I hit the reset button on my half-marathon training. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I had to shut down my running for a few weeks because of a stress reaction in my right foot. A stress reaction is the precursor to a stress fracture, which I experienced in February 2012. I am being conservative and suspending my running for a few weeks with the hope that the stress reaction will sufficiently heal so I can slowly start to run again, rather than continuing my current running and risking a stress fracture and not being able to run for 2-3 months.
During my 10-week aerobic base building phase, I ran about 435 miles and other than a couple of bouts of illness, I felt healthy. During week 11, I reduced my mileage to enable full recovery from a cold, and planned to ramp up again in week 12. That’s when I felt a twinge in my right foot (same location as my previous stress fracture) during an 8-mile run, and I realized that my goal of running the Fairfield marathon on June 23 in 1:20 quickly vaporized. I rested the next day, and then attempted a 10×400 interval workout with my 11 year old son, but felt discomfort during my first 400 and stopped. That’s when I decided to shut down my running.
When I set the my half-marathon goal, I committed to measuring progress and analyzing and adjusting when necessary. Progress was excellent over the first 10 weeks, but probably too much, too fast and too intense. In light of my previous stress fracture (and the 60% re-occurrence rate, which I learned now), it was probably unrealistic to plan an early summer half-marathon goal and commit to a 5 month training plan. Lesson learned. Adjustment made.
The decision to reset my half-marathon training and shut down my running is prudent, but it is emotionally painful nonetheless. Not to be able to run is almost like not being able to eat, drink and sleep (and a few other things that come to mind). For me, running is not a sport, rather it is part of my life and part of my two son’s lives. Take away part of my life and it hurts.
I am now evaluating a fall half-marathon with the same 1:20 goal. There are several beautiful fall half-marathons in Connecticut, and I will be able to rebuild my aerobic base during the summer months and incorporate tempo runs and intervals in late summer and early fall. In the meantime, I will maintain as much of my fitness as possible using a combination of aerobic training on a bike and elliptical machine, and performing strength and core exercises.