17 February 2012

I Should Listen to My Coach

I coach myself.  I would like a coach other than myself, but I cannot afford one.  I don't necessarily believe that another coach would know better what I should do, but I might react differently to a voice other than mine when that voice tells me what I should not do.  I don't listen to myself when I try to limit me.  Take today as an example.

I set out to run ten miles.  I mentioned in another post that I would run ten miles today because I could not run a scheduled ten miler on Wednesday, the day that I usually run a medium-long run. Yesterday, I ran a 7k tempo run, and I completed that run on only two hours of sleep--my older daughter got sick during the night before, and after cleaning up after her, I had trouble getting back to sleep.  I opted not to wear a HR monitor because I just wanted to run easily and seeing a low HR may have encouraged me to go harder than I felt I should go.  I slept for about five or six hours last night, so I had more rest, but not enough to make up for the lack of sleep the night before.

As I was waiting for my GPS to locate satellites, I saw two friends of mine and told them that I would be running to Katwijk and back--a ten-mile trip through the dunes between Wassenaar and Katwijk.

I had not run this route before, and I was not prepared for the rolling terrain.  The hills are not long, but they are short and steep and regular, and they wore me out.  My legs felt heavy and stiff. After about three and a half miles I thought that I should probably just turn around at mile four and cut the run down to eight miles.  Unfortunately, I then remembered that I had told my friends that I was running to Katwijk and back.  I felt that I should probably do what I said I was doing. Besides, I rationalized, I am only going to run a couple of very easy miles tomorrow with my beginning runners group, so I should be fine with doing a little more today.

I should probably also mention at this point that I will hit 50 miles this week for the first time in 16 months.  I will post later about why this is, but it involves a torn medial meniscus last March and knee surgery this past August.

Any reasonable athlete would have been fine with turning around early and cutting the run short.  I am not a reasonable athlete.  I wanted to hit 50 miles this week, and I didn't want my friends to think that I talk more than I run.  (I also know the greater benefits found in running for 80 minutes as opposed to running for 60 minutes.)

Before I knew it, I was in Katwijk and turning around at the 5.3 mile mark.  And then I ran a negative split back.  I was smart enough, however, to limit the run to ten miles and to walk the rest of the way home after reaching ten miles.

Unfortunately, I felt, at around eight miles, a slight twinge in the lateral hamstring tendon of my right leg.  This twinge seemed to radiate down through my calf and cause a slight pain in the outside area of my right ankle, as well as radiate up into the hamstring muscle.  Now, I feel as if I have tweaked the hamstring tendon and muscle.  I feel more an annoying minor pain than a debilitating pain, a pain that would limit me with my group tomorrow.

I would probably not have this pain if I had stopped at eight miles.  I should have listened to my coach and not have acted stubbornly.


  1. Running by numbers and data or running by feel. That's always the question.

  2. I wish I could do more of the latter. I read about people who are able to go out for a run without a watch, but I've never been able to do it myself. The closest I've gotten is going out with only a watch and not knowing how far I had gone. But I still had the watch.