Now that my big goal half is over, what am I going to do with myself?
I usually start thinking about what’s up next well before race day even comes. I tend to enjoy and look forward to training more than racing, so by the time I’m halfway through taper week, planning for “the next big thing” is well under way. This time around, I have a bunch of ideas, I just need to get them into some kind of order and make some decisions. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, deciding what to put on the top of my list and what won’t be on the list at all. Yesterday’s run helped make some of those decisions.
Yesterday was my first run after the half marathon. I haven’t really taken much of a break since I started training for last fall’s marathon, so I decided to take a full week off after the race. I thought it would be a good opportunity to give my legs a well deserved rest, and I was looking forward to my legs feeling fresh and strong for yesterday’s run. Unfortunately, that’s not really how things went.
In the week leading up to the half marathon, my legs were not feeling awesome. Usually during taper, all the rest and easy running leaves me feeling super strong, but that was not the case this time around. My right hamstring was bothering me (more on this below), and my legs just felt heavy. This was not a big confidence booster going into the race, but race day came and I didn’t have any issues at all. My legs felt rested and strong, and my hamstring didn’t bother me one bit. Even after the race, I was sore, but my hamstring was fine, and the soreness went away after a couple of days. So I thought for sure that after taking an entire week off, I’d jump back in feeling better than ever. But, to my dismay, yesterday’s run felt exactly like the lousy taper week runs. My legs felt heavy and slow, and my hamstring was being a big wimp. Lame!
History of my wimpy hamstring:
A couple years ago I had some problems with my right hamstring. Nothing earth shatteringly bad, but enough of an annoyance that I took a few months off of running and went to physical therapy to get it figured out. They told me I could keep running, but it wasn’t really fun to run with the pain and weakness, so I took some time off. Their diagnosis was that the muscle was tight and weak, so my physical therapy routine consisted of massaging the muscle, stretching, and doing strength exercises. Eventually I graduated from physical therapy, and have been running strong and healthy since then. They sent me home with a list of the stretches and exercises to keep my hamstring in line, but I haven’t had any problems, so I haven’t been doing them lately. (Ha!…Let’s be honest, I never did them.)
That brings us to today where, except for the amazing/wonderful exception of race day, my hamstring feels exactly like it did back then. And, this is how yesterday’s run made some decisions for me about my next running adventures.
First on the list of what’s up next is going to be fixing my stupid, wimpy hamstring. I’m not planning on stopping my running this time though. Unless things get worse, or don’t get better, or stop being fun. My plan for fixing my hamstring is going to include stretching, foam rolling, and strength exercises (all my favorite things! blech). And maybe some ice or heat. Fun times, really.
Second on my list is The Great Marathon Decision of 2014. I have to figure out if I’m gong to run a fall marathon, which marathon I’m going to run, what my training plan is going to look like, and when exactly I will have to start this training plan. I’ve been pouring over all these things for an entire week now, and the indecision is killing me. The two races I’ve been thinking of don’t seem to be on the verge of filling up, so I won’t have to register right away (good thing, given the hamstring issue), but if I need to start training now, that would be a good thing to know.
Third on my list is Fun Running. Initially, I thought I wouldn’t have to start marathon training until the beginning of July, and I planned to spend all of May running outside of a training plan followed by the Summer running streak (Memorial Day through July 4th). Given that the training plan I want to use (more on this in another post) is quite lengthy, and the fact that my hamstring isn’t super happy right now, I’m going to alter some of that initial plan. I had a few ideas for fun runs that I’m still going to do. I can do those on easy run days if I start my training plan early. I think I’m going to cancel the running streak, though. Marathon training and hamstring trouble aren’t good times for streaking.
And that’s it my friends, a rough idea of what I’m up to: Fix Hamstring, Start Marathon Training, Do Fun Runs.