You Have Been Cleared to Make It Hurt

Coming back from Zero Month has been hard – I’ve said that. No surprise. On top of the obvious physical limitations, now we play a fun game of “is that a normal pain or impending injury pain? is this too much? too soon? can I go harder? should I take it easy? why do my shoes feel weird – did my feet grow? should this feel so hard??”

All I want is to safely get back to where I was, preferably sooner than later, so I can get to tackling the big PR Takedown of 2013. Not too much to ask for, is it?

sss 001

Unfortunately there are no blueprints for comebacks.

The 10% rule (increase weekly mileage by 10% or less) is a good guideline, but there’s really no way of knowing what your body’s ready for until you test it. Take a leap and trust something internally will warn you if you’re pushing the envelope. Like a “Warning! Danger Zone!” alarm.

sss 002

just me and some friends on the Nuun bus

Actually, that “alarm” is probably a heart rate monitor. Reminds me, I should try to find that.

I’ve been “running on effort” as part of my “don’t get wrapped up in the numbers and comparing to your pre-injury self” plan – two full weeks watch-less, then slowly weening back into a little teeny place in the data world. I still leave it at home for easy runs, and really try not to hawk it too much when I do wear it.

And on top of LISTEN TO YOUR BODY (#1 rule), I’m doing all those annoying things you’re supposed to do all the time that lots of us don’t until it’s too late : stretch chronicly cranky muscles (hello hamstrings), dig at muscles (foam roll/stick), strengthen muscles (daily lunges, wall sits, planks), proactively TLC problem areas (f’ing calves). All while trying not to freak out over every little twinge/soreness.

So after three solid weeks of pain-free running and mileage building, I deemed it time to start picking up the intensity a bit. Eugene Half training will officially start Feb 3, and I didn’t want to go in without having a bit of speed under my belt.

  • Tuesday – 3x1mi, HMGP (half goal pace) –> 10K pace

I swear a mile has gotten farther since 2012. Man this was tough – especially knowing what I used to run them at (not comparing! swear!) and the thought of running 13 of them in a row race day. Lots of work to do!

  • Thursday – 8mi total with 4x hill sprints

One of those runs that you have little/no expectations for and it turns out so awesome you want to run forever. Overall pace was SO much faster than I expected, and the perfectly progressing hills and exactly even WU/CD pace – not planned or on purpose – made my number nerd heart do a little flip-flop.


please don’t laugh at my baby hills. SoCal soft – weather and elevation


I’ve missed running fast hard. The endorphins are so much better over here.

  • What’s your #1 preventative exercise/stretch/move? Any daily plank-ers or foam rollers or icers?

Huge fan of ice wraps on the shins/knees and JAS yoga’s legs-up-the-wall. And toothbrush wallsits keep me from spending too much time dilly-dallying in the bathroom at night :)

Sarah OUaL


15 thoughts on “You Have Been Cleared to Make It Hurt

  1. I am coming off an injury that knocked me out for the last half of 2012. I looked at my training schedule and I am supposed to run…..2 whooping miles tomorrow. I have to remind myself to start slow, listen to my body, and not to be an obnoxious jerk about my new starting point. Good luck to you!!


  2. I got side-tracked from running in the last 3 months due to major work stresses – I actually think it’s bad karma for having slated you for using your journal ;) Loving the posts – post more often!! :)


  3. I used to ice after every single hard or long even if I didn’t feel a twinge – I got through that marathon training without injuries and ran my highest weekly mileage. I’m already running more than that now and am trying to take the time to ice – but now I am adding in a lot more compression. I foam roll a few nights a week too.


  4. I too am coming back from injury – torn plantar fascia in October after months of terrible plantar fasciitis! My max distance so far has been about four and a half miles. I ice religiously and stretch my calves/feet/Achilles after every run. While I was injured, I started doing Body Pump and spinning, and I enjoyed them (esp Body Pump) enough to keep on, so that is my cross-training. Injuries suck! But it sure has made me appreciate running more, this time around.


  5. Great news it seems as you start improving….and, you can still kick my ass. I’ve been working on daily squats for the past two months and have been seeing them pay off. 75 to 100 of them in the morning and another of the same in the evening, along with stretches. I totally need to get a roller…is there a way you can screw that up?


  6. I’m on day 4 of running after taking 5 weeks off…made the mistake of running w watch and watching my pathetic pace I’m not used to seeing. My hamstrings and IT band are uber tight that I’m forced to stretch for at least 30-45 min daily-talk about torture…


  7. Lately I’ve been putting my legs up the wall after each run, one at a time. I go in a doorway and put the legs that’s not on the wall out straight. Hurts so good.


  8. Regardless of what’s my training schedule says for the day, I start every morning with a ton of stretching/Pilates and a 3 minute plank. It’s the perfect way (for me at least) to start the day, even if I don’t get to actually hit the gym/road until after work. After every run, no matter how hard/long, I make a point to ice. I’d super injury prone, so it’s the only thing that works.



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