That time when I had a running blog………..

Skiing picture

So my return to running after my calf sprain has not gone so well. In fact it hasn’t gone at all. I took a rest week and then decided that I should run three days in a row. Not smart, but I was putting pressure on myself to get into my marathon training schedule. And you probably can guess what happened next.

Mon 1/12: Rest

Tues 1/13: 3 treadmill miles at 8.41 min/mile

Wed 1/14: 6 miles at 8.19 min/mile

Thurs 1/15: 2.5 miles at 8.35 min/mile

Fri 1/16: Rest

Sat 1/17: Strength + 40 mins AMT

Sun 1/18: 2500 m swim

If you guess that I would pull my calf muscle even more painfully than before………..Congratulations! Please come and claim your prize. The actual story of how it all went down is a lesson in running misery. My calves were feeling OK on Tuesday and Wednesday – just a little tight but not terrible. And the first 2 miles of my Thursday morning run actually felt pretty good. Then. BAM! OMG my calf hurts like a MOFO and I am 1.5 miles from home. Wearing my early morning running gear – headlamp, hi-vis vest. With no phone. And it was cold. I walk-limped slowly home – the runner’s walk of shame. Pissed off at my calf. And frustrated that I couldn’t move any quicker. By the time I got home the tips of my fingers were numb and I was Cranky McCrankyson, the mayor of CRANKYTOWN. I wasn’t really surprised though – I usually get swept up in the “too much too soons”, and although my marathon isn’t until May 16th I guess I wanted the security of completing ever single run in my marathon training plan. Well, that is not going to happen (Sarah – any thoughts on a 16 week marathon training plan?).

So I’ve been switching up my cross-training.

Mon 1/19: Skiing at Powder Mountain

Tues 1/20: 4 miles on the elliptical

Wed 1/21: 2000 m swim

Thurs 1/22: Yoga

Fri 1/23: Strength workout

I managed to hobble around work on Thursday and Friday – seriously guys, everyone was asking what I had done to myself. It was not pleasant. Days like that really make you appreciate the simple joy of being able to walk normally. I was feeling slightly better over the weekend and managed to get in some low impact cardio – including my first time ever in a 50 meter pool! It was awesome – until some guy broke lane protocol and we nearly collided. I hope he managed to get the full impact of my stink eye from behind my goggles.

Luckily, MLK was a holiday for me and I scored an awesome deal on ski tickets for Powder Mountain – one of the ski resorts that I have never visited before. It was so quiet there – no lift lines, beautiful views and low snow coverage. We still managed to get a ton of runs in (of the ski variety of course), and I even managed to conquer my fear of skiing between widely spaced aspens on a mellow downhill slope. Living on the edge over here! Skiing is such a great way to get outside in the winter (plus it was around 30F with no wind), and this particular resort has a ton of backcountry-type areas where you feel like you are skiing through a forest away from civilization. Plus a great way to crosstrain – that quad burn!

Tuesday and Wednesday were back to cardio. It’s funny, when I’m swimming I never feel like I’m working that hard but as soon as I finish my set I can feel my heart-rate and boy it is racing. As for the elliptical – I just have to play mind games to stay on that thing. Yoga this week was all about the hips – and it felt great. I felt lighter (even though this sounds weird) all day Thursday and even today – like a weight I didn’t even realize I had been carrying had been lifted off me. In yoga class, they often say that you carry stress/feelings in your hips. To be honest I’ve always felt as this was a little quacky (hello – scientist) but something was unloaded after that class.

I’ve also been doing consistent strength work (the number one thing that usually gets left of my list when I get busy) – mainly the exercises recommended by my physiotherapist over the last year. For me, this means focusing on building leg strength, and because I have a clear muscle imbalance between my right and left legs, this means a lot of single leg work – squats, leg press, leg raises, bridges. Although I can see feel differences in the stabilization between my left (stronger) and right (weaker) legs, I think that things are improving. It’s a little ironic that right now I’m in the best shape of my life – but I can’t run. Damn you Alanis!

So the plan for now……….Well diving straight into a marathon training plan is not going to work for me. So I think I’m going to do what worked for me before. Start back with a walk-run program until my calf pain is gone, and then increase mileage without worrying about pace. It sounds so easy/impossibly difficult for this inpatient chick.

Any advice for starting marathon training in less than ideal conditions?

