Saturday, February 26, 2011

If "2 Out Of 3 Ain't Bad," then 4 Out Of 5 Must Be Pretty Good!


Another Thursday, another [hated] tempo run.  If you're a good blog-stalker, you already know that I was sore from Kettlebell class and that I've been having some issues with pain in the ball of my right foot.  My scheduled run for the day was a total of 7 miles -- a 5 mile tempo run at my Long Tempo pace (between 7:12 and 7:24 minutes per mile or 8.1 to 8.3 MPH) bookended by an easy mile lead in & run-out.  

My typical warm-up before running is some active stretching, one of the PT exercises I got last fall to help deal with some knee pain resulting from overactive hip flexors, and a little work on the IT Bands with a foam roller.  The active stretching typically gives me an idea what's going to hurt.  I start with doing a lunge into a knee lift (pulling my knee to my chest) and then stepping that leg forward into another lunge and repeating, holding each position for at least a full second.  After doing some of those, I swap out the knee lift with a hip stretch; instead of pulling my knee to my chest, I pull my ankle up to my pelvis with my knee off to the side.  

The run itself never materialized the way I wanted it to.  The warm up went okay, but my right hammy did not want to loosen up and my ankles just felt sore.  I started off with a brisk walk and gradually built up to about an 8:30 pace.  At 3/4 of a mile, I took a 60 second break to stretch a bit more.  When I hit a mile, I dutifully cranked the treadmill speed up to 8.3 MPH (7:13 pace) and started the tempo run.  

This was one of those runs where there was never any comfort zone.  Ankles were sore, then shins, then hamstrings, then feet, then quads.  I could never settle in to the run and before I had run 2 miles the sole of my right foot felt like there was a fire in my shoe.  I slowed down to a walk for a few hundred meters to see if I could perform a mental and physical reboot for the run.  It only worked briefly and when I realized that my foot-strike and stride was significantly different between my right & left foot,  I made the decision to shut it down a mile short of my 5 mile goal.

I absolutely could have sucked it up and completed the run, but there's always that risk that if I push it, I'll end up tweaking something that affects future workouts.  Keeping perspective is important.  My long term goal is to run the marathon, not complete every workout perfectly on the schedule.  Obviously I can't bail on every run, but the reality is that missing or shorting a run here and there isn't going to affect my long-term goal, especially when "pushing through it" may have more long term consequences.

My plan is still to run 17 miles this weekend and my goal is to get my body ready for that.  Every week is a learning experience for how my body responds to the new stresses I'm putting on it.  Fortunately, I'm a quick learner; I just need to make sure I listen to what it's telling me!

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