On Being a Stubborn Runner

Today I was editing one of my columnists for Runner’s World and she was writing about a recent flair up of plantar that she noticed last week. She hasn’t run since Wednesday and “instead of pining over lost miles, I turned my attention towards yoga this week.”

I’ve been dealing with a mystery-foot-pain since a run two Saturday’s ago. Since the pain occurred I’ve taken it easy, but I’ve only swapped one of my running days for spin, and maintained my 30-ish mile weeks. Stupid.

I was contemplating going to spin today instead of going for an easy lunch run. Spin would give me the cardio-pumping heartbeat I was craving, but was much less impact than running on icy roads outside. But when the lunch run email went out this morning, I figured, “Why not? I mean, I ran 5 miles last night and felt fine, I should be good to go today too.”

I was wrong. A mile into our run I felt the pain flaring up again on the bottom outside of my left foot. It was clearly compensating my stride so, at the encouragement of my lunch run mates, I turned back.

As I ran (very, very slowly) back to the office, I kept hearing Krsitin’s words in my head. Why didn’t I listen to my gut and opt for spin instead? Why didn’t I give myself a rest day when I woke up this morning and felt the pain again? Why haven’t I seen a doctor in the two weeks since the pain first presented itself?

Answer: I’m stubborn.

I’m stubborn because I hate putting up zeros in my training log. I hate looking back at my log from last year and seeing higher mileage than I’ve been logging lately. I get small panic attacks when I think about how training starts in a little over a week for my big goal race. I worry that days off from running will come at the cost of my fitness. A small part of me worries that not running will cause me to gain weight. An even smaller part of me worries that time off from running will make me forget why I love running.

I know all of this is stupid but sometimes it just feels better to write it down and own up to it. When I read articles (on the website and in the pages of the magazine at which I am employed) and writers ask seasoned elites- what’s one thing you wish you knew about running when you started?- they almost ALWAYS say they wish they took proper recovery time. Or, they wish they recognized the benefit of taking easy days, easy. Or, that putting up a zero for one day might mean being able to put down a PR down the road.

I’ve read all of this. It’s engrained in my memory. But why is it so hard for me to follow? It’s time for me to cut the BS, stop being stupid, and start being smart.

(End rant.)

5 thoughts on “On Being a Stubborn Runner

  1. Runners are stubborn in general! We know what is right but we’re also strong-willed, which is what draws us to/makes us excel in the sport in the first place. Hope everything turns around for ya!

  2. Pingback: reading list, volume 26.

  3. Sometimes it is SO hard to listen to our bodies when we have a goal or “plan” in mind, I struggle with it all the time. But I try to remind myself that running injured or running hurt will only make it all the harder to reach that goal.

    Good luck, hope your foot is feeling better soon!

  4. I think we’ve all been in your shoes. I know running was how i lost weight, so definitely at first there was a major fear that not working out meant it would all come back. It takes learning to trust yourself and your body to let that go :)

  5. I’m in almost the exact same boat right now. The inside arch of my right foot has been bugging me, but I’m SO hesitant to take more than one day off because I’m in the beginning of training for a spring marathon. It’s not super painful, so I’m sticking with ice and stretching for now. But I’m hoping I don’t look back in a few weeks and wish I had stopped earlier. I hope your foot feels better soon!

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