Monday, October 22, 2012

Evaluating Running Goals After An Injury

Yes, the "dreaded" injury. In my case, this ankle right here:

If you recall, I rolled my ankle pretty good during the Condor 25k Trail Run. After I rolled the ankle, I believe I made a few mistakes. First, I ran the rest of the race after I hurt my ankle - about 13 miles on a bad ankle. Dumb, but I can be stubborn like that, I admit. I've never had an actual DNF in a race. I didn't want to start then. Then I took six days off - a good decision. Then I thought I could go ahead and run because it didn't feel really bad. Mistake number two. I definitely didn't do the healing any favors with that run. Now I'm on a seven-day stretch without running. It's feeling a bit better, although not great. Maybe 75-80%.

So the goals...

First, I'm signed up for the Runaway Pumpkin Half this Saturday, the 27th. Way back, when I signed up for the race, I figured it would be a nice little test as I move toward the CIM in December. About six weeks away from my goal marathon, so I could run the Half fast and try to PR, with plenty of time after to recover.

Now, I'm not even sure if I'm going to run the Pumpkin Half at all. If I do, the PR is out the window.

And of course, now I'm on my third week of basically no running. In the middle of my training program for my Boston Qualifier, the CIM. Sigh...I knew qualifying for Boston would be tough, I just didn't realize I'd have so many false starts.

So I'm having a tough time with my mental outlook right now. I'm trying very hard to take the long overview:

-Get the foot healthy enough to run on again,
-If possible, use the Runaway Pumpkin Half as an easy training run,
-Get back into the training schedule, but ease off a bit. Boston is not an option at this point, and I need to regain my running fitness more than my top-end speed, after being out for so long.
-Try to PR at the California International Marathon. A new goal, sort of, but still something to drive toward and focus on. And frankly, since I had such a horrible race at my last full, a new PR is still very much possible.

And since it's important to quit focusing on the negative ("damn foot, why won't you get better faster?"), and instead focus on the future ("so what spring marathon should I schedule?"), I went out and purchased the new Hanson's Marathon Method book. What's more inspiring than a new training plan to follow?!?

So, let's review:

-Wait! Don't rush it. Let the injury heal and get back into the training as soon as possible.
-Reset the goals. Make them concrete, objective, and most importantly, still difficult yet achievable.
-Find some inspiration to get you excited all over again. A new book, a new pair of shoes, sign up for a race that's six months away. Anything to solidly plant that new goal and improve the mental and emotional outlook.

And don't think about the foot. Quit thinking about the foot.

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