Saturday, July 01, 2006

Confession Time

Like most runners out there, I didn’t listen to all the well-meant advice of taking it easy and taking a few days off running. I did listen to my body and it said “there’s a pain, but it’s not running-related”, and as a result I decided to resume my normal running schedule.

After taking Thursday off due to continued chest pains, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle 18 miles on Friday morning. The distance itself did not worry me; it was the effect it might have on the already aching muscles in my upper body. I ran a few laps around the house on Thursday evening, just to gauge if running would hurt; it didn’t, and I decided to go ahead as planned.

Friday didn’t start very well; I awoke at 4:45 because of a cramp in my right calf. That is a problem I’ve had since my teenage years. I used to wake up with a cramp at least once a month, and more often when it was summer. Taking magnesium tablets has made a big difference, and now I get those cramps maybe twice a year. Unfortunately, Friday morning was one of those. I already know from experience that this doesn’t have any real effect on my run. I can manage even long runs straight after those cramps. It means I will feel some after-effect in my calf muscle, but it doesn’t worsen even after a lot of miles.

When I did start running, I once again felt that pain in my left chest, but nowhere near as bad as on Wednesday. Additionally, there was a pain in my left side. At first I though it was a side-stitch, but it didn’t go away even after slowing down and exhaling consciously, and eventually I decided it must be a muscle pain, most likely caused by some change in my running form on Wednesday. To top it up, my right foot hurt as well. This may or may not be plantar fasciitis, and it’s something that I’ve had on and off over the last year. A new pair of shoes has always solved the problem, and since I’ve just started on a new pair, I’m optimistic that this will solve the problem once again.

After all the drama two days earlier, the long run on Friday itself was rather unremarkable. I ran at a slightly more leisurely pace than the one I’ve done most of my recent long runs at, and the distance itself was not a problem. I really must be in decent shape at the moment, because I didn’t really feel fatigued at all, not even towards the end. Is that the “pleasantly tired” state that you’re supposed to feel once you’re getting very fit? Whatever it is, I’m very happy with the way the run went. In fact, it felt so good that I decided to head out for 6 miles on Saturday morning to make up for the lost day on Thursday. I know that you should never try to catch up on missed workouts, but in effect I just swapped around one rest and one recovery day. Once again, my left chest, right side and right foot all hurt a bit, but not enough to be concerned about it. It made it a bit difficult to get into a relaxed stride, but after three miles I felt ok, and that’s when my heart rate dropped into the normal recovery zone as well.

I’m now quite certain that I can continue my normal running schedule as planned. I had done some core strengthening exercises in the last few weeks, and I might have overdone them, thus causing the muscles in my chest to overreact. I’ll stop the core strengthening for a week or two, and then take them up again, but less rigorously.

Oh, and my mileage for June was 248. I don’t even have to check any other months; I know that it’s a new personal record.

Jun 30: 18 miles, 2:29, 8:17 pace
Jul 1: 6 miles, 54:16, 9:02 pace


  1. you know you are a marathoner when you say, "oh, I had strange aches and pains, but the run felt great!"


  2. Flashing yellow light, Thomas, proceed with caution. Wait, it might be a different color in Ireland so forget it.

    I'm a bit worried about you here, and I speak from experience when I say don't be afraid to go easy or shorter if you feel you need to. I also think maybe the added pounding is stressing your back muscles, which could be affecting your chest/arm. Be careful.

    That being said, I'm very impressed with the mileage from June.

  3. Thomas...248 miles - same as Rob? Are you guys twins? Now I feel the need to go add up my June miles. You are racking up some serious miles there!

    I hope all those aches and pains calm down for you.

  4. Great mileage Thomas. Seeing you are feeling in really good form would a few additional rest days to get over the aches and pains really be so bad? (Particularly after a record month)

  5. You are right, we give the advice of taking it easy and taking a few days off running but we don't like to listen! Yes we are runners! BTW good mileage!

  6. That's some good mileage, no wonder you have aches and pains. Make sure you keep analyzing those aches and pains or one day they may slap you on the side of the head.

  7. You piled on lots of miles for June. Great work! Take it easy and keep listening to your body - rest is your friend.

  8. Yeah, that's just too creepy. I am not sure if I will go much higher than that next month, but might get close to 270-280.