Saturday, July 13, 2013

When to Back Off

I thought I was finally getting smarter.

The smart people say that you need to back off your hard training when you feel an injury coming on. After all those years of running, I never really figured out how to do this. It seemed as though the injuries would come on suddenly and without warning... and then I was stuck with them. This wasn't all that bad, because I was fortunate enough to spend most of my time injury-free.

But the last couple years were different. Now I was spending most of my time:
a) about to become injured (but I didn't know enough to back off).
b) injured.
c) recovering from injury (but a new one was probably coming on, so go back to a).

I didn't like this. So around the beginning of this year I made a conscious decision to run a bit less, and to try to get a little smarter about this injury thing. I was going to back off when I felt an injury coming on. I wouldn't worry about losing fitness or about my weekly mileage numbers.

It worked. By no longer worrying about training for marathons, my weekly mileage was also no longer a concern. It went from around 70 miles per week - my "standard" for many years - to 50 or less. And as a result (I think), I haven't been injured for over six months. What a relief after those injury-prone years of 2011 and 2012.

Until now. Even though the mileage is down, I've tried to work on the intensity. Every Tuesday is track workout day, and I have also tried to get in one or two tempo runs, or a race, each week. And now I'm experiencing a bit of plantar fasciitis in my right foot.

It's not bad. Maybe if I back off, it will get better faster. Maybe I'll be smart about it. But then there are some races coming up. And I don't want to lose this fitness....

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