Monday, July 17, 2017

When training goes wrong

After running the Chevron Houston marathon this year in January I began working with a run coach.  I knew I wanted to take my running to a different level, but I was clueless on how to get there.  I had never really done speed work.  I had attempted speed work in the past but never knew what paces to run or anything.  I was just winging it and doing whatever I wanted or what my friends were doing.  For the first few months things seemed to being going great.  I got a new PR in the half marathon and 5K.  I was getting faster!  

At the end of April I noticed every run began to feel hard...even the easy pace runs.  My heart rate would be too high. I would stop and walk or take a break.  I had a hard time completing a workout without taking a break.  I dismissed it as being female troubles.  I would take iron 2 weeks before my cycle because I thought that was the reason for my lack of energy, because it really can effect your runs.  I then began to notice some pain in my right shin.  I'm right handed so my right leg is my dominant leg, which is the leg that most people get shin splints.  I've had shin splints before so I just continued on. The pain just kept getting worse.  I went to the Dr. and had x-rays.  He said it was just a really bad shin splint.  He gave me some medication, exercises, and said to take a few rest days.  So I did....

The following week I went back to training.  The leg was feeling somewhat better.  I would hurt during the warmup, but then the pain would subside and I could finish my run.  I set out one day for just an easy 30 min recovery run and could barely run.  I wanted to cry it hurt so bad.  I had also began to notice swelling on the inside of my leg between the calf muscle and the tibia.  I honestly thought it was a stress fracture.  I was hurting that bad.  I went back into the Dr. and it had progressed to a stress reaction.  He said the bone didn't appear to be fractured but was beginning to break down.  I either had to stop running or I was going to end up with a fractured leg.  So that began my 3 week break from running, and life in a boot.  I cross trained 5-6 days during those off weeks by doing either spin or elliptical. 

I am now back to running.  Easing back in and starting to build again for the Chicago Marathon.  I'm hoping things continue good without any pain.  I'm currently putting a lot of miles in on the treadmill.  This is to reduce the stress while things are still healing. 

Here's why things went wrong.  I went from running 90-100 miles a month to running 140-160.  Increasing the mileage would've been ok had I done it correctly.  I usually have two hard workouts a week and the rest are easy miles and recovery.  When I do speed work my coach tells me what paces to run.  Instead of running my sprints at that pace I would just go all out and give it everything I had, sprinting as fast as I could.  Bad idea.  I pushed the pace on every workout.  On easy days when I was supposed to keep my heart rate in zone 1 and 2, I would just run.  Most of the time too fast and not letting my body recover.  I wasn't eating enough and fueling properly either.  After doing this for a few months my body broke.  The fatigue, the increased heart rate, the exhaustion... was all a sign to slow down.  I didn't listen, so naturally the muscles and bones couldn't keep it up and I ended up with an injury.

This was a very humbling experience to say the least.  Running is so important to me.  It's part of who I am.   This time I'm going back into training with a new mindset.  Do I want to do great? Yes.  Am I going to work hard? Yes.  Am I going to listen to my body? Heck yes!  I've been back at it for two weeks now.  The swelling is getting better.  I haven't had much pain.  Most runs I have no pain.  I'm taking my easy days and recovery days serious.  I'm eating to fuel my body.  I'm not pushing the pace.  I'm doing my best to nail the workouts, but if I miss a split, I'm not beating myself up over it.  I'm not being so hard on myself!  My best advice is trust your training, trust your coach.  Don't go rogue!!


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