Until now I have never trained for a race where I had to make it to the starting line. I have always prepared for the big races with the intention of lining up in top physical condition or not at all. Sometimes that meant training through those nagging injuries and hoping they would get better before race day. When preparing to run for 24-hours you are constantly running a fine line between maximum training and overuse injuries. It is just the nature of the beast. There will be aches and pains, legs muscles will be sore and those first steps of the day will always be a little slow. Knowing the difference between normal soreness and early signs of an overuse injury is the key.
For the first time in my life I’m training for an event where it is imperative that I get to the starting line and it has me thinking. Although I have every intention of being in the best shape of my life on April 22nd it is even more important for me to stay healthy and injury free over the next 3 months. I can't back out of this event if training doesn’t go my way. My training had been slow and steady from October thru December and my legs always felt good even on the longer weeks. As of January 1st , I flipped the switch and the serious training began (see blog post below). Over the last two weeks I have run nearly 200 miles. Four of those days I did runs of over 25 miles. All those miles were under an 8 minute mile pace and about half were under a 7 minute mile. The speed and distance has jumped considerably and the legs have taken notice.
I am still running that fine line but I need to reconsider the balance point in my training philosophy. I am paying more attention to those little aches and pains than I had in the past. At the moment everything feels as it should and I have no intention of slowing down. There is a dull aching in my legs, I’m asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow and I’m running farther and faster week after week. These are all indicators that the training is working. With that in mind I’ll press on but cautiously. I will not hesitate to take a few days off at the first sign of injury. Being in the best shape of my life will mean nothing if I can’t Go the Distance due to injury. Run smart!
“In order to finish first, you must first finish!”