Running Injuries and Pace

It’s no secret that I love to run.  I love running and it is one of my favorite parts of the day.  Is every run good?  No, of course not.  Are the majority of runs good?  Yes, yes they are. Do I let a bad run ruin my day, week, month…year? 

No, no I don’t.

And honestly I think that sets me apart from a lot of runners and bloggers.

I’ve had my fair share of running related and not running related injuries.  I’ve had a tibial stress fracture on my 21st birthday from poor training.  I ripped a muscle in my knee from running too quickly on the treadmill.  I had a rampant overgrown cyst in my foot that caused a bone to break and ruined my chances to go to nationals for no apparent reason related to running.

But want to know a secret? 

I’m still a person outside of all of that (even blogging too!) and still have other things that keep me going.  I can do other fitness related things and be as happy as running.    

Running means a lot to me, it does but it is not the only thing in life that keeps me going (neither is fitness).  I think that is where people get confused of my running motives.  I want nothing more to be the best runner I can be, but I’m not so the most aggressive and obsessed about it.  I’m not someone that cares IN THE SLIGHEST if I run an 8:05 mile or a 9:05 mile…if they are still injury free.   (racing that is another story but daily runs…who cares).

Here is the thing I guess I want to really promote in this post.  You should never let an individual run bother you.  You should never let a series of runs bother you.  Should you be sad if you are injured?  Of course, but you should realize…you will heal.  99% of injuries, you will be back to your old self in time. 

You should never leave a run in tears or be so upset after one because in a day, week or month…will it matter?  No, not at all.  You have good runs and you have bad runs…that is what happens.  The day I got my first running injury (ie: my 21st birthday and tibial stress fracture), I thought my life was over.  I thought my running career was over and I was devastated.  That was almost two years ago…and neither held true.  I healed.  I’m running better than ever.  I’m running better than ever recovering from my cyst injury three months ago.

I have found when I worry about pace, exact mileage or the very fine details of running is when it stresses me out.  So I don’t.  I don’t care if my recovery run or easy paced run pace.  It doesn’t bother me.  I know a lot of people struggle with running too fast, I never have that problem.  This is one instance that I can say you have to trust yourself.  You wait and train months trusting yourself for a race that your legs can run fast.

Trust your legs in a recovery run they can go slow.  If you are forced on a treadmill, do not be afraid to keep the pace slower.

Questions for you?  Thoughts? 

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  1. Your ability to run whatever pace you feel like running is definitely what sets you apart from other bloggers. I definitely get carried away with paces sometimes although I’m not doing every run as a “fast” run but I definitely have trouble letting go of the stigma of what’s considered a good run, too. When I’m running with other people my pace is much more reasonable and enjoyable. As long as you get the speed work in when the time comes, the other miles should really just be used to build and maintain a base. I don’t really like running slow enough that I feel like I could walk at that pace but there is definitely a fine balance and I feel like you manage that balance really well.

    1. I think a lot of people have a stigma of what is considered a slow run to them…and there is always someone else who that could be a PR pace. I’d actually prefer to not do speedwork ever. Anyways, but really speedwork is the only pace you should ever worry about the pace.

  2. I love this post and totally agree. I moderate a group on Facebook for a run club, and one runner was complaining about how she was injured and had to run/walk and her 6 miler took her over an hour. Her pace was still faster than a lot of people… sometimes I feel like we should be thankful for what we can do (*especially* if you’ve been injured or are coming back!) rather than complain about a particular run. Not every run will be the best… not every run will be a PR. You just have to strive for your best run for however you’re feeling or doing that day.

    I am also a runner who trains a lot slower than I race. It always surprises people at the end when they’re like oh wow, I didn’t know you were fast like that. Well, no point in PRing a training run, right ;).

  3. I love how this works for you – and it truly does – you never worry about those training runs paces – do whatever you feel like, and when you race you really are able to race! I wish I could do the same, but I know from experience, when I was doing more easy paced mileage, never pushing it – I couldn’t race at a pace I thought I could – for me, unless I have been able to run mileage at the speed I want to run at… It just doesn’t happen. I think its important for all runners to remember this, that we all train differently – for someone like me, who got into running only a year and a half ago – If I don’t use my speed… I lose it. Truly, it scares me, but it doesn’t meant that I should do ALL my runs at speedy paces, but it doesn’t mean I can afford to do them all easy either.

    Thats what I love about seeing your training and then race times, it shows me it can be done, you can get those miles in and you can still race properly without it affecting your speed. Maybe with more years of running under my belt I will be able to do the same as well, for now I try and make sure I’m getting a mix of both (although you probably will have noticed I’ve been getting a little speed happy recently – I just get so excited that I can run like that again).

