Running Through Injuries… A Few Thoughts

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

I’ve been running for 30 years, and one thing that experience has given me is an appreciation for the complexity of any decision to either continue training through an injury or to just shut down for a while.   Professional medical judgment is essential when you have a real problem, but what about that suspected ‘run-of-the-mill’ ache or pain that is pretty typical of the repetitive motion of running and walking we all love?  Ignoring important signals and charging through a training plan while injured can really set you back.

For me, the six big questions to answer are…

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On Training: Simulate Race Conditions

John Faith has been with Metro Run and Walk since 2004

John has been with Metro Run and Walk since 2004 and enjoys being active!

As you read this, we’ve all just celebrated our year-end holidays and, hopefully, survived the New Year’s Eve events!

Many of us have also entered the time of post-race season reflections, and some are even feeling the “post-race season blues.”  It’s time to take a look back on our year – what we would have/should have/could have done (or not done, as the case may be) differently this past year.  It’s also time to think about the upcoming year with those same thoughts in mind.

I’d like to take this opportunity to again expound on two of my favorite themes as a prelude to the new year: training the appropriate muscle, and nothing new on race day.

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MCM13: My training ends…

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

For the last two weeks, I have agonized over whether or not I would be able to continue.

The really short story is that about two weeks ago, I was injured to the point where I had to interrupt training, stop running, and seek medical attention.  I’ve been working with my sports chiropractor, Dr. Kathy Coutinho, Positively Chiropractic and yesterday we both came to the conclusion that the smartest thing is to completely heal and rehab and come back for a late spring/early summer marathon.

Keep reading for the long version…

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MCM13: Week 13 & 14 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

My daughter’s wedding was last week and between prepping for it, training, and working, I couldn’t get to the computer for the Week 13 Recap so this week’s recap includes both Week 13 and 14.

The wedding was wonderful.  My daughter was incredibly beautiful,  Everything went really well — the rehearsal (but not really rehearsal) dinner at our house the night before, the setup prior to the wedding and reception at Sharp Rock Vineyard in Sperryville, VA,  getting dressed. the wedding itself, the reception, and the clean-up the following morning.   Everything was perfect with just one tiny little hitch.  After a long stretch of absolutely beautiful sunny days, it was pouring all day on wedding day!  In the end, it didn’t matter and wasn’t a problem.  We had a rain contingency plan and plenty of shelters and umbrellas.  The rain stopped long enough so that the ceremony was held in the pine forest, which was contingency plan #2.

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MCM13: Week 12 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

My oldest daughter, Marjorie, is getting married on Saturday the 21st and things are getting pretty busy around here getting ready.  Throw in training using the Hansons Method with 49 scheduled miles for the week, a key employee being on vacation and needing to work the floor more than usual, flooring work being done in a rental house we own and needing to be present when the renter is at work, and a trail 1/2 marathon and you’ve got an insane woman.

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MCM13: Week 11 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Hopefully the challenges that faced me last week with blisters, a sore toe and lung pain are indeed behind me.  I look forward to this week with anticipation and the expectation that I will be back on track.

Week 11 introduces the Strength workouts and takes another pretty big jump with a total of 54 miles this week.  The additional miles are added in the Tuesday Strength workout which totals 8-10 miles depending on how long a warm-up and recovery you do, and the Long run topping out at the magical 16 miles. Continue reading

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MCM13: Week 10 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Week 10 is an easier week in terms of the workouts, but only one less mile than last week.  The easy runs are a bit longer now and I’ve got the last of the Speed workouts this week.

I come into this week with toe problems on both feet.  Nothing serious or insurmountable, but annoying (blisters and toenail)

As you’ll see though, I do have what could be a significant setback this week.

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MCM13: Week 9 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Here I am, halfway through the training for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon.  Overall, I am really enjoying the training and have come to appreciate the method.  Even though I’ve read the book several times and some of the chapters many times, I’m not sure I fully understand the science behind it, so there is a little bit of a “leap of faith” following the training.  Sure, lots of people have followed it and been successful, but as most of ask as I do “What about me?”

