Don’t Sweat It

March 24th, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Fitness

A few days ago I started to notice that I was getting a cold. Fortunately, it never turned into a full fledged cold (special thanks to my bag of tricks for when I feel a cold coming on!) but I was definitely not feeling like my usual self on on Thursday night, Friday and into Saturday.

I had 10 miles on the long run agenda for half marathon training this week, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about this long run if I wasn’t feeling completely well by Sunday.  I’m all for pushing yourself through uncomfortable situations and not making excuses, but I’m also a proponent of not being an idiot.  It would be stupid to run 10 miles if I’m sick just to “be strong!”, possibly delaying my recovery and further messing up training in the weeks ahead – especially when missing one long run isn’t going to effect the final outcome by much, if at all.

But still, I’ll admit I felt some guilt about missing or cutting short this scheduled long run even though my reason for doing so would be completely valid.

In hopes of being able to run 10 miles on Sunday as planned, I did no exercise on Thursday and skipped my usual Friday morning run too, taking the opportunity to sleep in and rest.  The fact that it was snowing like crazy on Friday morning made it even easier to take the day off.

I ran 9 miles last weekend, so I knew it would be fine if I had to shuffle my long run schedule around and wait to run 10 miles until next weekend.  I knew I felt well enough to run at least some distance, but maybe only 6, 7 or 8.  I figured I would play it by ear and see how I felt when I was out there and actually running that day.

I woke up this morning feeling the best I had in a couple days, but I still set out today with a whatever happens, happens attitude.  I was just going to run without setting any expectations on how far I would go and was going to go with the flow.

This laid back approach lead to a very enjoyable run this morning. All the sunshine probably helped too. I had my camera and it was nice to have a reason to stop and take notice of some of the signs of spring along the way today.

10 Mile Training Run

Snow bells!

Signs of Spring

Determined crocuses. (I think?)

Spring is Near

Shadows on the drained yet frozen Erie canal.

Shadow On Bridge

I stopped around 5 miles at a coffee shop to use the restroom and buy a bottle of water.  Miles 6 and 7 went by quickly, and as I was closing in on Mile 8, I knew I would be able to finish all 10 miles. Even though I wasn’t attached to today’s outcome, I was still very happy and relieved that I was able to do 10 miles as scheduled.

The moral of the story?  Do your best to not overthink or stress too much about minor obstacles that inevitably come up during training for an event – missing one or two runs is not going to keep you from getting across the finish line.  The same way that one or two runs isn’t enough to get you (safely) across the finish line of a new distance either – it’s your overall training and The Big Picture that matters the most.

Illness is something that every runner faces at some point.  Sometimes you run, sometimes you stay home, sometimes running when you’re slightly sick can actually help you feel better – at least until those feel good hormones wear off. Sometimes it’s worth to sit tight for a couple days and spend your energy on getting well instead of pounding the pavement.

It’s also worth noting here that if you’re running a lot and find yourself getting a cold when no one else around you is sick – it could be a sign that you’re over training and might need to cut back a bit.

On the food front, I dove head first into a long run recovery smoothie shortly after returning home.

Post Long Run Green Smoothie

Made with 1/2 an avocado (healthy fats!), 1 banana (for carbs to help replenish glycogen stores!), 1/2 c or so of cottage cheese (for protein!) an unmeasured pour of milk and a big handful for spinach (for The Greener March Challenge!)

That’s it for today – stay well!

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2 Responses

  • Katheryn says:

    Great job with the run and attititude about the run! It can definitely be difficult knowing whether or not you need to skip a run or push through it, but you seem to have the right idea. It’s amazing to me how much running is really a brain thing. The more pressure I put on myself, the worse my runs tend to be. However, when I take a more relaxed attitude and decide to ‘play it by ear’, my brain is relaxed so my body can perform how it should.