    When I had my semi-stress fracture the first time, i literally remember crying… and worrying about how I would get my thinking time in, worrying how I’d loose my speed etc. and I came back too soon…. which meant that I got another one and was out longer… so I’ve learnt that with injuries you just have to let them be. I am proof that you can get back to where you were, and better – and now I’ve proved that to myself I know that if injury strikes again I will patiently wait (and obviously be upset about it but not distraught) to return to my trails. I know there are lots of other ways for me to get my cardio fix in, and my life is hectic enough that I’m sure those weeks out would fly by!

    Wise words today Hollie!

    1. semi stress fracture? What happened? I had no idea about that. Anyways, I have been running off and on for three years and have only spent a few months constantly doing speed work…which I don’t really care…I’d prefer to just not…haha…I do agree though everyone trains differently and have a different level of ability. What works for you, might work for me…might not…ect.

  4. I like this post because I can relate to this. While I don’t really have that much experience running, I find myself getting upset at how slow I run or how I should have gone further. I need to buck up and realize this is all new to me and this is what I need to do to get better. Thanks for sharing that!

  5. I absolutely love this post! It’s so easy to get caught up in running a certain pace, training for a certain event – and having your life “ruined” by a bad run or injury. Yes, we all train differently – but when it starts to take over our life, it causes burnout. I think it’s so important for runners to find balance – include other fitness into their routine so if running has to go away for a bit, it’s okay. (It will make you crave running even more!) There’s a reason that sometimes PRs come when you aren’t expecting them – no pressure to perform!

    1. I’m glad you do! Finding balance is such a key…all of my best races (with the exception of one) have been from races I didn’t think I’d do great from. My time away from running (as you said) has always only made me want to be back more!

  6. I know I will never run as fast as certain people and some runs will be slower then other and sometimes I let it bring me down and when I do I usually check myself and tell myself it was one bad run next time will be better and that I am lucky to be able to run period.

  7. Amen! It says a lot about how mature you are as a runner that you don’t let splits, paces, bad runs, etc. get in your way. Even though I’m an OK runner, I’m slowly starting to realize that every run doesn’t need to be a tempo run, at race pace, etc. This morning, for example, my body felt good, but I held myself back to follow my training plan that called for an easy run. It’s tough not to go balls to the wall all the time, but the recovery runs are just as important.

  8. I’ve always liked your vibe when it comes to running. I don’t have the ‘I run too fast’ problem either. In fact it’s the opposite – if I had my way I’d be plodding along doing 20 miles every day but sadly that’s a recipe for injury to the same extent as trying to run 10 miles at a 6:30 every other day would be. I don’t understand how I ever achieved some of the speeds I did really – I never did any speedwork at all at my fastest and managed a 40 minute 10K without even wearing a Garmin. I didn’t own one during my first marathon either – I had NO idea about pace. When I ran my fastest half I had one set of injuries after the other – bursitis followed a fortnight later by shin splints, so my training was crap.

    So when something goes wrong, I have no idea why because, in all serious logic, my training during my fastest periods was awful. Yeah, I get very upset about being slow now but that’s more because my running is tied way more closely to my self-esteem than yours. I have two self-esteem boosters: running quickly and being my version of thin. So I think I could relax more about running if I looked the way I want to. I don’t cry over paces but it does bug me and make me very anxious…I read a post yesterday where a girl cried because she ran ONE run at an 8:40 pace instead of her usual 8:00 and I was just thinking ‘for f**k’s sake, get over yourself.’ It was so frigging annoying – it’s made me view my own whinings about pace differently, that’s for sure.

    Both of my double stress fractures occurred during speedwork where I was pushing myself hard for being a fatso – running as part of a self-punishing complex didn’t work out so well for me. Now I only do the *very* occasional tempo or keep speedwork for the treadmill (less impact – doesn’t seem to give me problems *knockonwood*).


    1. Oh dear god. If I cried about everytime I upped the pace a minute or two…yeah we would be here a while. I often question how my body knows how to run faster during races too…I quite frankly don’t get it. I seem to get injured when adding speed so I don’t.

  9. LOL I’m in the 1 fucking percentile of people who are effed and don’t heal. I’m the outlier. Womp womp. But I agree with not allowing runs or running to overwhelm your life. Since I got my surgery, I have taken so many classes, lifted, swam, and found SO many different forms of fitness I absolutely adore. It’s almost like when you start running your get tunnel vision and you’re either a full-time runner or you shouldn’t run at all. I screwed myself with this mentality but I just hope I get a second chance at loving to spin, run, lift, swim, become a yogi, etc. We shall see!

    Also, I run like a snail and I embrace it. Fuck it, it’s my time anyway!

