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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Taking off

I'm taking time off of running.
There are three excellent reasons for this:
1. I mentioned a calf strain earlier. It's not going away and it HURTS. I can run through osteitis pubis because it isn't an impact injury, but a little old calf strain is killing me and needs rest.
2. I didn't go into detail because it's gross runner TMI, but when I was sick Saturday after the race I had some pretty serious GI bleeding. I bleed very easily (chronic nosebleeds, wounds that won't close, etc) which is related to hormone levels. It's not a big deal, but I felt very weak and faint that weekend. I'm still out of breath a lot - just stairs challenge me - so I need a real break to build blood volume.
3. I'm definitely doing the overtraining thing. This seems impossible to me: I'm not doing a ton of speedwork and my mileage is low to mid 60's per week, yet I guess for me this is too much. I have been feeling very tired and weak and simply cannot get any speed up at all. I tried to do the track workout on Monday, and I fell behind in the warm-up! And my races have me working hard for what used to be a training pace.

I jumped into this marathon plan after injury, and even though I built up to mileage in the 40's before starting, the increase was too much. And I've made several classic mistakes:
- Apparently my easy runs are too fast! I actually don't wear a Garmin or a watch for my easy runs, so it's hard to tell for sure, but that seems to be the consensus (My long runs, on the other hand, are not meant to be slow in this plan - however, they are slower than my long runs last year. Proof I'm slowing down). 
- I do too many hard workouts. When I do track with the Varsity Sports group on Mondays, I am skipping the plan's Monday speedwork. Sometimes I read the plan and like the workout so much I will run it on what should be an easy day. That's probably a bad idea.
- I tried to start at my prior fitness level. I got my paces off the McMillan calculator based on my marathon PR - pre-injury and many months ago. I'm just not there yet. A few weeks ago I ran a 15k race at a slower pace than my half-marathon! 

After Saturday's race and tummy disaster, I took a very easy day Sunday and off entirely Monday after dropping out of the track warm-up two miles in. Tuesday I did Bob Harper's hardest workout ever, which does not live up to its name, and today I am wondering if I should do yoga for runners (boo), nothing (yay!), or a short run (meh). Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I am already registered for the Turkey Day 5 mile race in its 105th year of running so I can't miss that, come hell or high ankle sprain.

When I return to marathon training, it will be:
- Without a goal except to run a strong race, hopefully 3:10 to 3:30 range, and ease back into distance running/training. I looked at how close the race is (January 20th) and I can't see myself recovering, building a base back up, getting faster, and PRing just like that.
- At lower mileage. I know I need the higher mileage, but since I'm going goalless anyway, I could really use a little extra free time to get my insane work-life in order.
- At lower intensity. One hard session a week will have to do for now. Kris Lawrence gave me some great advice - adding marathon pace miles to the end of a long run - that I will also incorporate. That will get me some race pace stuff with little extra stress.

After this race I will honestly assess my fitness and ability and set a real goal for the Rock n Roll New Orleans race in February!


  1. good decision, you obviously are listening to your body. the turkey race sounds fun, as you said, you can't miss that

  2. Sounds like a well-thought plan, to me. It can be difficult to take a step back and re-evaluate. Glad you were wise enough to do so.
    Hope you see some encouraging results, very soon.

  3. Gracie, this is good although frustrating, I know. 2012 has been the year of injuries for me. Everyone is different and you need to do what your body tells you. You have been training hard for many years. Some deep rest now will have you come back STRONG. Thinking of yo:)

  4. So how long will you be out? Sounds like it's for the best. In my experience, calf issues resolve after just a couple days off. I know time off is not fun...

    I need to get on this Bob Harper train. Which video should I start with?

  5. Real bummer about taking time off running. Hopefully you get all the things sorted out. I know how much you like running, and hopefully you can get back to it.

  6. I have a few friends running this race! I hope it goes well for you and that it doesn't compromise your calf any further. #2 and #3 for taking some time off certainly sound like they need some attention. Do you have a set "time off" period in mind, or are you simply going to take it one day at a time?

    PS. I'm an idiot and finally figured out how to fix my settings so that I can comment on blogger blogs again. YAY.

  7. I admire you! Taking time off is hard to do. Your plan & (the advice you got) sounds good to get back in it. Hope you can settle out the work stuff in the mean time.