training schedule for Boston.
Missed training days are just that. Missed.
There is no reason to attempt to “make them up” or “squeeze them in” to your remaining schedule. That approach is the one that causes runners and endurance athletes to miss even more training time due to injury, turning a precursor or warning signal into a full-fledged problem.
I may not be getting any younger, but hopefully with age comes a bit of wisdom.
Yeah, it pretty much sucked this weekend missing my runs, but they are gone.
34 miles missed out of more than 1,250 preparing for Boston will be the equivalent of removing a handful of sand from an entire beach. They will hardly be noticed.
Being 100% healthy at the starting line in Hopkinton, MA on April 16th is all I need to be concerned with, so I backed off and played it safe this weekend.
There will be plenty of opportunities to “go for it” at Boston. This past weekend, just wasn’t one of them.