  10. Wow I needed to read this right now, which I completely agree with and if twitter allowed it I would go RETWEET and put #NOTETOSELF… I think a lot of the time I am in denial about things as I too have had my fair share of really crap injuries and other really shitty stuff happened where I have had to miss out going to a fully paid world championships in Italy, yes I was devo and thought my life was over but it’s not… it goes on… and although I questioned WHY me what have I done etc etc I’ve come to the conclusion some times there’s just no answers and you have to move on! But anyway I am currently in a state of having 2nd week of not so great runs where coach is like almost to the point of confusion as I’ve gone from running really well to being absolutely dreadful and just in time for State 5k track this sat (stressed) anyway… after my ramble I really needed to read this right now… Love it and I also love your new pictures in your heading. How did you get twitter thingy and fb thing there? I think I need to update my page too soon… 🙂 Hope you enjoy the rest of the week!

    1. team #retweet #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag

      I just do it straight from the wordpress widgits. I don’t even know how to self host or any of that jazz and wordpress has a “link to twitter” and “link to facebook”…both I used. Have a great week yourself!

  11. Wise beyond your years, my friend.

    Usually, whenever a run upsets me, it’s not the run, it’s whatever else is happening in my life. Last spring, when I sat down and cried at mile 9.5 of a 10 mile run, it wasn’t because my pace was slow (even though it was), it was because I was exhausted and overworked. Running is just not that important, even if it *is* your full time job. Perspective, people.

    1. Do I get to be wise beyond my years if I’m already a 90 year old grandma?

      I have had runs that I’ve broken down but they were under about the same situation. I was stressed with life not from actual running.

  12. Great post Hollie! The elites train running high mileage with only a small fraction at race pace, I have no idea where recreational runners got the idea they should run every run at pace or faster. It’s not efficient and makes people more prone to injuries. I used to try to run fast all the time, I got injured, and I learned from the experience but I definitely wish it hadn’t come down to being injured to figure it out.

  13. Great reminder, Hollie. I try not to let runs bother me and I try not to compare myself with others but that’s something that is very difficult for me to do. One of my favorite 1/2 marathons I ran with my Garmin turned off. No time goals, no compulsive checking of the watch, just running at a pace that made me happy. This post is a great reminder to runners of all speeds.

    1. I couldn’t imagine running any races with a Garmin beeping at me, Go you! It’s hard not to compare in races, internet…wherever. I’ve learned everyone trains differently and has different motives so no need to get caught up in someone elses 🙂

  14. Ugh I needed this post. I tweaked my knee last week from running with shitty shoes, and pushing whoooaaa hard in spin class all week. I didn’t listen to my knee and then ran 12miles on it and it’s the size of a fucking BALLOON!! I am so nervous it wont stop hurting my this weekend (my half marathon that I have been looking forward to ALL YEAR!) I want to run on it anyway, but am paranoid it will further the damage. FINGERS CROSSED!!

  15. Love this! So true. As much as I’ve enjoyed training for this half and getting faster. I’ve been trying to take it easy on obsessing overthr numbers. I may look at my week by numbers once a week but I try to just take it as it is and move on to the next run. It can be hard but sometimes I’m too busy to be able to worry that much about it! I like your perspective also 🙂 you’re much more than your running although its a part of you

  16. Great post! Focusing too much on pace for daily runs is a setup for frustration and injury. I like to go with what feels comfortable for my body during the run. I’m actually pretty terrible at judging my pace on feeling alone, so I only log it as a reference. I think you’re absolutely right about not letting a bad run ruin your day – it’s important to be able to move on, or else that attitude can spill over into the next run, and the next, and the next…

    1. I spent a good chunk of time doing untimed runs and just going on feel. Sadly, I cannot do that with treadmill running right now so I just go safe then sorry.

  17. Can I get a heck yes!!
    Although I have never had a formal injury – when I was out for a month with some ankle issue it felt like my life was over, but here I am training for marathon number 2! I agree that running shouldn’t affect your mood to the extent where you are a debbie downer for the rest of the day. Sure, I can see being tired/exhausted and glad a run is over but it shouldn’t dictate your outlook. Instead, reflect why it was such a crappy run instead of of just dwelling on it.

    Ever since I stoped adding my miles until saturday/sunday – I have been much more relaxed about that weekly number.

    1. I think that is such a good idea about not looking at pace/time until the weekend. Or at all…You have one of the best running mentalitys of anyone I know.

  18. amen to this. I can tell that running means a lot to you but just because of that, because of what it does for you. my injury totally made me realize why I love running, not for the time, not for the mileage but because of the stress free nature of just getting out there. if I got held up on all those bad runs I doubt i would ever be running again, they happen

  19. I’m not sure what blogs you’re reading…I can’t think of any running blogs where the writer is stressing out about their easy pace or recovery runs. Isn’t that the whole point of those runs? Not caring about your watch?

    Once somebody can tell me what my injury is, I would love to be at peace with a healing process. With my own experimentation, days off seem to make my injury-ish thing feel tighter aka worse. I wonder if your 99% statistic is true…some injuries really are chronic, right?

