If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I’m not doing as much running as I used to. I’ve been trying to do more cross training and less running in hopes of preventing the usual overuse injuries I suffered the past two years when I was training for half marathons.
And while I’m not specifically training for a half marathon right now (though I need to start figuring out my training schedule), I have been running long runs with a couple of friends who are training for half marathons later this month. I gradually built up my mileage on the weekend runs, starting at 4, then 5, 7, 8, 6, … and every run has felt great the whole time. There were some tough moments, but I was able to push through them and not stop running.
That is until my run this past weekend. Normally we do our training runs early in the morning, but Kaitlin had to work until 3, so my schedule was flip flopped. I was able to wake up whenever (but I still woke up at 7), eat a leisurely breakfast, and do some laundry. I had training for agility with my dogs plus a couple others, so I packed up the dogs, their equipment, and my running stuff and headed for 2.5 hours of training. Then I loaded them back up in the truck and we headed to the Legacy Trail to meet Joy and Kaitlin for our run. I changed shoes in the truck, made sure the pups were comfy (windows open, water bowl) and we hit the trail.
I already knew my legs were going to be tired–dog agility is a lot of sprinting, stopping, turning, and while it only lasts 40-60 seconds, it’s intense. I warned the girls I was only going to do 6 miles to their 8, which was fine with me and with them.
Unfortunately Kaitlin learned quickly you can’t train for a half marathon hungover…whomp whomp. Her run wasn’t going well, but we encouraged her through it. After I hit 30 minutes, I turned back and cheered the girls on to finish their run. I had hoped that I would do negative splits for the last half of my run, but my legs had other thoughts. My hips started tightening up and my old friend the IT band started to flare up. (I had bad IT band problems when I was training for my first half in 2012, but I was able to rectify that last year.) I was forced to walk a little bit every mile, nothing that I was proud of.
I wasn’t even this sore during our 8-mile run a couple of weeks ago. But I pushed through, especially when I knew I had just one mile left. And when I made it back to the truck, I stretched, got the dogs out, and walked them for two miles while I waited for Joy and Kaitlin to return from their run. The walk helped loosen up my hips some, but I was already starting to get stiff.
This is when I realized I had done too much. I would hope that had we switched the order of the day, my run would have been better. Running mid-afternoon meant my nutrition was off (I was starving by the time we ran, but hadn’t eaten much because I was afraid of an upset stomach) and I had already tired my legs with the pounding during agility. I’m usually a little more aware of my energy levels when we train agility.
We all have rough runs… We all have to know our limits… If I want to stay injury-free, I have to remember that I don’t need to push myself. We don’t always have to set PRs, but just to finish the run is the accomplishment.
So here’s to better runs. Some foam rolling, stretching, and rest has remedied my IT band, but I know it won’t take much to get it to rear its ugly head again.
Here’s to better runs!
Your turn: Have you had one of those “gut-check” runs that reminded you of your limits? How did you deal with that mentally?