Friday, January 22, 2016

Decisions, Decisions!

The last time we talked running, I was feeling pretty optimistic about the start of 2016. Things were off to a great start and I was getting excited about a few upcoming races. Plus it felt really great to be back in a routine after taking a few weeks off from regular training. 

Since then I've had a bit of a setback. Late last week I injured my lower back - I'm not sure if it's a strain or what the problem is - and it's been enough to throw off my training. I can stand and walk just fine but as far as training goes, I've had to change things up a bit. My miles have been slow and obviously speedwork and my favorite Y classes have been out of the question this week. 

My beautiful new Kinvaras are itching for some action!

The good news is the pain and discomfort are slowly going away so I know I'll get back to 100 percent as long as I'm smart about recovery. Coach Matt gave me a revised training plan, which involves a very conservative approach these next few days. It's all about safely progressing without messing anything up or prolonging the injury. 

But the conservative approach also means decisions need to be made about some upcoming races: the Indoor 5k and Indoor Marathon Relay. Both races are next weekend (5k on Friday and Relay on Saturday). Even if I'm feeling fine by next weekend, Coach Matt and I agreed that the smartest thing to do is to dump at least one of the races to avoid re-injuring anything. So my options are:
  • Dump both races. Do easy miles instead. 
  • Run the 5k and dump the relay. 
  • Dump the 5k and run the relay. 

The pros and cons of each option:

Dump both races
Pros: Minimal strain on my back. Probably the best option for a faster recovery. 
Cons: Missing two races - two races that I was really excited about!

Run the 5k and dump the relay
Pros: It's only 11 laps. I can run whatever pace I want because no one else is counting on me. I can also drop out of the race if needed because, again, no one else is counting on me. I won't have to spend a lot of time on my feet. 
Cons: Missing the relay and all the fun teammate action. 

Dump the 5k and run the relay
Pros: I get to be part of the super fun relay teammate action. I only have to run two laps at a time. 
Cons: I have to run a total of 24 laps. Pace will be faster than I should run right now, which could aggravate my injury. I would have to spend a lot of time on my feet between running and waiting. 

Last year's team - we won the women's division & had the most fun doing it!

I'm going to see how I feel while running this weekend and on Monday before I make my final decision. I'll admit, there is a really stubborn dumb runner part of me that says I should still do both races. Because it really does kill me to have to skip one or maybe both. However, I'm reminding myself that while fun, these are not goal races. It's early in the year and if I need to skip a race or two, then I need to skip a race or two. There are plenty more opportunities to race in the upcoming months - but only if I can get healthy and train consistently!

Tell me: If you were me, what option would you pick?

- ST

16 comments:

  1. I never like to suggest advice in situations like this because your the one who knows your body best. My only advice would be, listen to your body if it feels like it's okay or going to be okay, go for it. If it feels like it might make it worse, I wouldn't.
    I feel for ya, and I am sorry your having back pain. I too am going through some lower back pain, so I totally feel your pain, literally:)! Heal quick my friend!

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    1. I know you more than anyone understands frustrating back pain! This is the first back injury I've had and it's no fun. Hope we both get back to 100 percent soon!

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  2. Sun, sorry to hear about your back pain. I am sure you going to make the right decision for your body.

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    1. Thanks Jenny! Getting injured is a total bummer but I know I'll heal up fast as long as I stay smart :)

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  3. i'm so sorry to hear about your back sun. if there's anything i've learned in the past few years with injury after injury... running through them is not good practice. in 2015 i was A LOT more conservative in my recovery processes. i took the time off required to heal instead of running through my injuries (except that last one due to lakefront). honestly, it proves to be the best course of action for me. as i've gotten older i've become more prone to minor injuries becoming major ones if i ignore them. good luck figuring out what your body needs and can handle. i understand the heartache involved in these decisions. <3

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Nikki! It definitely is tough to figure out how much your body can handle during recovery. Such a fine line between doing enough and too much. I hope your 2016 is off to a good start. I'll have to hop over to your blog to catch up :)

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  4. Ugh, injuries are no fun! I guess you'll have to wait and see this week how you feel. I'm in the same boat and it's killing me not to run, but in some respects, I'm enjoying a little cross training. Hope your back cooperates so you can run one or both next week!

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    1. Thanks Teri! At this point I'm planning to do the relay. I think my back should be able to handle the race plus a teammate offered to run a bit extra in case my back starts acting up. Hope your injury gets better soon!

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  5. Ugh, injuries are no fun! I guess you'll have to wait and see this week how you feel. I'm in the same boat and it's killing me not to run, but in some respects, I'm enjoying a little cross training. Hope your back cooperates so you can run one or both next week!

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  6. I would suggest skipping both. I have run through a lot of injuries which probably would have healed faster if I would have rested longer. If you do one of the races I would think you would push yourself hard during the race which could prolong your recovery. I am assuming your relay team has an alternate that can sub in for you.

    I am getting old and I end up with aches and pains all the time. I regularly go to see a chiropractor. I try to get in a couple times a month. My chiropractor is down in the Milwaukee are not far from the Zoo. It is Performance Chiropractic Clinic.
    http://drmadalynperrydc.com/
    Dr. Maddy is outstanding and she works with numerous athletes. She does run so she knows what runners bodies go through. She has helped keep this old body get through lots of injuries.

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Bob, and also the Chiropractic recommendation. If my back keeps acting up I'll have to check out Dr. Maddy!

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  7. injuries suck! sorry you are going through this, personally id do the 5k and skip the relay but listen to your body

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    1. Thanks Josephine - I agree, injuries are never fun. I decided yesterday to drop the relay and will probably end up skipping the 5k, too. On the plus side, this year can only get better from here :)

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  8. injuries suck! sorry you are going through this, personally id do the 5k and skip the relay but listen to your body

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  9. Oh wow - this is SO tough! I don't know what the best solution is, but I do know that listening to your body will be critical as you heal and move forward!

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    1. Thanks Rachel - I agree - listening to your body is usually the best course of action :) In this case, my body is telling me no racing this weekend. Sad but there will be many more races this year!

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