Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"You can start running again"

A quick visit to my doctor has shown that everything seems ok.  I have absolutely no swelling in my left leg, and I feel no pain when it is put under stress.  As my doctor put it, we can't know for sure that it is 100% healed, but it should be enough along the way that I can start running again.  I have to watch out for that pain and back off if it comes back, but with a slow buildup, he thinks I should be fine.

More importantly, once it is 100%, it should be like it never happened.  I should not really be more susceptible to re injure it, meaning that what I learned from this mistake will still apply.  The limit I found should still be a pretty good guide moving forward; there is no reason to think that the bar has to be lower.

Of course, now I need a plan for a comeback.  I'm leaving things open for the next two weeks before I come up with anything solid.  The "training wheels" are on for now.  My first real test run is going to be Friday morning, either 3 or 4 miles at easy pace.  That was more than enough to cause excessive discomfort when I stopped.  Now, it's time to see if I can do that again with no pain.

Next week, I'm going to bump up to 10-15 miles total on about 3 days of running.  If after my second run I still feel good, I'm going to throw my name into a small 5K race on the 30th.  By then, I will have had an extra two weeks of essentially minimal running, to push my grand total to about 8 weeks of little to no running, which should be a solid amount of recovery time.

That 5K will serve two purposes.  First, it will be a real test of how healed I am.  There is really no point in me wasting time jogging around at 8 minute pace and running excessively low mileage for months on end.  I'm here to run hard and I need to know when I can do that again.  Second, it will give me a really good assessment of my race shape.  I really just need to run a race to evaluate that.  I sincerely doubt I can still run a sub-17 5K right now, but I still have to figure out exactly what I can do.

If I feel no pain after that race, I'll bump up to the mid-20s for mileage and reevaluate at that point.  If I can still run at least a 17:30, I'll probably throw in tempo work before speed when I finally do get around to adding it back in.  In the mean time, I'll continue to supplement my base fitness with my bike and cardio equipment.  I think in a few more days I'll be able to stand the elliptical again, especially if I don't have to use it everyday.

My next big decision is whether to run the Delaware Half Marathon or defer my entry.  It's only a month away which might be pushing it.  The Baltimore 10 Miler on the other hand is two months away.  For both these races, finishing is not the issue.  If someone pointed a gun to my head and told me to run a half, I could do it.  However, if I'm not going to be able to even break 1:20, it may not be worth the energy investment.  I'd rather be in solid racing shape for one of those taxing distances.  5Ks and 10Ks are better for "evaluation" races since the physical cost of running them is not all that high.

At the very least I can run again, and that's all that matters!  Everything else will work itself out in due time.


  1. Good luck in your first few runs back -- may they be pain-free!

    I don't know if you desire to elicit commentary, but I stumbled upon your journal through the Livejournal runners community and I enjoy reading about your progress. As I said above, I hope that your recovery is quick and your running strength returns easily!

  2. YAY! So glad to hear you're cleared to start running again!

  3. Comment away! I'm glad there are people who like reading, it gives me motivation to keep it updated.