    1. Actually just reading your comment put into a big perspective of what blogs am I reading. I am going to take a good long look at that. I do agree though, I struggle the most with not knowing if an injury will heal or when (like my cyst…your butt lock thing). I personally think those are the worst. I can tell you deep tissue massages worked well for my cyst which had similar symptoms as PF.

  20. i seriously love your attitude toward running and the fact that you realize that running doesn’t define you. I love your passion for running and your knowledge about injury and how they don’t set you back. if anything you recognize how to be stronger!

  21. I know so many people who needed to hear this (myself included), but one in particular. I hope she reads it. Because in the end, running is to benefit the mind and the body, and if you’re letting your mind rule your run and as such, using it to beat your body into the ground, then really it’s more destructive than constructive. The fact that you’ve gone against the grain has brought me (and continues to bring me) much more knowledge and incredible amounts of enjoyment. Thanks, as always.

  22. So this is actually Lydiard training, one of the most popular training protocols at the collegiate D1 and elite levels…Idk if you knew that or not but yeah, back in like the 1920s there was a guy who thought the best race times would come from high volume/low intensity training, and now that training theory is the most widely used. Most bloggers don’t know that because most have never run for a team or studied the history of running, but what you do is way more legit than most people realize. Anyway amen to this – if you get so worked up about your runs that you HAVE to hit a certain pace while training or a bad run just tears you up…then you need to get a life. I learned that when I hurt my hip last year, I didn’t have anything to focus on (because I’d put ALL My focus and energy into running), and it made everything that much more emotionally difficult. It also, clearly, landed me in surgery. And am I fussing about it no, because like you said – injuries heal, I’ll run again, I’ll probably get to run again this year – even with something surgical! And when I come back I will be taking the relaxed approach, because clearly the opposite just does NOT work!

  23. yes yes yes yes! Thank you girl. For expressing your true passion and love. And your concern. I remember my first injury from dance. I cried for days. Now I learned from that experience that I will heal if I let my body do its thing. As for running you know I just do it as an avenue for a little fitness in my day but I really have come to like it. But honestly I am slow and I don’t care one bit. I think it is why I lie running because for once I don’t care about being the best.

    Girl your attitude is inspirational. Running is your love, but it is not what gauges your whole life. And that is beautiful!

    1. I love how much you are enjoying running and letting it keep you free. Your attitude is awesome. (and I stalk your DM…slow is not the word I would use.)

  24. Love this post…because it’s SO true! I have a hard time taking easy days. Today NEEDS to be an easy day because the past couple of days my legs have been SUPER heavy…and I just try to keep pushing it. Which is not good because I do NOT want to get injured.
    I do have a hard time taking it easy though. One thing I learned about myself is that I CANNOT check my time along my run. I have to wait until I’m done to look, otherwise I push myself even HARDER when I really shouldn’t. It’s tough because of HOW mental running is…but I think it’s just something that we have to realize in order to stay injury free.
    Now come to Florida & run with me 😀

  25. You are right, I know you’re right. But it’s so tough to not let a bad run get me down. Absolutely ridiculous. Waste of brain power thinking about it. But I tend to over-analyse things.
    I love your outlook on running and hope that I can get to that stage eventually. The fact that I have to remember is, at the end of the day the only person who really cares how my run went and how fast I went etc. is me. So comparisons are silly. Thanks for posting this 🙂

  26. It’s tough to admit to myself, but I think I’m one of “those” people more often than not – the people who don’t just go out for runs, just because. I constantly feel like I have to push myself, surpassing my last distance or time. Part of that is probably because I just started to really run less than a year ago. I have a lot of running goals in my future to look forward to 🙂 But you’re totally right – an individual run shouldn’t bother you or ruin you’re day. Tomorrow is a new day & a fresh run 🙂 People should be enjoying themselves. This isn’t what it’s all about.

  27. Literally right as I am at the end of recovering from a stress fracture I injured my knee last week.

    The stress fracture I handled just fine, like you said, I knew I would get better. The timing of this knee injury has made it harder to handle.

    While I KNOW everything you just said, sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else to remind you, so thank you for this post!

  28. Great post! I’ve always found the self-bashing after a bad exercise day to be peculiar and unnatural. I mean, we’re all human and we can’t expect to excel at every workout/run, right? I used to be extremely hard on myself when it came to school, which ended up completely burning me out and killing off the lingering perfectionism. This passed on to my running habits and I made a promise to myself that I would never ever feel any sort of runner’s guilt. Your relationship with running is very healthy and I respect that!

  29. Yes, this post is SO amazing, Hollie! I totally agree with you. We are people on the outside of running and a bad run should never ruin your day/month/year, etc! This is such a wise post!

  30. I love this for the simple fact how true it is. So many people give up after one or two bad workouts… why? Because you had an off day? Give up weeks/months/years of training because of that? weak

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