Monday, March 21, 2011

Chasing the dream - 4 weeks till Boston - "Run with caution"

The countdown continues.  Today marks four weeks until the 115th Boston Marathon - four weeks until I will be running one of the most prestigious marathons in the world.  Four weeks is a psychologically significant point in the training schedule for me.  It means my preparation time is now mere weeks instead of months, and only two of those four weeks can be used for building on strength and speed before the taper begins.  Runners are tempted to push hard to include challenging workouts into the final weeks before the taper, which prompts a reminder to add another very important, and often overlooked, element to the training schedule: caution.

Curb your enthusiasm!

It's easy to get swept up in the excitement (and anxiety) of race preparations.  We stress over whether we're doing enough to be ready for the big day, and we forget to think about whether we're doing too much.  As the weeks dwindle away, the need to BE CAREFUL becomes more and more important.  Why?  Because as the days remaining until race day diminish, so too does the window of time available to heal an injury.  Many injuries that involve torn muscles can take 6 to 8 weeks of rest to recover; and injuries that involve a stress fractured bone can take 8 to 12 weeks of rest - sometimes more.

Experienced runners will tell you that ramping up distance too aggressively is a dangerous thing to do, and can result in an injury. I was well aware of the risk associated with adding distance too quickly, however, I didn't make the  connection between "distance" and "elevation" (hills), and how increasing elevation too aggressively can have an equally damaging outcome as increasing distance too aggressively.  I learned that today.

I've been experiencing some pain in my groin over the last few weeks.  I thought nothing of it, assuming that this was just another "training pain" stemming from muscle fatigue.  On Friday, the groin pain worsened during my evening run, and I sensed that the pain could be more than simple muscle fatigue.

I went to my physiotherapist this morning to have the groin pain assessed.  As my physiotherapist tested my adductors and abductors for strength and pain, I explained my recent training regiment with her.  Her assessment is what she called a "pre-fracture" in my pelvis.  A "pre-fracture" is her way of describing what happens to the bone before it actually fractures.  It seems the increase in downhill running, which is very high impact running, has stressed my pelvis and left it in a more delicate state.

Luckily I seem to have caught the problem before it progressed into a full blown injury, but it has certainly planted a fear in my heart.  My lesson this week: moderation is important for ALL aspects of your training.  From distance to hills to weights: it's imperative to give the body time to ramp-up.  Training too little should not worry runners as much as training too much.  You can always make it to the start line under-prepared, but you likely won't even see the start line if you over-prepare and end up with an injury.


  1. Take it easy and keep on training smart. You'll do fantastic. Live, Love, Run.


  2. Thanks, Darryl. Great advice. Live, Love, Run and LEARN! :)