The first marathon I ever trained for, I followed my training plan to the T. Well, for the first two months, then I got injured. Instead of listening to my body and pulling back when my body was screaming for me to slow down, I kept on because I was so worried that if I missed a mile I would never be able to get to the end of the race. Little did I know that I was hurting myself.
My second time I was smarter. I listened to my body more but still ended up with tendonitis in my ankle. Even with previous experience it was hard not to question if I was feeling real pain or just imagining it. It was hard to slow my momentum down.
This time around, it is different. Deviating from my plan is no big deal. Nothing like pregnancy, labor and delivery to teach you how to listen to your body. It seems deviations are somewhat of a bi-weekly occurence at my house.
I was tired this week. Two trips in two weeks wore me out. Instead of my speed workout which would have been about 7 miles, I got lost doing five in San Antonio. My 8 mile tempo run ended up being a casually paced run on the treadmill in my basement. The long run, well it was long. 18 miles long. I took walk breaks when I needed and after I dropped a pack of Shot Bloks somewhere on the trail around mile 9, I substituted Swedish Fish I picked up at a gas station on my way home.
I didn’t give up when my pace was almost a minute slower than it has been. I didn’t give up when I had to walk and when I felt my knees tightening. I stopped to stretch. With the exception of when I had to run into the gas station to buy the Swedish Fish, I never stopped my watch because I wanted to know where I’d be at if I had to stretch, etc. during the marathon. Plus, pace didn’t matter, it was time on my feet. Just 10 minutes shy of 3 whole hours on my feet.
When training for an event like a marathon, there is nothing more important than listening to your body and doing what works for your lifestyle. Cutting a run short or sitting a run out isn’t going to be the end of your training. If you are extra sore or you’re knee or ankle are hurting, rest. If you’re feeling good, pick up the pace. Easy advice to give, hard advice to take.
Your body will thank you. I know mine is.
P.S. Congratulations to Kirsten and Brandon on the birth of their beautiful baby girl Piper Elizabeth yesterday! She was about 3 weeks early but the little peanut (even smaller than Ella was) and mom are doing well.