April 10, 2013

Easing back into running after injury - update

Yesterday I did my longest stretches of running yet as I hope to have rid myself of the injury that stopped my training dead in its tracks nine months ago just as I was in the best shape of my life.

The plan called for three 10-minute runs, separated by walk breaks of 2 minutes. I warmed up by walking 13-1/2 minutes to a trail that offered a flat experience.

A year ago, I was getting ready for what would turn out be my fastest marathon yet, 3:00:29, with a relatively easy week of 100K of running.

Yesterday it was challenging to run 10 minutes at a time. I realized I had to remind myself to enjoy it because my mind is still busy "running scared"--constantly surveying my right heel for signs of trouble, as only the continued absence of pain will tell me whether the injury is behind me.

It felt like a real run, and I tried to relax into the joy of it as much as I could. But toward the end of the third 10-minute stretch, at about 7-1/2 minutes, I thought I felt something in my heel. And I mean this very literally indeed--I thought I felt something in my heel. I stopped, immediately, and started walking.

Before yesterday, Tuesday, I did three 8-minute stretches, with 3-minute walk breaks on Sunday, and three 7-minute runs also with 3-minute walk breaks on Wednesday, totalling 24 minutes and 21 minutes of running respectively.

Yesterday's run, even with the third stretch cut short by 2-1/2 minutes, added up to 27-1/2 minutes, so I am pretty stoked. Perhaps I was too cautious in stopping early yesterday, and my heel was OK as I walked home. It seems OK this morning too.

As my friend and life-long runner Dessie Suttle reminded me in a note the other day, "Don't be a slave to any program. Be flexible if you can't do the distance, say 3x 10 minutes, drop back to maybe 7 minutes, whatever your body or healing injury dictates, listen to your body. Use that program as a guide but don't be afraid to change times and distances to suit YOU."

Great advice, indeed.

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