Today I am exactly three weeks away from my marathon. It’s that sensitive time where mileage is peaking, and I’m trying to avoid burnout and injury in the last few weeks before my race; it’s also where a lot of people throw their races. My massage therapist called this time “walking the tightrope.”
My tightrope walking started on Tuesday: I added a little tempo to my 12km distance run. Okay, actually I added 8km at faster-than-marathon pace, but I warmed up for 2km first and my heart rate stayed below 170 for the whole tempo portion, so I was still pretty well behaved! The only hitch was when something in my right hip/glute area seized painfully around 9km and caused a little discomfort for the rest of the run…but I was able to finish my tempo, walk it off and it didn’t hurt after.
Unfortunately, I had to cut today’s long run short when my right hip started getting a weird achy feeling after about 40 minutes of running. Stopping my run at 8km was such a difficult decision, knowing that I could have pushed through, managed the pain and finished my run…and instead I walked 2.5km after calling my dad to come pick me up. Frustrated and disappointed.
The thing is, it’s so important to keep the big picture in mind all the way through training. I’m guilty of putting my head down and doing the mileage and paces I see on my training schedule, without adjusting early for how I feel and the conditions where I’m running, and usually it means I don’t see issues until it’s to late and I have to make a major correction. I think this is why most people hire coaches: they see the big picture and can gauge when things are going off track, at the point where a minor adjustment is sufficient.
So today my big picture side showed up and told me that it’s not worth pushing through pain. That the marathon won’t care if I ran 10km instead of 25 today; I’ve put in the training and now I have to walk the tightrope.
Rest, stretch, roll. Don’t fall.