Beyond A Niggle – Time to Take A Break
This is the part of running that is the hardest!
You know, when your training is going really, really well and you have a niggle that is turning into a little more than a niggle. Yet it hasn’t been enough to really stop what I am doing – after all I have lots of niggles besides my right knee that I do keep an eye on, but haven’t caused me to stop running.
However, my right knee has hinted a little more frequently that it doesn’t like something and started to really bark and let me know in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t happy with me on Monday’s 8.0 miler.
I was out for a recovery run and did a Harold being Harold. I was feeling pretty good coming down the road in front of Fred’s Coffee (it is a pretty long flat/downhill stretch) and I accidentally picked it up a little to a sub 8:20, which is not really a recovery pace.
Just after the 2.0 mile mark, my knee “talked” to me in no uncertain terms and said. “I didn’t like that fast downhill, let’s stop and I will tell you how much I didn’t like it.”
I had to stop for a minute or so, to listen to what my knee was trying to tell me and figure out what was going on.
When I started to move on it again and it didn’t hurt too bad, so I decided to run slowly back to Colby, instead of finishing the planned run.
When I got down to First Rangeway, the knee was doing fine and as long as I ran around a 9:00 minute or slower pace and focused on my form – no pain. So I decided to finish up the 8.0 mile training run – I didn’t have any problems the rest of the run, unless I tried to run faster or over-extended my stride and really landed with a heel-first stride and an extended knee – then the knee would bark a little, until I shortened my stride back up again.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have played around with my shoe rotation. I have unsuccessfully attempted to add in a couple of different styles and then decided to go back to a more traditional drop shoe 10MM – (which I like a lot).
Evidently and unfortunately, all of this running shoe experimentation was enough to change the angle of my stride slightly and cause the niggle to become a little more than a niggle, but not a full-blown injury. I haven’t done any dramatic increases in mileage, the surfaces have been the same and other than the week in the Newton’s my speed has been consistent.
So this time I will blame this not quite an injury (probably what used to be called Patella Tendonitis or is it Tendonosis?) on the shoe experimentation over the past few weeks and my own over-zealousness in training – when you get any kind of over-use injury it is always the person in the mirror’s responsibility.
Yesterday, I ran just over a mile from ACAR to Mary’s work and while it was pain-free for the most part, it still wasn’t quite right, especially when I picked up the pace, ran downhill or landed more on my heel than my midfoot, so I will take Wednesday/Thursday and maybe Friday off completely from running. Do stuff around the house, hang upside-down, use my Patella strap on walks, lift weights at the gym maybe even get out the bike for a bit (well once the snow/ice melts today).
It isn’t that I can not run-I can, but I want to run pain-free and get one step ahead of this before it becomes an injury where I have to take weeks off, instead of a few days.
The reality is that
it seems when I start screwing around with my running shoes too much and running in styles that don’t work for me, those niggles that I have had right along, seem to grow into something more than a minor inconvenience.
This time instead of pushing through the pain and possibly making it worse, I am going to take a few days off, let things calm down to the niggle level and see what happens.
I have had a good run of being consistent and avoiding major injuries so far this year and I want to keep running well the rest of the spring and summer.
So a few days off now, is the right choice, after all a few days off is not going to affect my fitness levels – if anything it will be a good thing to let the body rest a little.