As I’ve mentioned before, I consider myself a runner. Unfortunately, over the past five years I’ve more often been an injured runner. To the point where, after chronic achilles and shin problems, I had assumed I would always remain injured.
I’m just at the end of a three-month training cycle, aimed at getting me to a 1:42 half marathon. This was going well – and a 10 mile time trial I did the other week had me on target for a 1:39, which would have been a real success for me.
However, in the process I damaged my thigh. A quick test today showed it still injured and there’s a real chance of me not running my race next week – and very little chance of me hitting my target. So, I am trying to find positives and lessons from the last few months.
I’d rather not be doing this and just be hitting my target, but there are positives to be found. These are:
- Trust the process – The time trial that boosted my spirits but injured my thigh was borne of my own insecurity. It didn’t make me fitter; it just showed me where I was. If I had trusted the plan I had I wouldn’t have sought to ‘prove myself’ – I would have simply built on the fitness I already had and no doubt beaten 1:40 next week. I jumped ahead of schedule to prove something to myself and it backfired.
- I respond well – I was coming out of 6 months of achilles injury and had a heavy workload on for much of the training cycle. My training weeks very rarely matched the schedule. That said, I still went from struggling to do 2 miles at 7:40 to doing 10 at 7:37 very quickly. I just need to stick with the process and trust the apparently quick way I respond to running.
- Lose weight – this is just low-hanging fruit. I have plenty to lose without being concerned about muscle, and every kilo lost will get me faster without any effort. The problem is that when the aforementioned workload gets heavy, or my sleep goes awry, I reach for comfort foods over nutrition. If I fix this, I go faster without training.
- Halves are a challenge enough – I always wanted to do a good marathon time. But the volume of training required to do a half decent half marathon (between 30 – 50 mpw) is more than enough with everything else going on in my life. I’d still like to do a full marathon but I’ve bitten off enough with the half to keep me busy for now.
- Injuries can be overcome – the chronic six years of shin splints are now just a memory. My mileage is higher than its been in years and I have no problems with my shins. My achilles seems to have healed too. In fact, before this thigh issue I had no additional injuries all year- not even a niggle. Injuries can be overcome provided I do the right strength training and flexibility in support of my running.
- Goals aren’t just time – Even if I don’t do my race, I should be happy. I’ve increased my mileage, my fitness, reduced my time, improved my technique and all without any recurrence of the big injuries I’ve had previously. My long term goals are more achievable than ever, even if this short term one is missed. In fact, even just achieving the mileage I have this year should be a positive. With every race I should have a couple of goals – some time-based, some position-based and other based on entirely different criteria, such as following the process.