Being smart

First of all, THANK YOU for all the birthday lovin’! You guys are all amazing! I’ll be sharing with you some of the fun I had over the next couple of days but since it is Sunday, I am sticking to a running-related topic. Beware of a wordy post- I had a lot to say.

I love to run and I love to run far. (that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone…)

run_far_cover_compactThe problem is, my body doesn’t love to run far and then run far AND fast for the next 3 workouts. It can barely handle fast on its own. Last week, I didn’t run a lot of miles at all, actually. But I was still recovering from the 15 miler with Christine on Saturday and Sunday’s rest day wasn’t enough. Add in 9 miles Monday, 11 miles of a hellish track workout Tuesday (I’ll get to that later), another 6 mile speed day Thursday and 6 mile tempo run Friday and you’ve officially  pushed my legs to their breaking point.

I decided to run the rock n’ roll half a few weeks ago and was really excited about it. I wasn’t going to race it- I was going to run it as another long run. I’ve been doing a lot of training runs  10-15 miles recently and didn’t think it would be a big deal. Earlier this week, I started developing a cough. I never get sick but it kept getting worse. Problem #1

On Tuesday, we did our first attempt at a 10,000 meter track workout. In previous years, 10K runners would train at 10K pace at a 5,000 meter distance during practice. This year, our coach gave us a set of 3x(1000, 2000) with a 1000 tacked on at the end. After the first 1000 Christine and I were on pace and then the 2000 we were about 20 seconds off our goal pace. My coach readjusted and had us doing 1000 repeats up to 6,000 meters then we did a 1600 at the end.

I started feeling a twinge in my back, my legs were still aching from Monday’s boxes and drills, and I knew Thursday was going to be hard. We did 10×400 under our race pace for the 5K. My shins started to get shooting pains and the trainers decided it was early shin splints. I was out for a week during cross country and missed the first meet because of these exact symptoms.  Problems galore

At this point I made the executive decision not to run the half on Saturday. I did still go for a 6 mile run with Chelsie on Friday (how could I not run on my birthday? We all know that would never happen) and it was really speedy. That girl is FAST (she ran a 1:30 half marathon on an incredibly hilly course. If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what does). It didn’t feel good on my legs but it wasn’t really a bad run either.

I spent Friday and Saturday getting caught up in the excitement of the race with Alex, Sam, Chelsie, and Megan (who I used to consider my blog friends but now I feel like I can say they’re my real friends too) and while it was hard at times not running with them, I also had an awesome time. I had planned on doing a short run while they were running but ended up walking from the start to the finish (about 4 miles) plus another 4 miles with my friend from school later when I woke up to my legs not feeling so hot yet again.

This week, my coach gave us a really light training plan. Most of our runs will be between 30-40 minutes when I usually run 60min+. I’ve decided to take a few days completely off running instead of doing those shorter runs this week. If my legs start to feel better by Tuesday, I may start running again. If they don’t, I’ll wait until Thursday.

For the first time in years, this decision isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I want to be that crazy runner finishing a full marathon when I’m older. Not the crazy 20-something who can’t run ever again because she pushed herself to injury. I know this isn’t a serious injury by any means (although the back problem is a bit worrisome), but I’m teaching myself that time off can be a good thing. If my body is telling me it needs a break, it’s time to give it that break.

imagesI want to love the run. Not be miserable during it.

And with that, I’m off to Florida!

Have you ever made a last minute decision not to run a race?

About pickyrunner

I'm Sarah, a (mostly) health-crazed 20-year old New Englander living in Baltimore. Taste buds of a 4-year old, joints of a 90 year old, brain of a chemist, appetite of a teenage boy, legs of a runner. Mindset of a Champion. Follow @pickyrunner
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46 Responses to Being smart

  1. Greta says:

    You rock, Sarah!! I’m so proud of you!!
    Skipped the gym on Saturday as my body did not feel exercising a bit. And did not regret eating a muffin the size of my cat instead! :D
    Have a great time in Florida!

  2. Chelsie S says:

    You know how I feel about this. Smiling for sure on this side of things. The problem with your twinges (which you totally know) is that they can exacerbate and become real injuries. Rather be out for three days and run light for the rest of the week than be out for four months. Take care of yourself, walk with your Mom, and come back stronger. Too much at stake for your health and happiness not to!! Also — you’re on vacation! Enjoy it!! :)

    • pickyrunner says:

      Miss you already! But it’s and is still bothering me today. I’m taking at LEAST 3 days off and if I’m tempted to run, you better believe you’ll be getting a text from me so you can whip me into shape ;)

  3. woot woot Have an amazing time in Florida!

  4. Ellie says:

    You talked a while ago about challenging yourself, I think you’re doing just that and it’s really great. When you’re used to doing something that it’s second nature, stopping can completely freak you out and produce worse results than cure the ones they were meant to fix. I continue to use your experiences in my own training and are getting better everyday! Thanks girl! Have fun in FL!

  5. travels with mary says:

    this is awesome– I didn’t run at all this week because I just felt crummy, and I was petrified it would mean that I would lose all my running abilities. (obviously I didn’t, but I totally admire your maturity and level-headedness!)

  6. You definitely made the right decision – better to take a few days off now than have to take a few months off in the near future.

