Skip to main content

Chicago Marathon Training -- Part I

So I started training for my first marathon (again) in June. I had a setback almost immediately, hence the NO RUNNING days. After a fairly busy race season over the past fall and winter (three half-marathons), I should have rested before taking on this new endeavor. But I didn't; instead, I joined a running group and intensified my running because I was a newbie and felt I needed to be competitive to prove myself. The result? Unforgiving shin splints and persistent pain in the muscles surrounding my right shin. Out of fear that the pain might turn into a(nother) stress fracture if I kept running, and upon the unsolicited advice of several friends, I grudgingly decided it would be better to rest early on to prevent an injury than to push through and possibly create an injury that may take me out of training completely.

I'm the first to admit that I'm stubborn about training. To get a personalized training schedule, I looked at several different training schedule put together by actual professionals (Runner's World, Hal Higdon, etc.), and then I took what I wanted from those schedules and plopped them into my own calendar on the days that worked for me, which revolved around my set-in-stone group runs and yoga classes. Again, I'll admit that none of the "real" training schedules included yoga. But I kept these classes in my schedule because 1) I love them; 2) I'm good at them, and I need a confidence boost on days when I feel I suck at running; 3) I don't want to fall out of yoga shape; and 4) the stretching and strengthening can be complementary to my running. What's missing from my training schedule is the different types of runs, like speed, tempo, interval, recovery, easy, long, etc. The reason is simple: I don't do these. I run pretty much the same speed on most of my runs, except in a race, when I push a little harder. I have never done a track workout, and I don't like to run fast if I can help it. I realize this is not a good attitude, and I've become aware (after a mere three years) that I won't get any faster if I don't incorporate these workouts.





My attitude on speed, however, is starting to change, as a result of my inclusion (if you can call it that; see previous post) in a running group. Once I started attending races with these folks, the question beforehand was always, "What's your goal?" to which the answer was not, I learned, "to race well." What they wanted to know was my time goal that I had presumably set for myself. And afterward, "How'd you do?" Again, they did not want to know, "I felt pretty strong in the beginning, began to cramp up halfway through, but I was able to push through for a good finish." They wanted to know my finishing time, and whether I'd met the goal I was supposed to have set. This made me conscious that I needed to set time goals, and, inevitably, that I should try to meet them.

So why am I still not doing speed work? I have a legitimate reason. I'm still feeling pain in my leg, around my shin, that feels particularly intense when I run faster. So when I did the midnight 10-k race this past weekend and told myself (and others) that I wasn't going to race, do you think I did? You betchya. That is, until I couldn't, for various reasons. It was a flop of a race, but I finished it. And I paid for it the next day. But with a lot of ice, ibuprofen, and self-massage (read: bruising), I can get my leg feeling better. I just have to seriously not push it. So that is my goal now. We'll see how I apply it to a 16-mile group run this Sunday.

Comments

People Liked to Read...

Surgery Chronicles: Hard Feelings

I'm one and a half weeks out from my second foot surgery, and, by all important measures, I'm doing well. But boy has the past week been difficult. In the first few days post-surgery I was in a pretty good mood; the surgery had gone well, I was in the excellent care of my mom, and I had made it past the last major hurdle of this months-long event. All I had to look forward to was recovery and progress and gradually returning to my normal life, whatever that might look like.

But even though I've gone through this process once already, it's still just as difficult this time around. There's the constant worrying about this weird feeling or that new pain, the accidental step in the middle of the night when I forgot which foot was injured, and the agonizing wait time between appointments. Now it's compounded by concern over whether I'm taking good enough care of my first foot. Did I ruin the surgery when I stubbed my toe falling off an exercise ball? Am I using …

Surgery Chronicles: I Exhale

I've really been holding my breath with this recovery, more so than the last one for some reason. After getting past the three-week point (which was two weeks ago, when I started to write this), I felt a little more at ease. Since then I've been changing my own dressing daily and slowly weaning off of crutches so I can now walk around in the boot—hands-free! I'm still a slave to icing and elevating as much as possible throughout the day. But the very best part? There's no other foot left to do. After this, I'm done, done, done. I can start to return to a life not defined by sitting and waiting and feeling confined and limited and trying my hardest to heal but having little actual control over any of it.

I wrote in my last post about the difficult emotions I'd been having throughout this second surgery recovery. I think I underestimated the psychological toll I would take doing one foot right after the other. And while there was a feeling of elation after gettin…

Surgery Chronicles: 12 Weeks and Progress

I'm now more than 12 weeks recovered from my second (and final!) foot surgery, and life is starting to feel a little more normal. When I last wrote an update, seven weeks ago (still blaming Irma for all of my delays), I had just gotten off of crutches but would wear my boot for two more weeks. I've been out of the boot and walking in shoes for just over five weeks. The constant discomfort I've felt in my foot from swelling is finally starting to wane. I work in the office now, I do my own groceries, and I even attended a work conference recently, which meant lots of walking at airports and the conference hotel, frequent standing, and few opportunities to elevate and ice. I was very concerned about how my feet, particularly the left one, would endure. And while it wasn't comfortable, I made it through, no worse for the wear in the end.

I joined a new gym/community center recently, with a new and beautiful outdoor pool, and I'm so happy that I'm able to use it n…