If there were one golden rule about marathon preparation it might be this...The hardest part about training for the marathon is getting to the starting line. My wife learned the lesson (the hard way) when we first met and she was training for the Anchorage Marathon in 2005. She was fit and strong and motivated. She ran too fast, too far, too soon. She hurt herself. She was never able to get to the starting line.
When I signed up for New York, I knew the kind of work I needed to put in. I knew the kind of miles I needed to put in (with the help of good friend Jen Van Allen at Runners World Magazine). I knew I needed to take it easy and build up my strength. Running is not riding...the work doesn't compare. The miles are harder, it's as simple as that.
So here I am, 11 weeks out from New York...and I'm dealing with an injury. I ran too far, too fast. I was feeling great after my trip to Jackson Hole. When I got home, I was super motivated...I found a 25K trail race in North Jersey, I gave it a shot. It would be the longest run I've ever done...it was on trails...I wouldn't take it easy. I ran fairly well, I felt great. I came in second place, "losing" by 15 seconds after leading from the start.
I felt pretty good the next few days. Good enough to get a solid 3 days in, a little over 20 miles in those 3 days, with a solid 6 mile run at 6:40 pace...way faster than my prescribed marathon pace workouts. I felt a little sore, a little tight in my right knee and calf, but nothing too alarming. Then it was 4 days of rest thanks to a great trip to Southport, NC, for a friends wedding.
Back home this week, 7 miles on Tuesday morning. The pain crept in around mile 4...and kept building. I kept running, thinking it wasn't a big deal. I finished the 7 miles at 7:06 pace, again faster than my prescribed 7:31 easy pace. I stretched a bit, started work and didn't think too much of it. A few hours later, I was having a hard time walking up the stairs. My calf hurt...and my knee...and my ankle. Everything went to crap.
Today, after a day off, I ran a little over 4 miles. The first 2 were with Luna..nice and easy, probably 8:35 pace. God, she's a great easy run partner. I ran the next 2 miles at 7:45 pace...it felt so slow, but it's what I need to do now. I had to focus on how I was running...I think my natural gait is the reason my right leg is giving me so many problems. So now I'm injured, trying to sort thru it and thinking about how I run. Not the ideal situation with 11 weeks to go. But it's all good. I'll sort it out. A cycling friend had a guaranteed fix to my injury. Just stop running and ride. Not a chance. I'll always be a cyclist. But I'm a runner now as well.