How Long has it been Since My last Run?
It's been about two months since my last real run. Yes, I did "jog" a 5 mile race a month ago, but besides that, I have not put in anything more than a handful of slow treadmill miles since. Even during short treadmill workouts, my ankle has let me know it still hasn't fully healed. I'm basically "untethered", that is to say that I have no training plan and feel no pressure to jump back into running. My running fitness has pretty much faded completely, so it makes no difference if I start tomorrow or in two months time.
|RnR Half '13|
Ankle Injury? How did it Happen?
Looking back at my ankle injury, I think it's been the same chronic injury that I got about 12 to 13 months ago. The injury culprits were likely A) Running too fast too soon and B) experimenting with new shoes. The injury cut short my 2013 Boston Marathon training, forcing me into a run/walk marathon. It also helped cut short my Chicago Marathon training to nine weeks.
How did I Run With an Injury for Over a Year?
So, how was I able to run two full marathons (and several other races) on a bum ankle? Well, I was able to "suck up" the injury for almost a year by training every day. This allowed me to build up other muscles around the injury and helped me to ignore my specific ankle pain because my entire legs were hurting everyday. That is, my legs were constantly stiff/sore so I didn't notice my wonky ankle as much. However, the training insanity came to a head sometime in early December when my ankle had had enough and sent clear pain signals. I finally took notice and decided that it was time to rest and get it resolved. My type of "kamikaze" running style, where I ramp up my miles too quickly with no rest days had finally caught up to me.
How will I Know when I can Make my Running Comeback?
It will likely be when I don't notice any twinges or ankle pain when I walk down the street or sit on the couch. When my ankle is no longer at the forefront of my daily thoughts, then it will be time.
What will my Comeback Look Like?
I will start at a mile a day and ever so gradually build up to a handful of lazy slow miles. At the first sign of pain, I will take a week or two off. I will yield to no self-imposed pressure to stick to a regimented schedule even if I have made fitness gains or a race is "looming" on the horizon. If I have to miss my two paid for half marathons in May and July, I won't feel pressure to run either of them. If I somehow am able to run the Chicago Marathon, it will be on a handful of 35 mile weeks instead of lots of 60 mile weeks. With that type of training, I probably won't get a Chicago qualifying sub-3:15 but I will hopefully be able to resume training quickly and injury-free in the weeks following the race. That way I can start anew in 2015. 2014 has been relegated to a rebuilding year in which I plan on running base mileage in preparation for 2015.
How is Life without Running?
On the positive side, the downtime has given me more time to get house projects done, sleep longer, focus on gym workouts (I can now do nine chin-ups), and figure out how to eat better - since I'm not burning as many calories/day.
Any other Thoughts?
Hopefully, there won't be too many more of these injury-related blog posts. In the best case scenario I will see everyone out on the Lakefront Trail in the near future!