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25 thoughts on “That time when I had a running blog………..

  1. Hey! So sorry to hear about your pain!! You are mentally and physically tough, so I know you’ll work out your marathon training. Great job on your runs, swim, workouts, and doing yoga!! Have a wonderful weekend! XOXO

  2. charissarunning says:

    Aw I’m so sorry to hear about all your troubles too. I think we all tend to try diving in too quickly unfortunately :/ I think the biggest thing to do right now is to adjust your mind. I know you were hoping to possibly gun it for a BQ (and I’m not saying you can’t because you definitely have the speed!), but don’t make that your focus. Focus on easing back into running and not putting pressure on yourself with your paces (like you said) or with overall mileage. You can still run a marathon even if your longest run before it is only 16-18 miles instead of 20+ and even if your weekly average is closer to 30 than 40 or 50. Maybe run every other day for awhile as you get back into it… Of course, these are all things I have to remind myself about too because it’s easier said than done 😉 Feel better!!

  3. FLRunnerBoy says:

    UGH!!!! My heart breaks for you Irish! I sorry about this setback. This dark hanging over you, Jen, Allison, Charissa, and me has got to lift eventually and we’ll be stronger from it all.

  4. Martha B says:

    What a bummer 😦 I’m sorry you’re going through this right now. Sending lots of happy healing thoughts your way. It’s nice to hear you’re having fun crosstraining, and that ski trip sounds fantastic. Have a great weekend!!

    • Skiing is a great way to exercise without feeling like you’re working out! And getting in the mountains in winter – yes please! Thanks for the healing thoughts – I hope they can make it all the way to Utah!

  5. I know how frustrating this can be, and I have been there plenty of times. Just try to take it one step at a time and not worry too much about training yet. I have had setbacks that have kept me from training for my 1/2 in 7 weeks and Im just trying not to think about it and focus on getting healthy. I would rather run a slow race than not be able to run it or have to run in pain. Good luck and I hope you’re feeling better soon!

    • You’re right Lisa! There’s no point beating up your body for one race. It is frustrating but I’m trying to think 3 months ahead and how I know that it’ll be a slow, steady progress to get back to where I was. But there’ll be plenty of other races in my future. Hope that you are feeling better!

  6. I am so, so sorry you are dealing with this. This happened to me in late June and I didn’t kick it until early September – but because I was impatient and unwilling to rest. What fixed me? Breaking down and going to the doctor and getting into PT. My strain responded to graston, ultrasound, and massage – same thing they are doing for my Achilles right now. Works absolute miracles. If you are not into going to the doc, you may be able to find a chiropractor that does Graston. Its painful, but pretty awesome. Once, I even did acupuncture for plantar fasciitis. It actually loosened my calves a lot but didn’t fix my issue. May also be worth checking out!

    You have the best cross training option of all. Access to a pool. Some people aren’t as fortunate. I have trained for marathons completely in the pool – 2011 Boston training, week 6 got diagnosed with a stress fx in my tibia. Wasn’t super fun, but spent the next six weeks living at the pool. Aqua jogging is so boring but it really, really works. I would mix that up with swimming and it kept my endurance enough that once I was “back” I got in a 15 mile run on the roads before the race. Like Charissa said, you can run a marathon on less than a 20 mile run (I might be doing it at my next marathon because we got a huge dumping of snow yesterday – will make my long run interesting tomorrow!).

    The other thing – you do yoga. While you are not running, keep that up! I used to teach yoga – I’m taking a break since I’m working on my running goals – but I had zero muscle/tendon injuries when I did yoga regularly. I can’t seem to find the happy medium though. Too much actually makes you too flexy and takes away your speed. I got faster when I cooled it on my mat. But the hip thing – they taught us that in teacher training. A lot of people hold so much stress in their hips and back. I’ve taught classes that focus on backbending and had people break down crying in the middle for no reason. So you are 100% right thinking you felt like you had a weight lifted! And also – love that you ski! I feel like you could be my long lost sister. Lots in common! I looked up the trail map for Powder Mountain – so jealous! I need to get out west for some skiing! Good for you!

    • Allsion this is super helpful. I haven’t gone to the doctor yet – mainly because it was super obvious to me what happened (there’s no mistaking when you pull a muscle). Most of what I’ve read on the interwebs calls for 5/6 weeks before you are back to normal (insert sad face). But I really like my PT so I might make an appointment with her if I don’t see improvement soon.

