Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Training Tip-Injury & Unexpectedly Slow Recovery Dampens My Fall Race Plans

October 1 2014. Training tips--What not to do. It has been a discouraging August and September. Not so good for running but probably good for humility. No risk of getting 'full of yourself' when you cannot run any faster than a weekend jogger...  :(  ... As earlier posts indicated I have an upper hamstring/glutes issue with my right leg. And, of course, have no one to blame but myself. One hears the mantra, pay attention to your body but I had not fully internalized that lesson. I first felt some tightness there on July 26th but pretty much ignored it. After all, I had to finish my prep and then run in Joan Benoit Samuelson's Beach to Beacon 10K Race on August 2nd. And the Elites Director had been kind enough to offer me
That's me there in the second or third row behind the speediest of the speedy.

a Masters Elite entry so I did not want to disappoint. In the event, it apparently was okay. I was a little worried and didn't feel at my best but went ahead and ran a very credible 40:39. The day after the race we did a long day's drive in the car to get home (12 hours), not very smart of me, and I was quite stiff. I probably should have taken some time off and rested but didn't. I had decided I should run in a local race, the Personal Best 5.0 miler that next Saturday, August 9th. It attracts a lot of serious runners from the Indy area whom I only run into occasionally now that I am running nationally and it is just a nice race overall.

The next day, August 4th, I just had an easy 4 mile run but my training log has a note that I was feeling some pain or tightness in the upper hamstring/glutes area. The next day I had a planned speed session on the track--220 yd intervals BUT whenever I tried to run a 220 under 50 seconds, I could not, so ran the planned workout but just 12 slower intervals + enough easy running to make up to almost 5 miles total. [What was I thinking? Was I invulnerable?] The next day I took a couple of ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and fit in a 6 mile tempo, covering the last mile and a half at sub 7 minute per mile pace. Then I did a mild taper toward the race on Saturday. . Again I ignored any tightness and continued with the training and ran on Saturday, August 9th and again although not at my best, ran a fine time, almost a minute faster than I had run the year before, 32:24 for an 88.02%
One Hundred Yards of Personal Best 5.0 Mile Race done, 8700 yards to go! [photo by Brad Haberman]

age grade, within my normal/good range. The next day I ran an easy 7 miles and on Monday, August 11th, I had an interval workout planned. At this point I was looking ahead to the USATF 1 Mile Championship in Flint MI on the 22nd of August. I was able to run it this time, 5 sub-90 440's plus 2 sub-40 220's plus a final 440 in 81.5, I thought I was ready to roll. In fact I was ready to roll over. The next day was an easy 4 miles but had a lot of pain. The day after that, I had to schedule another easy day but still only ran about 5 miles of a 6 mile workout and at a much slower pace. I decided to take Thursday through Sunday off to give myself a little rest and try again on Monday. Listening to my body finally, but too late. I ran  a short, slow workout & tried a couple of surges unsuccessfully. Then took the next day off. Then a short, slow workout on the 20th of August, tried surges-no luck.

I realized my trainers had 500+ miles so decided to switch and got advice from Thom Burleson of Athletic Annex on what to get. Bought new Nike Zoom Elites and tried both with and without heel lifts--Seemed to help but not enough. From the 21st of August to the 26th I would try a day of running and a day of rest but the pain was always there; it did not matter which shoes I wore. Then I took 6 days off and tried another run--easy 3.5 miles but the dull background pain was there-no surges. Off again on again continued for the next week. Finally on Sept 7 I decided that full rest was needed with just swimming, walking
public swimming pools
Swimming Laps in a Pool Like this Helps

and stretching with an occasional day of trying to run if there had seemed to be progress. I had hoped this would be done well before the end of September so I could run in the USATF 5K road championship race in Syracuse but it was not to be. Here I am on October 1st and still not able to take a 2 mile walk without background pain, much less run without pain.

So that's the scoop. I did not 'listen to my body' even after it grabbed me by the lapels and said, "Listen up, buddy, we're sending a sharp pain to your glutes! Then will you take it a little easier?" But I didn't and have now paid the price. I am left wondering how much damage I did to my muscles. Right now I want to enjoy training again. I can't really resume running as part of my training until there is no background pain when I run. I definitely feel like the pain is more manageable and most hours of the day everything is fine. But when I put even a fairly mild stress on my system, like walking a couple of miles, there is dull pain. I keep hoping the next day will bring an end to it but so far no. Swimming laps always seems to help (although defintely not my favorite training) and walking in parks helps maintain my spirit and keep up some aerobics. Watching my diet has kept my weight stationary. So I'm ready to go--just need to get this pain stopped. I had to give up the 5K Championship Race. Now I am starting to worry about the 15K Championship on Oct 26 in Tulsa and the 5K cross country championship in Carmel IN on the 8th of November. We'll see. If I can resume normal training, I will let you know with a new post.

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