Mile Markers June 20

Mile Markers: Cautious

Hi there! How was your weekend?

Mile Markers June 20

As a runner, I constantly attempt to balance the fine line of being cautious about potential injury and pushing my limits. I’m sure you do as well. 

Niggles, sore spots, and injuries all are contemptible, annoying, unnerving, and just plain awful to endure. But the risk comes with the territory of sports, of training and improving. Of course many injuries can be prevented through strength training, smart racing and training strategies, and good nutrition; but many just happen – maybe you slipped, twisted something, threw your biomechanics off, or something. 

Could you sit on the sofa and avoid all sprains and strains? Yes, yes you could, but is avoiding injury worth avoiding the fitness, mental and physical health, adventure, sense of accomplishment, and sheer joy that comes with running, hiking, cycling, swimming, whatever? Never, at least in my opinion. 

Runners are called endurance athletes for a reason: we endure all sorts of ups and downs in our training. Endurance encompasses more than the physical capacity to run many miles without stopping. Endurance is a state of mind and a habit of being. We endure the discomfort of a hard workout, the mental suffering, the blistering pace, and muscle fatigue in racing, and the down time of injury or recovery. 

So this week I endured rest and recovery as I played it cautious to keep a niggle from morphing into an injury. I won’t deny that I miss running, but this time I knew deep down that rest was right for my body, which made it mentally easier. If I had rested, iced, compressed, and been deliberate about recovery when my sprained ankle was in the acute stage, I would have avoided the time off from running. All that matters to me right now is running again by the end of July so I can start training for the California International Marathon. 

Monday: 5 mile easy hill run + 4 strides

Since I had been back to running for 3 full weeks at this point, I decided to try adding in a few strides. I usually vary up how I do strides: sometimes I do them after a run, other times I thrown them in over the second half of the run in a manner more like surges. I did hill sprints for about half of my half marathon training earlier this year and plan on resume those for marathon training, but I figured a conservative approach would be to start with strides. 

Well, as I mentioned in Thursday’s post, near the end of my fourth stride my right hamstring seized up near the knee. No popping sensation, just like a sudden cramp. My biomechanics were probably a bit off as I rehab my sprained foot and the sidewalk had a bit of a slant, which likely increased the risk of tweaking my hamstring. 

Tuesday: 40 minute walk with Charlie +  30 minutes Pilates

I had Tuesday planned as my rest day, which worked well for resting my leg. The weather in the Seattle area feels like autumn, even though it’s summer, so I can’t resist time outside on any trails. Charlie and I enjoyed a morning walk instead of a run, hoping to get some exercise while resting my hamstring. 

Mile Markers June 20

Wednesday: AM: 1 mile run + 1 mile walk; PM: 1 mile walk + upper body weights

By Wednesday morning, I forgot about my hamstring tightness until my run. After walking for about a tenth of a mile to warm up, I started running and quickly noticed some tightness, almost like a cramping sensation on my hamstring right above my knee. I gave myself a mile to loosen up, but once I hit one mile and the tightness hadn’t subsisted, I turned around and walked the mile back to my car. Not worth it. 

Mile Markers June 20

Not getting to run was admittedly disappointing. The weather was perfect for running: mid-40s, partly sunny, long sleeve with thumbholes and shorts weather. I just had gotten back into normal running routine after my sprained foot, but I also knew that pushing through any issues is borrowing miles from future running. 

Thursday: 50 minute walk with Charlie

A 50 minute walk sounds far in theory, but with a Charlie’s beagle tendencies we barely covered 1.5 miles: sniff, mark, sniff, attempt to chase a rabbit, sniff some more, mark again, more sniffing. 

Friday: AM: 40 minutes walk with Charlie; PM: 20 min treadmill walk and 20 minutes strength training

Beautiful sunny weather made Charlie’s and my walk quite enjoyable, and being outside even when I can’t run sure beats being stuck in the gym. 

Mile Markers June 20

Saturday: 30 minute treadmill walk + 20 minutes strength training

Saturday had rainy, chilly, just generally dreary weather, so we scratched all plans of outdoor activities and decided to hike on Sunday. Ryan did his long run on the treadmill, while I just walked, listened to podcasts, and did upper body and core exercises. 

Saturday night after Mass we treated ourselves to beer and a shared order of fries at our favorite brewery. With both Ryan and I pursuing athletic goals (him more than I right now, since I spent most of this week walking), we eat primarily nutritious, minimally processed whole foods and avoiding skipping workouts unless we need to, and it’s relaxing (and mentally healthy I believe) to treat ourselves every once and while. Plus, Ryan had completed his longest continuous run this year – always worth celebrating! 

