Training lately has looked VERY different than any kind of half marathon prep I’ve ever done.
Let me back up.
About a month ago my coach, Kim Nedeau gave me a road workout. “Can I do it on the track?” I asked. I really do like the track and it’s measurability and comparability with past workouts in past years. It’s easy to plug numbers into a pace calculator and see if you’re on track for XYZ goals. I like the breakdown of the laps and the push to the line.
“Sure,” she said.
What she should have added was, “Don’t do anything stupid.” More specifically, “Don’t wear track flats because you haven’t worn them in two years.” But how would she know that I would make a split second 4:30 am decision to grab track flats instead of road flats? They’ll make me run faster. I’ll feel so badass, I thought.
The first workout went great. The flats felt fine. I ran fast. Badass, I thought.
Too Much Badass
The next week I took the road intervals to the track again. And while everything felt great during the run, it was after the run while kneeling down to pick up a toy that I felt a warm sharpness in my right calf. Oh no. I thought and brushed it off.
The discomfort returned and persisted through the Rise.Run.Retreat. Training Camp weekend, where I “sucked it up buttercup” to lead the group runs.
Enter three full rest days and voila calf pain gone!
Three runs and a 12-mile road workout [Important Note: in my beloved Saucony Kinvara 4mm drop shoes] later my plantar facia (or what felt like my plantar facia) started getting angry.
That was two weeks ago.
At that point I was ready to scrap my plans to run the CHaD Hero. Is this plantar fasciitis? Should I start the off-season now?? What should I do??
Thankfully, I’m working with a coach who really knows here stuff when it comes to injuries and how to train through them and so collectively we decided to PERSIST. Kim modified my training to include a lot of biking and calf strengthening with the Toe Pro, since we determined that there’s an imbalance and weakness in my peroneal tendons in my right ankle.
We re-introduced running for the first time last week with no discomfort. My running miles totaled all of 3.6 during the week. I opted to run the Bretton Woods Ascent Race on Saturday (2 miles up) instead of the Fell Race (9 miles up, down and all over) and felt GREAT on the ascent and on the cool-down run back to the bottom.
I went out on Sunday to really test things out [Important Note: also in my Saucony Kinvaras with the 4mm drop] for an easy run. The run started great, I felt light, fast and the miles came easily. I turned it into a bit of a fartlek and dropped a couple faster miles (6:27, 6:26) on the way back to the gym. Unfortunately, right around the turn-around point the bottom of my foot started to feel that telltale plantar facia discomfort.
Noooooooooo! I was feeling so good!
I finished up with an hour on the bike and headed home with my head down.
I knew I’d worn the wrong shoes.
All week, I’d been opting for a higher stack shoe using my Under Armor Hovrs (8mm) and an old pair of Mizuno Wave Horizons (12mm). It’s pretty clear that the lower stack shoes are aggravating that peroneal tendon and causing discomfort in the bottom of my foot.
I took a rest day Monday. Did a bit of a test run on Tuesday for about 15 minutes (things felt OK, not great, but OK).
On Wednesday, though, I RAN the final tune up for the ChaD Hero Half with ZERO foot discomfort. I wore my old Mizunos, which weigh about as much as cast iron skillet, but at least my foot felt OK.
I’ve ordered two pairs of running shoes with a 10mm stack to test out on my treadmill and see if they would be a viable option. I ordered the Brooks Launch and the Nike Pegasus.
While my Mizunos are working well for now they have a considerable number of miles on them, so I feel like I need to break in a fresh option for the half marathon next weekend. I also don’t like the idea of running a race with cast iron skillets strapped to my feet. I still want to feel fast and badass.
I have no idea what to expect for the half marathon and honestly that is the most FREEING though ever. I’ll toe the line without a watch and without any paces or finish times in my head. I’ll run by feel and see where my body and my mind can take me. It’s kind of exciting!
Have you ever had an unconventional build toward a goal race? How did you do on race day? What drop shoe do you run in? Minimal or traditional?
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