One thing all runners need to learn is the importance of adjusting training every now and then. Injury, illness, burnout are all reasons you might need to scale back or take a short break from your plan. Last week, I had to do just that when my hamstring started giving me grief.
It's always a tough decision to skip out on miles. I'm very numbers driven and hate coming up short at the end of the week. I also don't like feeling as though I'm being lazy or weak - I prefer to pretend I'm invincible and that no injury or illness can knock me down :)
My Monday run was great - I ran 6 miles around 8:3X pace. Perfect for that day and exactly according to plan. Tuesday was another story. I had 8 miles of speedwork on my schedule - specifically a 15-10-10-5 workout. I was really looking forward to these miles and was excited to see how fast I could crank out the final five minutes. Sadly, I had to stop the workout after only four miles when my left hamstring went from a dull ache to refuse-to-be-ignored pain.
I took Wednesday off and gave running another try on Thursday. This time, I made it through six easy-pace miles but my right hamstring was unhappy the entire run. Every time I tried to run faster than an 8 minute/mile pace, it refused to cooperate. When I woke up Friday morning with not one, but two very sore hamstrings, I decided to take the weekend off from running.
Today, I'm pain free and finally get to try running run again. I've scaled back this week's training plan since I don't want to risk re-injuring either hamstring - especially since I'm racing these next two weekends!
Here's the plan:
Monday: 6 miles @easy pace; 30 minutes strength training; 4-6 miles cycling
Tuesday: 6 miles speedwork
Wednesday: 6 miles @easy pace; 30 minutes strength training; 4-6 miles cycling
Thursday: 6-8 miles @easy pace; 4-6 miles cycling
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Luck of the Irish 5k Race
Sunday: Rest Day
Weigh In: What's your strategy when faced with injury, illness or burnout?
I'm trying to remember that a few days off won't make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.