I decided to throw in the towel and not race the Hamilton Marathon.
My left leg has been a problem for eight weeks and even after several weeks of partial running and nearly two weeks of complete rest, I’m still finding it uncomfortable to walk after the short, half-hour jog I got in last Tuesday. It isn’t the tired or achy kind of pain that I think I could run through; it’s the structurally weak kind that makes me concerned that if I did race, I could do some damage and put myself out for a significant amount of time, messing up the big plans I have for 2015. The fact that it was throbbing all day and through the night after an easy jog is a bad sign. People keep telling me it doesn’t look like a stress fracture and I have no clue about this stuff but I have to think there is something like that wrong with the bone right now, not a sore/tight muscle.
After deciding I was not going to run hamilton, I saw a sports physician who thought it was likely that I had a stress fracture in my tibia. I had an X-ray which didn’t show anything but that’s not unusual for stress fractures. Next up is an MRI which will hopefully be scheduled within the next few weeks. Until then, I will be taking it easy and giving my legs a break.
After injury problems for several weeks before Waterloo and now Hamilton, I have been looking over my training log to see what I did wrong and it is painfully obvious. I was too eager to get in high mileage.
Following a build-up period through last winter in which I averaged 52 miles per week, I transitioned into an 18-week cycle for Waterloo where I started running 75-80 miles per week. I managed that okay for about ten weeks and then injuries started getting in the way. By the time I battled through those injuries, taking time off as needed, my average weekly mileage fell to 60 miles per week. What a shock that was to realize if I had played it safe and just run 60 miles per week from the start, I may have been able to avoid injury and get in all my scheduled workouts!
Fast forward to my build-up for Hamilton where I ran about 60 miles per week over the spring/summer and then started an 18-week plan at 85-90 miles per week. What was I thinking!? I must have thought I could handle it and that the extra mileage would benefit me, but clearly that wasn’t the case. By the end of this cycle for Hamilton, my average weekly mileage would fall from 85-90 to below 60 miles per week. Ouch.
That will be the biggest change I make as I start to plan for the Ottawa marathon in May; I’m going to shoot for a modest weekly mileage count (somewhere around 65 or 70 miles per week) so that I can stay healthy, on the road, and primed for some good race results. I’m also going to be sure I plan a down or recovery week regularly and that I actually substitute-out a workout when I schedule a tune-up race (instead of trying to fit in everything).
I am disappointed to miss my fall goal race but I think I have learned some lessons about ramping up and increasing my mileage. I’m extremely motivated to put in the work so I often find myself pushing myself perhaps more than I should. I have to build at a rate that my body can keep up with. Even though I won’t be able to ‘validate’ my training over the last several months with a goal race, I have to be happy with the year I’ve had even without a sub-2:30 or low-2:30s marathon time. I set a new PB in the 10K of 32:58, breaking into new territory from the 35:01 I ran back in 2007 in university. I improved my half marathon PB by 5 minutes, getting it down to 1:11:15 (which puts me around 2:30 for the marathon and low-to-mid 32 for the 10K in equivalent efforts). I am happy with those results and look forward to bettering them next year! I hope the fact that I was able to achieve those results on lower-than-expected mileage means I have some untapped potential I can carve into over the next couple years.
PS: I did go watch the Hamilton marathon and it was great to cheer on friends Mitch and Rob who both ran PBs in the half marathon and Taylor who WON the full marathon in a huge 11-minute PB time of 2:31:11! He was primed for a great race and all his hard work over the last several months really paid off. Wish I could’ve been there to battle it out with him! Next time!
Time for a few weeks off running (and posting about running) to rest the legs and let things heal before I get back into training.
Thanks for reading!