    I’m glad you had a great birthday, and I hope your vacation in Florida is fabulous!

  7. Have a great time in Florida, girlie, and send some good weather vibes my way while you’re down there!

    I think you made the right decision not to race. Like you said, it’s better to be smart now so that you can do it for the long run rather than push yourself too hard and end up cutting your running drastically short.

  8. Ana Reis says:

    Better late than never – happy birthday!! :D
    I envy you in that… I’m still at the point I know I should give my body a break…but I don’t want to in my head… Still gonna make a light run today though (I still can’t run for a long time – newbie here :P – but I like the sensation…! :) )

    Hope you have a great vacation!!

  9. I have that back problem too — it’s so weird! I’m making an appointment to see my chiropractor this week, because I think I’m out of alignment. I also have shin splints, and a knee problem. Running is so hard on my body, but I signed up to run my second half marathon in May, and I want to finish it! I’m going to cross train until my shins and knee feel better. Thank you for sharing this, because sometimes I feel like the only blogger who has running problems!

    • pickyrunner says:

      Oh no I hope you figure it out! That’s what I think my problem is too. I love running and I’m not sure I could give it up but I definitely need to be smarter about my training.

  10. candice says:

    Way to go sarah! Its hard to have to skip out on a race but it isn’t worth the injury and pain.. smart chica!
    Have fun in florida!!
    and Happy belated birthday!

  11. Leigha says:

    Good for you! Taking rest days will be good for you in the long run. Have a great time in Florida! Relax and take it easy :)

  12. Courtney says:

    Good for you! I once made a last-minute choice not to run an XC race when we got to the location and I realized all the pollen/plants made my allergies incredibly bad. It was sad, but I’m glad I didn’t run!

  13. spectacuLAUR says:

    Lol. The injured 20-something who can never run again. Me! Yeah, it’s definitely a good thing to give your body rest especially with back problems. You may have so much tension built up, it’s starting to affect your back because your body is trying to make up for the hurt it feels in your legs. Whenever runners take time off running, they always come back strong and well rested. I’m sure you will do the same! I’m glad you decided to go to the race to support and cheer on everyone! Good attitude!

    • pickyrunner says:

      That’s a really good point. I never thought about that! Thanks! I definitely hope so. I enjoyed the walk with my mom today so I’m hoping to get a couple of days like that.

  14. Brittany says:

    You have no idea how amazing you are for this!! Backing out of a race is HARD!! Especially a race like THIS!!! I pushed it and ran my half marathon last month on a bum knee and I got realllllyyy lucky!!!! NOT worth the years of injury!

    • pickyrunner says:

      It is hard and the decision is going to be different for anyone. You are definitely lucky you didn’t get hurt and hopefully there will be more races like that! Or without injuries- that would be even better :)

  15. alyssa says:

    Happy belated birthday!!!!

  16. I think you made the right decision. Have fun in FL!

  17. Nikki says:

    Hope you have a blast in Florida! You deserve it! And your body is probably very happy with your decision to not run!

  18. sugarcoatedsheridan says:

    You ABSOLUTELY made the right decision…Anytime I push myself beyond where I need to be, I always wind up sick, injured or both and it’s so not worth it. I’m just coming back from one craptastic sickness and I’m trying to take it easy, even though it’s hard, because I don’t ever want to go through that again.

    Have fun in Florida!!

    • pickyrunner says:

      It’s true. I got sick this week and injured. That’s a good point. It’s my body’s way of telling me it was too much I think. I know I’ll come back kicking.

  19. I’m so sorry you’re not feeling your best. I really hope you have a fast recovery. I’m glad your making the smart decision to just take time off rather than sacrifice a lot more running in the long run<-pun intended ha

  20. Kate says:

    Yeah I hear ya – I can say from experience that catching fatigue as early as possible is SO important. Those weeks leading up to my foot injury back in july 2011 (what started the whole cycle), I remember being tired….then dreading my runs…then sore….then INJURED. Now, hopefully I will run again but I am definitely a crazy 20-something that pushed herself not just to injury, but to surgery…and long recovery aside, that shit’s expensive! – you’ve got to quit while you’re ahead for sure! Definitely an incredibly smart and mature decision to take a chill pill on the running. Better to run your whole life than to train really hard for a year or so! And even when you’re not thinking that far ahead….you’ve got track conferences coming up and wantt to be healthy for that! Anyway. I’ll stop rambling now haha I know it must’ve been kind of hard seeing everyone race, but it’s fun to support sometimes – and the girls racing probably appreciate it more than you know! :-)

    • pickyrunner says:

      I definitely don’t want to dread my runs. No way. And that 10K is mine so I definitely need to play it safe right now. But I definitely hope so because I really had a great time watching them succeed!

  21. Your decisions are absolutely awesome and so smart – major props to you for listening to your body and knowing it’s limits! A few days off may feel like and sound like the worst possible idea, but in the long run, it’s much better than having to take weeks or months off due to injury. I hope you have a blast in FLA :)

  22. Megan says:

    Have fun in Florida!! I am glad you were smart and skipped the race! I haven’t cancelled a run yet but I haven’t done that many and when I pay for something I’m gunna do it haha

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