Confessions of a mileage junkie

I'm feeling a bit like I need an AA for runners.

I am so diligent with training and getting in the miles that a lot of little niggles/pains/minor injuries get put up with or ignored or forgotten about while I power my way through.

And up until this year I pretty much got away with it, and this in turn has created some bad habits. Of course I was able to get away with these things in the past, in the past I took rest days at least a few times a month, I thought 50 mpw was high mileage, I wasn't afraid to modify a plan and be a little flexible, because my goals were never that intimidating and I was able to achieve them.

Somewhere along the way that has changed. Last week was a prime example of training turned ugly. Sitting at dinner with a non running friend Wednesday night trying to defend my attempt at an easy run where I had to alter my pace and gait just to get through pain free. And then trying to do a tempo the next day? What is wrong with me? So here it is out in the open a list of things I have been dealing with since Cleveland. Clearly marathon training has some bumps and there is probably not a single day where everything feels good, but I am wondering if perhaps I have been ignoring some important signs and if perhaps I need to be a little kinder to my self and erase this more is always better mentality and switch to a train smarter not harder mentality.

Plantar Fasciitis. My left heel has had some level of pain every day since the Cleveland marathon attempt. Most days aren't too bad, but I have finished more than one track workout and more than one race limping only to run the next day.

Left Hamstring. My left hamstring still "talks" to me at least once on most runs. It is worlds better than it was this spring, but it is not 100%.

Right Knee. Below my right knee has been "stiff" on and off for over a month. The past month I have avoided stairs to keep it from getting further aggravated as it was painful to put full weight bearing on it while going up and down stairs.

Right Foot. Since early spring on and off my right foot has this sharp shooting pain, I assume a pinched nerve. It goes away if I really focus on form, but I can feel it if I stretch my foot the wrong way.

Left Shin. For the past 2-3 weeks my left shin has been tight beginning runs, last week it reached it's worst pain feeling like it would explode out of my skin Wednesday AM.

In addition to that on any given day my quads, calves, hips, psoas, and lower back muscles are extremely tight or sore.

Now that's out in the open feel free to chastise, commiserate etc.

I am so close to my goal I can taste it, but I need to remember that I need to actually make it to the start line healthy to achieve it.

It seems like such a simple thing when we say "Listen to your body" but marathon training inherently is pushing our bodies close to our limits, and sometimes being stubborn is a much needed trait to put in the work, but sometimes that trait is not your best friend. I'm sure I will have to learn this lesson many more times, but hopefully this confession helps me let it set in a bit. I'm human, I struggle, I'm not perfect.

The past two days have been beautiful. I had two mostly pain free runs and relished every minute. I want to be doing this for years to come. I need to remember to keep this long term goal in mind each day I am pushing my body to it's limits and take a few steps back from that line and be careful not to go over it.


Elizabeth said...

So sorry that you are going thru so much right now but I have been reading your blog for a while now and some how I think I miss the current goal.

You listed all your injuries and talked about ur goal. What is the goal? Why are u pushing ur body this hard and not listening to it?

Define/write down your running goals and see if you are really working towards them.

Running is/should be a beautiful thing.

Sending you quick healing vibes.

E-Speed said...

Thanks Elizabeth! My current goal is to run under 2:46 in the marathon to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials. This is the first time I have put a time deadline on a goal, and I think having to run the time before November 2011 has definitely caused me to throw a little more caution to the wind than I have in the past. I've got some plans to keep myself healthy over the next few months. Mandatory rest days, scheduled massages, and some self imposed yoga days! Hoping that my body will respond well to a few more rest days and some pampering!

Sarah's Cleveland Marathon Training Page said...

I think the only way you can know where the "line" is, is to stick your big toe over it every now and then! Best of luck to you in figuring out a good training balance and reaching your goals!