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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Shortened training week - injury!

Last Sunday, our monsoon weather made for very unstable footing during the long run. As has happened to me many times before, wet running strained my hamstring a little. It wasn't injured Sunday, but I was aware that it was under stress. I've actually torn it mildly during rainy runs before, most notably the Bar-A-Thon, where I almost certainly gave up a podium position and basically got 6-beer-drunk for no reason. 

St Charles Ave running
Monday: I subbed "accelerations" for strides this week due to the sore hamstring residual from Monday, but the muscle still felt tight. I could feel a slight hitch in my step. 7.2 miles.
Tuesday: I went into this with trepidation: It was 300s at mile pace. Sure enough, pop! The exact same spot I always injure tore on the fourth rep. I tend to get a tiny little tear right in the belly of the muscle. If all is well, it heals quickly and I can usually run through it, recruiting the rest of the muscle fibers. But a worse tear can take many months to heal, especially if I strain the distal end of the muscle trying to spare the hurt area. The little tear heals, but the compensating strain is worse! This happened to me last year during Boston training, and it sucked. So this time, I totally shut the run down. I mean, I couldn't run anyway - I could barely walk! 5.4 miles. 
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off.
Friday: Having taken 2 days off and worn a compression wrap around the clock, and FOR ONCE keeping my hands/massage tool/foam roll OFF the injured muscle, I felt good enough to test the injury with an easy stroller run. And it felt ok! Really, almost better! 3 miles. One thing I check after these runs is for fresh bruising. The reason I know this is a tear, not a strain, is that as soon as I felt the POP a red bruise showed up. It darkened to blue, and then yellow, so any new bleeding and bruising would be obvious. And a warning flag to stop at once! New damage! All looked good, and felt good, so I was safe. 
Saturday: Another stroller easy run to check progress. I wanted to know if a long run on Sunday would be a totally terrible idea. I started to feel the hamstring at about 6 miles, but it was definitely on the mend. 6.65 miles.
Sunday: I risked it and went for the long run. I questioned my decision when I realized we were doing 15 (we have two training groups right now: the regular old group, and the "pre-marathon conditioning" group, who are getting into marathon-training shape. They are running longer, but I usually jump in with them because the COVID-era water stops are at their houses! They have kindly provided tiny water bottles in coolers since most of our old stopping spots aren't available anymore). But actually, my hamstring felt better and better as we ran, and I actually felt good for the whole run, probably because it was an unseasonably cool day. The temperature was only 80F when we started at six, and even though it was sunny, it just didn't feel like it got really hot. 15 miles at a surprising 7:39 pace (it didn't feel like effort). 

So just 37 miles this week, but I am grateful I dodged a bullet with this hamstring. I am not sure I will do the workout on Tuesday: if it's another mile pace workout, I might sub an aerobic run or tempo intervals instead. Or skip altogether if there is residual pain. But I'm clearly heading in the right direction, and I think our mile time trial is still a go for me! 


  1. That is great that you are healing so quickly from this injury. I was worried it would sideline you for awhile!

  2. Wow- you are lucky that it went away as quickly as it did. So happy for you that you were able to get through the 15 miler okay!