Making Decisions

14 Apr

When training for a marathon (or half) you come across a lot of decisions you have to make. Sometimes there’s the small decisions like “What should I eat for dinner the night before a long training run?” or “Which flavor energy gel should I buy?” Then there’s the bigger decisions … the ones that can make or break your race day run.

Currently I’m dealing with the latter.

After last week’s failed 20-mile run, I knew I might be in trouble. Usually when my IT band starts hurting towards the end of a long run, I’m okay after some ice and a few hours. But this was “I just ran a marathon” pain, yet I had only run 12 miles. It hurt to walk on the beach the next day. It hurt to roll and stretch my right leg. It just hurt.

Tuesday morning I woke up for a 4-mile run in the morning. The first thing I did was stretch and immediately knew I wasn’t ready. I texted my group and went back to bed.

Wednesday night I went to yoga for a Hatha class. It felt like my instructor knew what I needed, and every muscle in my legs and hips were stretched. I felt amazing!

Thursday I woke up for a morning run and again stretched. I thought I was ready, and met my group for a 5-mile run. Three miles in, I felt that old familiar twinge and as we were nearing our ending point (a conveniently chosen Starbucks), I started to feel sharp pain. If you’re wondering why I didn’t walk it in as soon as I felt any pain, it’s because I was on a schedule. Not only did I have to go into work early that day, but I also had to pick up bagels for a friend’s birthday. If I walked it in, I would be late.

As that run was ending, I knew a second attempt at running 20 miles wasn’t going to happen today. I made the hard decision of skipping this morning’s training run.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the advice “It’s better to run undertrained and injury-free on race day than trained and injured,” and how many more times I’ve actually told fellow runners that.   Oh, how that’s easier said than done.

Not unfamiliar to IT band issues (I’ve blogged about my pains here and here and here and here and here), I know two things:

  1. The irritation might not go away before my marathon. It’s only three weeks away.
  2. But if I’m diligent with my icing, Advil-taking, stretching, rolling and strength training, I may delay the IT band irritation and limit how many miles I run in pain.

So I’ve made two decisions:

  1. No running for one week. That means I didn’t run this morning, and Tuesday and Thursday are out as well. I will do yoga, stretch, roll and strength train in it’s place.  On Saturday I may join my group for a short run.
  2. I am still running the Flying Pig Marathon!

Mind over matter. Who cares if I can’t run today? Who cares that my longest run this training season was just over 18 miles and it will have been over a month before race day?

I can let myself (easily) go down a road of self doubt or I can focus on the positive. I choose the latter. Before my right IT band acted up I had two great runs!

And I hope it makes all the difference on race day. Weeeeeeeeeeee!

Have you gone into a race undertrained and healthy and/or trained and injured? Tell me about your experience in the comments.

I could stand to be reassured that I’m not alone. 😉


8 Responses to “Making Decisions”

  1. nancim72 April 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    First of all, you are rock star for doing a marathon!! While I don’t run near the distances you do, one thing I think all runners deal with it listening to their body and when not to push too hard or too far. I expect alot out of myself and I am also an all-or-nothing girl. This means that I always try to beat my last time and if I can’t run safely (as in pain or injury free) than I feel it’s best to NOT run at all. The last thing I want to do is hurt myself. So, I think you have made the right decisions. You have to take care of yourself leading up to your big day. You will rock it!

    • Hemarie April 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks… I like to think running makes us both rockstars. Some of us just can’t party like we used to. Oh to be 5 and limber again. 🙂

  2. Nurse on the Run April 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    I’m on the tale end of training for my first mini (two weeks away!). For the last two weeks I’ve been having problems with my IT band. It reared its ugly head after I ran a really hilly 10 mile race last month and now shows up at then end of my long runs. Ice and BioRelief have been my best friends, and I’ve been doing more yoga since to help things stretch and whatnot. It’s helped. Fingers crossed it’ll behave for my mini. Good luck with your marathon!

    • Hemarie April 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      Same to you! I just looked at your blog and loved it. You have a new blog follower!

      I just used up the last of my Tiger Balm. Time to go buy more.

  3. Carolina @ Peas in a Blog April 16, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I’ve heard it’s better to be undertrained than overtrained because your body isn’t as tired the day of the race. I have no doubt you can rock this thing!

    • Hemarie April 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks, lady! I *will* rock it. Well… I’ll at least finish. 🙂


  1. Testing the Waters « I Sweat Pretty - April 18, 2012

    […] so I know that I said that I wasn’t going to do any running this week in efforts of healing my IT band, but I couldn’t stop myself from taking the […]

  2. Race Recap: 2012 Flying Pig Marathon – Part 1 « I Sweat Pretty - May 7, 2012

    […] over a month of having issues with my right IT band (I blogged about it here and here and here and here) I knew what I was potentially walking into. But because of how fabulously […]

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