Obey the Off-Season

I broke my cardinal rule of running this off-season and I’m paying for it. I did not obey the off-season.

I ALWAYS take the beginning of the winter off from running more than a few miles per week. No speed work. No incline work. Just some jogging, here and there.

One winter after a particularly fruitful running season, I was so pumped by my progress that I couldn’t stop training, ran a boatload outside in all temperatures, and eventually wound up with a bum foot that just would not heal. FOREVER.

Some people can run all year, in all weather. Not me. Ever since then, I’ve been smarter, I thought.

At the end of last season, my right leg felt “off.” It didn’t hurt, per se—it just felt a little hitched up. Like there was a kink somewhere in my right side body, and it felt tight in different places depending on how I was sitting. I could especially feel the tension when I was driving. No doubt it was some sort of wonky muscle tightness from training for a marathon all summer, hardly ever stretching, being too burnt out to train at all in October, and then…doing a downhill half on a Colorado mountain in November. Probably my IT band.

I started doing yoga a few times a week to try and lengthen back out. At the same time, I got too excited about having a nice, new treadmill setup at home where I could watch TV and run while my kids occupied themselves. I normally don’t get to work out when I have the kids around. Add to that some boot camp classes where we sprint all the time, and a treadmill class with both incline and speed intervals, and I overdid it. My right ankle now bugs me mildly every time I run, and screams the day after.

No doubt it’s all related—the right side tightness, the right ankle pain, and the treadmill overuse. Especially the incline and speed work. And no doubt it could have been prevented, had I just followed my usual rules.

In the meantime, I’m starting to train for my first spring half marathon, which is only 10 weeks away. If I make it through the training, I’ll assess the ankle situation after that, and might have to take some time off.

What a rookie move.




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