Thursday, February 3, 2011

Running marathon pace without pain

I would like to say thank you for all of the support I have received from local runners and the blog-o-sphere at large.  It is very appreciated!
As you know I had a lot of discomfort while running this past week and a half.  This is something that I am just not used to.  I joke about it a lot but I like to think that I actually train smart most of time.  A lot of the guys that I workout with do a lot less and are hurt a lot more.  In fact, some of them are hurt so much that the own the boot.  They pull it out of the closet every few months.  I can almost predict when they will have to saddle it up again.

Count me lucky but I am so very rarely hurt.  But you do make your own luck.  I am very quick to shut it down at the first signs of discomfort.  That is why this caught me by surprise.  In retrospect, the intensity these past few weeks has been pretty high and I might have felt this ITB issue coming on earlier than I recognized.  But the real discomfort did not manifest itself until the last few miles of that 20 mile run two weeks ago.  The discomfort came on slowly and decided to stay awhile. 


I always like to say, “3 days will save you 3 weeks, 3 weeks will save you 3 months”.  I took my often given advice (sometimes this is difficult to do).  I took several days off.  I took a total of 4 complete days off and then I only ran at a super easy pace.  I tested the leg twice more with a couple of near complete rest days in between.

Today was the real test.  This was important.  Important not only to maintain my M (marathon) pace but to be able to do it without pain.  I set out for a 6 mile run at M pace today at lunch.  The wind was swirling and it was bitter cold.  Bitter cold here in the south is in the 30’s.  Everyone thought I was nuts to brave the elements.  I dressed appropriately with shorts, a short sleeved shirt, a long sleeved shirt and a pair of gloves.  I programmed the virtual nemesis for 6 miles @ M pace (6:50).

The first two miles were difficult.  My leg was not hurting but the run was.  I was laboring harder than I should of for the pace.  There was fear in my mind.  Where had my race fitness gone?  I thought about turning around but as long as the leg was fine I was not going to back down.  I was holding steady with the nemesis.  After the first couple of miles I eased into my rhythm.  I was running strong and there was no pain.  This was a huge relief off of my mind.

The first half of the run is harder than the back.  I was a few feet behind the nemesis but I new that I would make up some ground.  I was not looking at heart rate.  I was just trying to put some time into the nemesis without working too hard.  I started to gain more and more time.  I was a couple of hundred feet in front of the nemesis and still the leg held.
I finished up the 6 miles in 40:27 with the following splits:

01.  6:50
02:  6:53
03:  6:48
04.  6:39
05.  6:39
06.  6:37

Although this run was at M pace (not too fast) I was very gratified that I was able to hold pace and even more important hold pace without pain.  I am hoping that the couple of days off not only did not hurt my marathon efforts but might have even helped them.  You know, the old adage of it is better to be 10 percent undertrained than 1 percent over trainer.

The marathon goals are in place and the effort will be made.  There are no guarantees of success but I will be toeing the line on race day prepared to give it my best.  I’m getting excited about this again.


Matty O said...

Awesome. Simply awesome.

I will say I am rather impressed at your speed increase in a relatively short amount of time. Your running fitness seems to have just JUMPED in the past 3-4 months.

Still shocked that you are back in good standing with the IT issues. I have been battling mine since the 13.1 I did in December. I think I finally found the trick for myself and it involves stretching every day, 3 times a day.

My PR is 3:19:57, give me something to shoot for haha!

HAVE FUN out there, and when it starts to hurt and you want to quit... dig deep man. It's one race, one day. After the race you will look back and not feel any of that pain so push it aside while running.

Tri-James said...

I don’t think that my fitness jumped up suddenly. I have run these paces in the past (I ran 6 miles @ 6:30 pace a few weeks back and my 5k PR pace is 6:10). I think I have gradually increased in my run endurance.

What I do think that has happened is that I ran on fresh legs. In most of my training the legs are in a constant state of fatigue. Having a few signs of injury got me off my feet. ; got me off the bike trainer. And BAM – fresh legs.

Oh, and I agree, PAIN IS TEMPORARY (unless you tear up your ITB).

Aimee said...

Woohoo! I'm so glad you didn't have any pain during your run! Awesome!

Francine said...

Glad you're not in pain anymore. Have fun!

Caratunk Girl said...

Wow. It seems everywhere I read, someone has ITB issues!! Glad yours got sorted out.