I think its ok to feel this way.  For me, its makes me more committed to following the plan.  For sure there are days when I don’t feel like running, or I’m feeling tired, or I don’t want to get up so early but overall not as much as I expected or feared.   I still have much to learn and lots of running to do before October 26, but am feeling pretty good about how things are going.

I am still listening to The Winter Sea, the story of the 1708 failed attempt by the Jacobites to bring King James of Scotland back to the throne of England.

Lessons Learned:

  • Choose shorter books.  I  like to listen to a different story each week.
  • Read the entire summary and review of the book.  I had a completely different impression of what the story would be.
  • Listen to the excerpt before purchasing the book to make sure you like the narrators voice and tempo.

All in all though, I did enjoy listening to the book and learned a lot about Scottish life in 1708.

After my run on Sunday of Week 8, Mark and I traveled to a retail conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

What a pretty little city.  The Grand River (yes, with wide slow rapids) flows right through the city.  Ordinarily, on the east side of the river, there is a path that parallels that river, but parts of it are under construction and closed for a short time.

This week, the plan takes another jump in intensity with the lengthening of both the Tempo Run (from 5 to 8 miles) and the Long Run (from 10 to 15 miles).   Those are big jumps in distances and based on how I was feeling at the end of the 5 mile Tempo Run and 10 mile Long run, going another 50% longer worries me.  I hope my training to this point has prepared me for it.

It takes a good number of tempo workouts before you fully internalize the pace and can regulate your runs based on feel.  What does change throughout training is the distance of these workouts.  Tempo runs are progressive in length, adjusting every few weeks, increasing from 5 miles to 10 miles over the last few weeks of training.

Week 9 Plan vs Actual

Week 9 Plan vs Actual

Monday 8/19

Beautiful, relatively cool morning here in Grand Rapids.  Ran North – South hoping to find sections where I could run along the river.  Never did, but enjoyed the run nonetheless.  Every ¾ mile or so, there is a riverside park so that made the feel of the run less urban.

You know how a sock can really dominate a run?  Well, last Saturday was a bad sock day and I ended up with a pretty big blister on the outside of my left big toe.  I haven’t had a blister in years.  It was a pretty big one though and it hurt so I have been wearing a gel toe cap since then to protect it and stop it from getting worse.

Tuesday 8/20

Gerald R. Ford Museum and Grounds

Gerald R. Ford Museum and Grounds

What is it about me that attracts groundskeepers and painters?  I crossed the river to run 1k laps around the Gerald Ford Museum.   The grounds were beautiful with grass, trees, flowering shrubs, flowers and a pretty fountain.   During my warm-up lap, no groundskeeper.  As soon as I start my first 1k interval, the groundskeepers virtually attacked the property.  It was a siege!  Grass flying, and freshly mowed grass smell clogging up my nose and lungs.

Having never done speed work before I started with Hansons, somehow I expected that even though the distance increased that it gets easier  because the number of repetitions decreased.  Silly me!  Not so.  5 x 1k was hard.

My goal pace for the 1k intervals was 4:48.   I was a few seconds slower than goal time on 3 of the 5 (4:55, 4:50, 4:50) laps, so I was feeling dispirited after finishing.  I worked really hard.  Is this an indication that I can’t run a sub 4:00 marathon if I can’t even hit the goal time on all my intervals?

On the flight home, I started reading The Charge, Activating the 10 Human Drivers That Make You Feel Alive, by Brendon Burchard.   (Yes, I can read as well as listen to books :>)  Chapter Three: The Drive for Competence starts with the following quote:

A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself.  — Alexander Dumas

Well that hit home!  Here I was feeling doubtful about achieving my goal based on NOTHING!  I remembered that the whole point of the training was to train my body for the marathon, not for the interval.  The intervals are simply one piece of the training and that my time goals for the speed work are based on a 24:00 5k which is actually a little bit faster than a 4:00 marathon.

Find your goal pace for 5k or 10k and run the designated interval as close to that pace as possible.

It doesn’t say run faster than the goal pace.  And a 1-2 second deviation (slower) which is how much I missed the intervals by is NOTHING!

Wednesday 8/21

Back home enjoying an off day.

