Lately, I’ve been in a blogging funk, so I decided to participate in a blogging topic challenge. Many of the blog topics are ones I haven’t discussed in a lot of detail. Most of the posts will relate to my personal experience with running, but there might be exceptions too.
Blog Challenge 1: One mistake I’m glad I made
No one likes to make mistakes. The feeling of failure can be one of the hardest emotions to come to terms with. However, if you can learn from a mistake, it’s hard to consider the mistake a failure. We all live, and we all make mistakes.
I’ve made plenty if mistakes in life, in relationships and of course in running too.
One of my earliest errors in running was overtraining and receiving my first stress fracture.
At the time, I wasn’t glad. In fact, I was miserable and upset but in hindsight, I’m glad I made that mistake. Early into my running career, I was running too hard and too fast for every single run. I was running every mile between 7-7:15. My 5k PR was around 20 minutes, and I had never even attempted a half or full marathon.
(To compare now my easy runs are above 8:30 pace or untimed and my 5k PR is 18:22. Running is also not stressful this way.)
While I wasn’t running extremely high mileage (in the 40-50s), the constant pounding and hard running lasted about a month. On July 12, 2011 (also known as my 21st birthday), I ran hard and ultimately ended with a severe tibial stress fracture. Looking back, it’s fairly obvious the cause was overtraining.
Since I was new and had no idea, I thought, of course, I was training well. While injured, I took the time to look back at my training and I learned more about myself and running than I had previously. I began learning that my body is not invincible. Little pains can manifest themselves into larger issues. It was a lesson I needed to learn early!
If I had continued down that path of running, it would have been a disaster and honestly, I would be injured with something more serious.
During my two months of rest and recovery, I learned that running isn’t and never will be everything in my life. I also learned that it’s appropriate to listen to cues of injury. Taking a rest day here and there is far easier than taking 8+ weeks off.
My tibial stress fracture shaped my training now that I’m not afraid to run easier miles, cut back mileage or take rest days altogether. Just thinking about back to back 7-minute miles is enough to exhaust me.
Each injury teaches us something about ourselves. Instead of dwelling in the injury, I think it’s important to look back and realize what can be improved.
Questions for you:
What is one mistake you are glad you made?
Has an injury taught you something recently?
I have a terrible habit of not sticking to a training plan. I know its a recipe for disaster and injury. Having plantar fasciitis taught me not to take my feet for granted. Stretching, recovery and mobility work are all crucially important!
As hard as injuries are at the time, they do teach us some important lessons. It took me four rounds of calf problems to really understand it, but when it finally sunk in, I changed my running and came out so much stronger. I do need to work on running slower for my long runs though. The more lessons we learn, the better runners we become, and the more improvements we’re able to make and see.
You’ve become so much stronger after realizing that Sarah. I’m excited for your training when you choose to dive back in.
I was a little overzealous when I first started running as well, and while it didn’t lead to any serious injuries (thank goodness), I was definitely way more sore than I’d like to be, and it caused me to burn out on running pretty hardcore. This time around I went into things more slowly and gradually, and I think that’s what’s helped me stick with it and really start enjoying it. I feel like some things we can only learn through mistakes, so it’s not all that horrible to make them… even if it sucks at the time 😆
i think i have to agree with you, my stress fracture, at the time was terrible, but made me realize i wasnt training smart. i have since hired a running coach with a focus on injury prevention and its been smooth sailing every since (knock on wood).
I don’t think I could narrow it down to one- I’ve made a LOT of stupid mistakes. The good thing about stress fractures is that they typically heal in 6-8 weeks and you can get back to training… versus other mystery injuries that can take a long time to diagnose and then treat. Plus, once you’ve had a stress fracture you know what they feel like which is helpful
I agree Mollie. Now I kind of know when things are achy end to back off. If I could make lots of stupid mistakes and have your succeed…that would be fine by me 😉
I can totally relate to overtraining and not backing off when I should have. You are totally right that it is much better to take some rest than be forced to rest a long time due to an injury.
Thanks for stopping by! I do believe it’s a lesson that a lot of us learn the hard way. I’ve become such a stronger runner because of it! 🙂
Learning to actually run easier is a lot harder than it sounds, especially for those of us who are very motivated to run fast and race well. My one injury was a big mistake that I learned from – I slipped on ice and twisted my ankle on the way to the gym one winter in college, but still ran on it anyway, which eventually lead to an ankle injury. Now I know that a few missed days of running are always worth it when it comes to avoiding an injury!
It’s good you learned from your injuries. I tend to get them and just wish they’d go away without really changing my habits… That’s something I’m working on breaking.
I used to run all my miles in the 7 minute range and I was constantly zonked. I didn’t have the energy to run more than 15-20 miles a week! Now I run three times as many miles in the 8:30- 9:30 range and I’m much happier/faster. I have your positive influence to thank for that. 🙂
Aside from a few bike crashes, I *knock on wood* haven’t sustained a serious running-related injury. Since I train with mostly older folks, I’m exposed to a lot of their aches, pains, and aging struggles (?) shall we say, ha … but that’s showed me first-hand how important rest and recovery should be. I always foam roll after running, and whether I need it or not, I always take one total rest day each week.
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