      I’m treating long swimming sessions as a substitute for long runs, so hopefully that will help. Plus I can even work in a lunchtime session. I can’t believe you could still run Boston with 6 weeks out of running! I’m also glad that this will be my second marathon so even if I can’t work it up to 18+ miles I still know what I’ve let myself in for. I also have the tightest hips ever (according to my PT!) so yoga is always a challenge for me – and something that got left to the side during my last marathon training season.

      I think once you ski out west you’ll never go back!

  7. I’d say keep up the cross training and build your fitness that way. The elliptical is DULL but at least you will be on there for a reason. Even when you can run again, go easy and maintain the cross training. It’s not an ideal plan, but 16 weeks is plenty of time. I got injured midway through training for my first ever marathon, and although I wouldn’t exactly recommend my approach, I turned up and ran off little more than a14 mile training run and LOADS of elliptical time. Everyone said I wouldn’t be able to finish, but I did and I had a great time. You may have to reset your goals, but taking part is still an option so long as you get your recovery right. Good luck 🙂

    • Thanks Allison! I’ve kind of accepted that this is not the race that I will try and beat my PR. My main goal is to get there uninjured and hopefully with enough miles to get through it. And even deciding that in my mind has taken a lot of the pressure off myself. Finishing a marathon is a big freaking deal!

  8. Boo, I’m sorry! I had a really cross-training heavy week this week, which at first I was disappointed about, but now I’m realizing it’s not so bad. Wishing you patience, and a speedy recovery!

    • I appreciate it! I’m glad that you can run again. And I need to build up slowly with lots of crosstraining – and it isn’t that bad really just not where I wanted to be right now. But the pity party is over and I’m focusing on long term goals. Well, trying my best.

  9. I am so behind over here. What a bummer week! I totally get it and understand. I most certainly have been there. I think you might actually benefit from a 15-16 week training plan. And you can make those first base building weeks a way to ease back into the running. I know it is so frustrating to deal with this and ease back in but you are doing it the right way. Keep swimming, yogaing, and that annoying elliptical. All is most definitely not lost.

    • Thanks Sarah. And thanks for your post yesterday about how 18 weeks plan are not the only way to go with marathon training. Easing back in is not my personality but I’m forcing myself to do it – trying to think long term – but it’s so boring! Luckily, I timed my injury to coincide with the arrival of individual tv screens on the cardio machines at the gym. So on the up side I’m watching all my guilty pleasure tv shows *COUGH*The Kardashians*COUGH*.

  10. Oh no! Sorry you are injured again! You are doing everything right though…a run/walk plan is the best way to go about it when you can return. When I was injured and started my re-training it was frustrating to see 10-11min/miles, but I had to tell myself that I would rather run slow than not be able to run at all-hold back now so I can be stronger than ever later. And with all the OTHER training you are doing, you will without a doubt be an even better athlete than ever once you are healed! Hang in there!

    • Thank you! I am starting back with run-walk intervals and they seem to be going OK. It’s funny it’s how I came back from my last big injury and it totally worked for me that time – I don’t know why I didn’t do that this time. Lesson learned (hopefully!). And doing some running (even if it feels slow) is better than nothing!

  11. Dang, that’s tough. I sprained my calf the other year and I know how annoying it is. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Keep doing whatever you can to stay active (that doesn’t hurt your calf) – hopefully that won’t let you fall too far behind in your training

    • Thanks. I feel like my body is systematically subjecting me to every running injury out there. Oh well – I’m not in full blown panic mode yet. What’s the worst that can happen – I don’t get to run a race? That’s not the worst thing in the world by a long shot.

  12. Oh crap. 😦 I’m so sorry about your calf. I’ve found that every time I’m hurt the elliptical just makes the situation worse so I stuck to the bike a lot. I didn’t feel like I lost too much of my fitness when I had tendonitis and was able to pick back up in training pretty easily. Also sticking with yoga. I really hope you’re feeling better fast. ::hug::

    • Thanks so much! Internet hugs are the best! It’s always a little crappier when you know that you’ve done too much too soon and make yourself worse. I have a weird aversion to biking indoors but swimming is becoming my jam – plus my new pool has a hot tub! That helps with recovery, right? And you totally rocked your marathon while battling your foot injury so I’m hoping I’ll be the same.

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