Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Courting Injury: I cut speed work short...

Today I joined the legendary John Ferguson's Runners Choice marathon training clinic at the TD Waterhouse Stadium track at the University of Western Ontario in London. The speed work tonight was to be 7, 8 or 9 mile repeats and Brian and I thought 7 would be good since I'm still quite a ways out from the marathon.

As I started my warm-up mile I could feel my left calf talking to me. It was still tight from yesterday's long run. But as we got into the first speed work mile, it didn't feel too bad.

I ran with Rishi Kumar who had paced with me at the London Springbank Park Half Marathon a couple of weeks earlier. Our speeds are pretty close to the same.

It was warm out tonight -- 25 degrees C. (77 F) when we started and a bit muggy. So by the time we were done our first lap, we knew it was going to be a tough night for running.

We targeted 7 minute miles and our first was a bit fast -- 6:47. But most of that extra speed was in the first lap, so we had settled into a nice pace for most of the run. The next three laps were just a second or two under the 7 minute mark, so we had a good steady pace going.

But by then, a problem started appearing. That sore calf was beginning to really talk to me in that 4th mile. I chatted with Brian at the break between the 4th and 5th mile and he had pulled out because of a sore hamstring muscle. We agreed that I'd try to do the 5th mile but if I wasn't able to loosen it up, I should quit. After one lap, it was still really tight so I pulled out.

So, not a very successful night for running. Or, perhaps, the attitude should be that it was successful, because I didn't get injured. We know from experience that there is a fine line between working your muscles hard enough that they are sore and repair themselves even stronger than before -- and working them too hard that they can't be repaired in time for you to race strongly. I'm pretty sure we didn't cross that line.

2 days rest and then we'll see how I fare on the tempo run!

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