Monday, January 7, 2013

Rules Were Meant to Be Broken (?)

Last week I ran a total of 10 miles! Seems like nothing, but that is a really big week for me these days.

So I guess it shouldn't be too much of a shock that my foot hurts.

If I'm honest, it started hurting the day after the 1st Day 5k. At the time, I attributed the pain to the fact that I had just straight up run on pavement for 3.1 miles. I haven't run that long on pavement in a long long time. That night I put new Sof Sole inserts (which BFF Steve recommended) into my Brooks PureCadence, hoping that the extra cushioning would help.

On Thursday I ran at the vita course with Marathon Winer and things seemed ok until the drive home, when I could feel my foot swelling and aching. I iced it immediately and took the day off on Friday.

When I woke up on Saturday I was annoyed when there was still some pain. Being the hard head that I am, I went to the Y anyway and put in 3 miles on the treadmill.

That evening as I sat icing my foot and freaking out, I started to think about why it could possible be hurting this much when it dawned on me that I had run 10 miles during the week... and that in doing so, I had probably broken a very important rule for my half-marathon training: the 10% rule.

While I'm being honest, I might as well take this opportunity to say that I'm not a big believer in all of the "rules" and formulas that fill the pages of my Runner's World magazine. Paragraphs about interval training and splits and 10% and this and that might as well have been written in Greek as much as I understood them (or cared to).

BUT because I am in the position of having no clue what actually caused the break, I am now willing to prescribe to any rule or formula that claims to prevent injury. I'm kind of like an atheist who suddenly finds out that there is a God and becomes a fanatical crazy religious person overnight.

Upon further inspection and comparison of my training plan to my mileage record, I realized that I had indeed broken the rule... big time. Week 2 of training had consisted of 7 running miles and 10 biking miles. Week 3 (last week) consisted of 10 running miles, 10 biking miles, and 1 swimming mile.

That's a 42% percent increase in running miles.


I didn't mean to break the rule... I guess I just wasn't really paying attention to the training plan that Steve and I had so carefully laid out. In my mind, I am back to my old self.

What's the saying - the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak? Yes, that.

It's exactly what I'm experiencing. I just want to go back out there and run run run like I used to without paying any attention to my new rules. I want to forget that I was ever broken and just be me again - running whenever I want, however long I want, and not worrying about it. I shouldn't have to think about running - it's the not thinking that makes it enjoyable!

But, as my the 4th metatarsal of my left foot is reminding me (still hurts today), I can't go back. I can't break the rules anymore, unless I want to end up on crutches again... which I most decidedly do not.

So, during this, my 4th week of half-marathon training, I will behave myself and stick to the prescribed 10 miles (3, 3, and 4).

Le sigh.

Also, I think I should have resolved to not use the words "break" "broke" or "broken" during 2013.


  1. I too do not subscribe to every rule I see in my RW mag (since there are thousands of them). Some say I should be running at least 4 days a week to train for a half, some say three is fine with cross-training. Some say I should be running 20 miles a week for some-odd number of weeks before my taper, some say something else. Whatever. But I did actually adjust my Half training plan to the 10% rule. Even using a “professionally” laid out training schedule for beginners, it had some pretty crazy jumps in mileage. But nothing a extra training weeks and a calculator couldn’t fix. As a newbie, I had no personal frame of experience, but I knew that I definitely didn’t want to injure myself and mess up my simple “starting line” goal of...making it to the starting line. Good luck with that foot.

  2. Hopefully in a few months you won't have to follow the rules quite so strictly. But for now it does seem to make sense to be cautious!