Thursday 8/22

Today is the Tempo 8 which is a 3 mile increase in the Tempo run.  My goal pace for the Tempo run is 9:09 miles.  Because I had a 9am meeting at the store and Mark was in an early morning meeting in West Springfield, I decided to ride with Mark to his place of meeting and then run to the store.  I ran my warm-up through one of the neighborhoods in West Springfield until I arrived at one of the paths that access the Lake Accotink Park trail system.

I stayed on the trails and paths during the entire Tempo run so I could take advantage of the shade.  Surprisingly, I hit the 5 mile mark and didn’t feel fatigued.  Last week, when I hit the 4.5 mile mark for the 5 mile Tempo, I was thinking about how tired I was and how I was looking forward to finishing.  This week, even with the big increase in Tempo distance, I didn’t feel fatigued until the 7.5 mile mark.  I finish with an average 9:11 pace.  I’m feeling very happy with my time.

Have continued to wear the toe cap and the blister isn’t getting worse, but its not really getting better either.  And now after this morning’s Tempo run, I have a really bad blister on the inside of the left big toe so now I have big blisters on both sides of my toe.  Ouch.

Friday 8/23

I wrap my toe in gauze and then Duck tape.  It really hurts to put the tape on but once its on and my socks and shoes are on, it feels better.  Off I go on an Easy 6.  Dang it!  I forgot to charge my Garmin and it powers down after about a half mile.  I think my pace was probably 10:15 – 10:30, just right for an easy run.

Saturday 8/24

I feel like a baby complaining, but my toe hurts!  The blisters keep filling with fluid which tells me I’ve still got a problem.  This morning I wear my Injinji toe socks hoping that will help.

Run an Easy 5.

Sunday 8/25

Happy Birthday to me!

I’ve got a Long 15 to do this morning so I best prepare my toe wisely.  I put Spenco Blister Pads on both sides and then Injinji toe socks.  I probably should have wrapped it with the Duck tape again, but I didn’t.  I come to regret that.

I’ve having a great Long run.  Pace is good, working but not too hard.  Even do a little walking on some of the stiffer hills.  Again, I was expecting to fatigue at the 10 mile mark but no problem.  Still running strong until I get to about 14.5 then I start to feel pretty tired.  At about mile 12, I was really feeling the blisters on my left big toe and new toe pain on my right foot.  I know this pain.  My feet swelled and toe #3 on my right foot is banging into the front and top of the shoe.  Definitely going to loose that toe nail.

Sure enough, when I get home and take my shoes and socks off, I can already see the gray ghosting of the toenail.

Aside from toe problems, a hugely successful run!  I’m really happy.

Later that day I was talking to Paula and Fred (sister-in-law and brother-in-law; see Week 2).  They asked me how the training was going and how my long run went today and I told them how surprised I was that I didn’t feel fatigued as soon as I expected to.   Fred very simply said that my perception, thinking, and mental feeling was influencing me, not my physical feeling.  Another epiphany!  I think that’s true to a large extent.  On my Tempo 5, I was feeling fatigued towards the end of my run, but the very next week on my Tempo 8 I wasn’t feeling fatigued until the end of that run in spite of the (relatively) big increase in miles.

Confidence is key.

Summary

Another really good week of training.  I’ve just to solve my toe problems so they don’t get in the way.  That’ll easily be solved with shoes a half-size longer and more consistent use of Duck tape.

Until next week, train well and stay healthy.

Helen

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MCM13: Week 8 with the Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Another week passes and I am now 10 weeks out from this year’s Marine Corps Marathon.   I really don’t know how people with more traditional work hours get in their running, especially if they are morning runners such as myself.  Of course,  up to this point, the week day runs haven’t been high mileage and I have a fair amount of flexibility in my schedule since the store doesn’t open until 10am. Continue reading

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MCM13: Week 7 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Undoubtedly the hardest week of running in many years for me.  It wasn’t the mileage or the frequency… it was the location.  We were on vacation at Smith Mountain Lake and THERE IS NOWHERE to run that is ANYTHING CLOSE TO FLAT!  Well, let me temper that a little bit.  I was able to find 600m for my Tuesday speed workout that was a mild convex but other than that, there were hills, hills, and more hills.

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