As I look back at the past 6 months since the Chicago Marathon, I think the one piece of running advice that I would give would be to run the race you trained for. Join me for Running Coaches’ Corner link up!
Today is the last day of our March Madness theme for Running Coaches Corner, and the last time that we will host the link up on Thursday. That means starting next week, we will be switching to Wednesdays for the Running Coaches Corner link up, and the new theme will be nutrition!
After spending much of the last month looking at the madness and hysteria of pacing and transitioning to outdoor running, I am stopping the madness with a look at the madness that stopped me: my amazing, but ultimately destructive, Chicago Marathon.
Running Advice: Run the Race You Trained For
Aka Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should. Particularly with the marathon distance.
For those of you who are new to my blog (HI), last October, I ran the Chicago Marathon after a summer of coaching runners, rather than training explicitly for myself. Going into the race, my mindset was one where I would have been perfectly happy with a sub 4 marathon, and ecstatic with a 3:45. Wellllll, I ran a 3:29:58. My PR from the Phoenix Marathon earlier in the year is 3:58:30, so yeah, I ended up hauling a$$.
But my race didn’t start off that way: the first four miles were actually a bit of a beast–on or a little ahead of the pace I was planning on running, but mentally not engaged. Around mile 4, I looked up and saw one of my training buddings (from a previous marathon cycle), and ended up running with her for 12ish miles before realizing that I needed a bathroom break and to pull back a bit. Also, she was running MUCH faster than I, but a pace that was my previous race pace, so I was still rather comfortable with that speed.
During my training cycle, I had run more miles than just about any other training cycle, and even did so coming off of a stress reaction in my tibia following a speed session in unsupportive shoes (another lesson, to be sure). The majority of my miles throughout the summer had been way behind what had been my “typical” pace, but I would run my mid week miles a bit quicker, at about what had been my quite comfortable pace previously.
This race proved to me that you can keep and even gain speed while doing the majority of your runs at an easier pace, but it also taught me that you still have to prep your body for the rigors of running at said faster paces FOR 26.2 MILES.
My body was quite able to handle the 6-8 miles that I did around that pace a few times a week during training. However, the extra rotation of my pelvis necessary to length my stride and achieve that pace, and even greater, repeated pelvic rotation for 12 miles and then lesser, but still greater than the degree experienced during training, rotation during the remaining miles resulted in a sacral stress fracture. Stress fractures do not necessarily build up over time: the two stress related injuries I’ve had occurred in isolated incidences.
I’ve spoken on dealing with my injury quite a bit (though if you have questions, feel free to ask or email me!), so today I want to talk about what running advice I would give to you all and the lessons that I have learned from what happened:
Run the Race You’ve Trained For. Particularly at the Marathon Distance.
Running Advice: Don’t Race Beyond the Level You Have Trained For
Had I run the 3:45-4:00 marathon that I planned on, I would have been totally fine. I would be running the Boston Marathon in 3 weeks with so many of my friends. I wouldn’t have missed out on the past 5 months of running. I would have missed out the past 5 months of doctors, pain, and panic. Of course, I learned a great deal of positive lessons from my injury, and I am at peace with what happened, but it doesn’t make holding that Boston Marathon packet, or sitting out training and coaching seasons, any easier.
There are going to be times that you train for a race and the day off are unable to perform at that level. That is different, and absolutely honor your body’s needs. And if you are having a good day, I am not going to tell you not to feel the magic and go for it. But race at a level above your training at your own risk.You can PR. But SHOULD you? #running advice you need to hear #coachescorner #runchat Click To Tweet
Think about the next race, and whether or not it is worth missing because you were too impatient or wrapped in the moment to wait another few weeks or month, and potentially have an even better race then.
Have you ever overraced a race?
What is a piece of running advice that never occurred to you in such a way until you learned the hard way?