Friday, January 12, 2007

Being Nagged

POSTSCRIPT: This first paragraph is being written after the post below was completed, and because I just read an article on-line in the 1-12-07 New York Times titled “When It’s OK to Run Hurt”. Apparently there are those in the medical profession that are starting to realize that there are times when rest is not necessarily what an injury calls for.

Every article that I read in tri magazines and websites about dealing with injuries states that one should seek out medical advice and help - and back off on training - early on when one senses an injury starting to occur. While this seems like very practical advice, it would have been disastrous for me in terms of ever reaching my racing goals. I say this guardedly, and urge that common sense always prevail.

I started running on a daily basis when I was 21. I didn’t have any physical problems at all until my early 30s, at which point I began to have “nagging” sorts of issues. These nagging issues were things that came and went and, normally, were not severe enough to cause me to miss my daily runs. In the decade of my 40s (I just turned 49), I’ve had the same experience with a little higher frequency. I tend to have these nagging injuries much more frequently with running than with cycling (which I began in my mid-30s), and have never had any problems with swimming injuries. Perhaps that’s because I didn’t do any swimming volume to speak of until I started training for triathlons in 2003, so the cumulative wear-and-tear just hasn’t happened yet.

The other interesting aspect of this subject is the timing of these nagging injuries. They almost always seem to occur at critical times in my training cycle, and especially with marathon training. (I know that you may be thinking that I’m ramping up the volume too fast and that’s why they occur at these times, but I’ve studied my training log data and that’s not the case.) Well, wouldn’t you know that that’s exactly what I’m going through right now. I’m all signed up for the Boston Marathon. Already paid my entrance fee, have scheduled a vacation with my wife around the event, and have made my hotel and airline bookings. My “official” training for the event started at the beginning of the year. Last Saturday I did my weekly long run. About three hours after finishing, my right ankle began to hurt badly and I hobbled around for two days. I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I had done differently, or what had changed and might be causing this new problem. Nothing – there are no good reasons that I can come up with for this new issue. I’ve since done a couple of shorter runs with very minimal symptoms in that ankle. So, I’m hoping that this is just another of those weird things that will nag me for only a week or two and then disappear like the others before have done. It’s enough of a pattern that I probably shouldn’t be worried about it, but I always do – until they go away, which they always have.

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