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Why you Shouldn’t do a Tempo Run too Soon.

After my recent 3 week recovery period from reconstructive surgeryI was back to running for two weeks and so soon, I’m side lining myself for a week.

Here is the stupid truth: 6 days into my return, I did a tempo run. (felt good to work hard, but bad idea)

I hadn’t planned on doing the tempo run, I knew I shouldn’t do it. But I was in a rotten mood. I was mad and running fast made me feel good. It worked for my mood that day, but it pissed my right hamstring off. I had no business doing any sort of running that quick. It was a 60 minute run, with 30 minutes at tempo (6:44-6:49 pace.) In my normal shape, that kind of pace for 30 minutes feels like work, but not hard work. This run felt like hard work after 5 minutes and days following the bad mood was still gone, but had moved to my hamstring. No running for 3 weeks, that quicker leg turn over with the longer strides, I wasn’t ready for it.

Learn from me. If I wanted to run it out a little harder to get rid of stress, bad mood, whatever, I should have hopped on the bike or the elliptical and done some harder efforts on them. I would NEVER have one of the runners we coach to do a tempo run like that after a break. Yet I subjected myself to it for a stupid reason. Maybe next time if a normal paced run doesn’t work to relieve a bad mood, I’ll schedule an extra vodka grapefruit instead of running too fast too soon.

My Boston training plan has been a plan in motion since way back when I returned to running after surgery number 1. I built myself up nicely between that surgery and the second, with a great quality 20 miler and some speed work that put me close to where I was last spring and over the summer.  I peaked my weekly mileage out at 60 a couple of times and things were looking up.

Now, here I am 6 weeks out from the race and taking another week off because I (think) I pulled my hamstring all because of a bad mood. No quality speed work since January pre-surgery and I’m not going to try it anytime soon coming back form this hamstring thing.

I’m not really sure where this leaves the race.  It’s frustrating to think it’s been a whole year (this coming weekend it will be a year from when I ran my marathon PR at Shamrock). Part of my wants to do what I did last year and use Boston as my “Rehoboth Beach” race. Use it to negative split, running totally controlled with no goal in mind for a PR. A confidence boosting race, that reminds me that I am in CONTROL of what I want my body to run. The only issue with that- is if you’ve ever run Boston, (in my opinion at least) it’s really hard to run a slower pace at the start for two reasons- EVERYONE around you is rolling out fast and there are so many downhills, your body naturally just goes quicker. (Your quads paying for it later) I had originally planned to do a lot of my training runs down in Bloomington- which I still have a decent amount of time to do, if I’m back to running this weekend.

My plan though will be to run MY race. Don’t get hung up on who’s running faster than me or what other people are doing. (you know we all do that) I’m running the race I’m capable of and I’m gonna be smart about what I do. Hopefully I will make it fun for Glenn or whoever else decides to track me- to see the pace start out conservative and slowly pick up. (I’ll be thinking about that at mile 20- when their is an audience, you somehow care more…. or you hurt so bad you think F this, I don’t care I just want to finish)

At least I’ll be a lot smarter than when I ran Boston in 2009. I really can’t believe it’s been that long- I’m a completely different runner now and have learned so much in those five years. Look at the babies in the picture post first Boston. Little did we know, Glenn was going to decide to get fast and three years later we’d be back for him to run it, me with Marshall in utero.

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Boston 2009

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Boston 2012 (See Marshall in there? I was 7 months pregnant here)

Now- let’s look on the bright side. I got to waller in bed later this weekend and not concern myself with the normal “I have to do a Saturday morning long run.” While I know my attitude and mood would probably be happier had I got a long run in for the day (that’s 75% of the reason I do it week after week, for real), it was nice to just chill. I can’t wrap my head around choosing to not run long most weekends, because it’s what addicted runners do. After my break this weekend (and my other many breaks I’ve recently had post surgery), I think I’ll start giving myself a weekend every 3-4 weeks where I just don’t run long. A break weekend.

Have you ever had a hamstring pull? Best advice?

Someone scold me for doing what I knew I shouldn’t do!

Do you struggle with comparing what you’re running pace wise with what everyone else is doing?

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