On Wednesday, I went to the morning workout with Coach Jen. I’ll be an assistant coach for that group when the spring triathlon training starts up, so I thought I’d get back in the time habit by going (I coached a bike workout last week in her absence, so Wednesday was actually my second time). I love the daytime group.
Taking Care of that Hamstring
Anyway, it was a run workout that involved repeats of some very minor hill work plus a quicker pace on a loop portion. What I found was that the minute I got out on the road on a short run with other people where pace was important, I worked to run faster (yes, I am actually a very competitive person at workouts). And the minute I started to do that, my hamstring begain to ache. Not HURT but ache; we can debate the terminology all day, as I know I have a high pain threshold and will work through some things that other people wouldn’t–in any case, I pay attention to “ache” as much as “hurt.”
Once it begins to ache, I know that after awhile (not long at all), that leg feels weak and I can tell that I am carrying it. The more fatigued it gets, the more it aches. I talked to Jen about it; she had a similar injury, and she said it takes a long time to get back. Obviously, as I push the pace, my stride opens up more which exacerbates the area. When I’m trail running, my stride stays shorter even when I’m working to run faster. Plus, I almost never run as fast on the trail as I do on the road unless I’m going downhill, where my biomechanics are different.
What can I learn from this? I have GOT to move away from distance on the road until I build my strength in that right hammie. Right now, I should do runs of about four miles on the road, no more, until I can pick up the pace at that distance without fatigue and ache.
When I can do that, I should push it a little further. Any distance running I’m doing should absolutely be on the trail, but I need to keep things rather proportionate seeing as my during-the-week distances will be so much shorter. It’s all about balance (isn’t it always?).
I had struggled over the distance I wanted to ride at Spokes ‘n Spurs this weekend. Keeping the above in mind and looking at what I’ve been doing (my last “long” ride was 21 miles) and where I’m going (I’d like to do the Quarter Iron at Galveston), the sensible thing was to ride the 28 mile route. But everybody I know, including the hubby, was going to be doing the 44 mile route. Of course, I have the endurance for that…but what I don’t know is when the hammie gets sore and what that would do to me if, say, it happened at about mile 33. The weather solved the issue; the ride was cancelled.
Clearly, I have to fight against the FOMO in me, which wants to do what all my friends are doing.
Carrying the EpiPen and Allergy Gear
I’ve made a compromise on my pack. During short, heavily peopled runs (neighborhood and Lady Bird Lake, for example), I’m carrying an “abbreviated” pack. In it, I have my phone plus quick dissolve Benadryl. The heavy pack (Benadryl, phone, ginormous EpiPen) will go on all trail runs, regardless of distance and any long road run where I may wind up alone. I think that’s realistic and, more importantly, something I’ll actually do.
Now, I have to consider bike rides…do I wear it or try to find some other bag to attach to my bike? And then I guess I’ll put it in a bag for swimming.
Sigh–pain in the ass factor. Oh, well; as Meredith says, it’s all very doable. I just gotta make the habits.