Mile Markers June 20

Sunday: 5 mile hike

Ryan, Charlie, and I headed out to Stevens Pass early for a short and relatively flat hike. Since we were in no rush, we let Charlie play in the stream and frolic around off-leash (as long as it was safe and there were no other people around). 

The lake was extra picturesque as it was nestled at the base of Mt. Baring. It took us only about 50 minutes to climb and descend, so we spent about an hour or so exploring along the lake and letting Charlie play in the water. 

Mile Markers June 20

This week I’m going to attempt 5-10 minutes of running on Monday. If my hamstring and foot feel good, my plan is to very gradually ease back into mileage. If my hamstring tightens up or hurts, I’m going to cross-train, make a PT appointment, and just keep icing and resting it. There are times in running to take risks and push yourself, but not when it comes to any pain or potential injury. 

Linking up with Weekly Wrap!

Do you include strides in your training?
How do you find the balance between fending off injury and improving at your running?
What was your highlight of the weekend?

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23 Responses

  1. I’m sorry that you had to turn back, but you made the right call. Imagine how pissed you would have been if you had ignored the signs, kept going, and gotten worse! Like you said: NOT WORTH IT

  2. Love all of the outdoorsy pictures! You live in such a beautiful area. I usually include strides in at least one run a week. I love being able to wake up my legs a bit!

  3. Oh I am sorry to hear about your hamstring! It seems like a lot of us are dealing with annoying niggles right now. Taking the time to rest is so important even though it’s extremely frustrating! I am so jealous of your trails, views, and weather! I was hoping to run RNR Seattle but it didn’t work out. I hope you feel better!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it does seem to be the season for niggles and injuries unfortunately – so many runners I know are dealing with them. But the rest definitely paid off. I’m sorry RNR Seattle didn’t work out for you – hopefully next year! There’s also the Seattle Marathon/Half Marathon and several great local races in both downtown Seattle and East Seattle that could be interesting for you maybe. 🙂

  4. Ugh, sorry to hear about your hamstring. When I had tightness in mine, I found that Graston helped quite a bit to loosen up a knot I had deep in it. Also, I’m super jealous you had weather in the mid 40’s! I’m trying to survive the warmer temps and humidity!! Highlight of my weekend was enjoying a run with Brandon as well as my mom’s cooking!

    1. Thank you! I’ll keep that in mind in case it flares again. Stay cool in that heat and humidity! I just finished reading your post and my mouth was watering from your mom’s cooking – it looked and sounded so tasty!

  5. Really crappy about your hamstring. NOT COOL. And I relate to Charlie’s beagle tendencies. I actually think I may be part beagle. Congratulations, RYAN on your longest run ever! Woohoooo!!!

    1. Thank you! It’s feeling better so far – yay for back to (short) running! I think you may be also – you and Charlie need to meet some day. The best thing is when he howls.

  6. I hope your hamstring feels better soon!

    Sorry you had to miss some good running weather, but it will be worth it once it heals, as you will be able to train better and really enjoy those runs and have them pay off. Although i can’t imagine temps in the 40s right now… sounds like i need to pack a ton of sweats if we visit Seattle this summer…

    1. Thank you! Sure enough RICEing did the trick, knock on wood it stays feeling good! You should definitely pack layers for visiting Seattle! July and august get a bit warmer, but it can range from the 50s-70s, maybe the 80s – which will still probably feel chilly compared to your summer weather. Mornings feel like fall here even in summer!

  7. Sorry to hear about your hamstring! I hope whatever it is heals quickly. Looks like you guys went on a beautiful hike! Ran Seattle Rock’n’Roll half and the weather was perfect! Now that I’m back in CA, I wish we had your weather. We will be in the 100’s this week.

    1. Thank you! It’s already feeling better, a week of RICEing truly does make a difference for keeping those niggles at bay. Congrats on running Seattle RNR – the weather was perfect for racing! Our weather is pretty nice, still in the 60s although it’s a bit humid now.

  8. You have such lovely scenery. I’d be outside as much as possible! It’s never worth risking further injury. Hopefully, the hamstring issue with be short lived. I’ve cut back on my running miles hoping to have an injury free marathon training cycle beginning next month. Thanks for linking with us Laura!

    1. Thank you! So far it does seemed short lived, so hopefully it remains that way. That’s smart of you to cut back on your miles and rest the body a bit. Thanks for hosting!

  9. I’m getting better about paying attention to those nagging niggles. Way better than before and I’m with you it’s not worth finishing one run only to have to sit out the next few. This summer for me is about variety. Doing things I can’t during Spring racing. I lift more, take more classes and I’m streaking….for now.

    1. Oh I agree! One run is never worth any duration of sitting out. Summer is a great time for lifting more – especially when the gym is cooler than the outdoors!

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