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.



  1. Tracy · · Reply

    I was just diagnosed with a stress reaction in my foot. I have taken 1 week off so far and am taking 1 more week off with a few slow easy runs before my half marathon on the 18th of May. I am training for a full marathon in October and am very nervous how this foot will hold up. Good luck to you. I have never dealt with this before so it is going to be a learning experience. I understand you exactly when you say running is a part of who you are.

    1. Tracy – hope your foot heals quickly and you can resume running. I wish you all the best for your May 18 marathon. I have been wearing an Aircast boot that accelerates healing of the bone because I am not applying pressure nor rolling the foot as I walk. I am wearing the boot for 3-4 weeks before resuming light running on soft surfaces.

  2. Tracy · · Reply

    My Ortho/Sports doc must not have felt it was that bad. When we chatted after the MRI he gave me the green light for the half marathon but a play by ear after that. I am icing, elevating, biking and my chiro suggested enzymes to help speed healing and make bones stronger. It is a tough pill to swallow isn’t it! I wish you the best as well and will be following your progress!

  3. […] the Northeast weather finally warming up and Spring in full bloom, the mental and emotional pain to shut down my training and reset my goal to a fall half-marathon has become unbearable. It feels like I have a ball-and-chain not only around my foot, but around my […]

  4. […] weeks have passed since I stopped training for my half-marathon goal because of a stress reaction. I wore an Aircast boot for three weeks to stabilize my foot and aid in the recovery and healing […]

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