Being Flexible

Boston Marathon finishers medal, display frame

Being flexible was the theme of BAA’s recent Clinic

Many runners sustain injuries while training for a marathon, especially their first marathon. At the Boston Athletic Association’s recent Runner’s Clinic they discussed the importance of being flexible with your training plan and your race goal.

It’s not always an injury that forces us to be flexible. Life gets in the way of training quite often. Regardless of the reason for you to modify your training program you cannot ignore a change in your circumstance. Piling on extra miles to make up for a missed run is not a good idea. Thinking you can still shoot for an aggressive goal even after an injury or significant reduction in your training is also not a good idea.

You need to be flexible

Injuries need to be addressed. Continuing to run with a persistent pain is foolish. While you “tough it out” and run through the pain you may be causing additional and significant damage that may reduce or eliminate your future running. Is it really worth it?

I always say it is better to survive and run another day than it is to be a hero. Or stupid. You need to listen to your body and stuff your ego.

Life is about living and running is just a part of that. Work obligations need to be attended to. Your family needs you to be involved and engaged. If you have to travel or work extra hours for work, then you need to plan your training around that. Guess how you pay for running?

Like time, family time can never be repeated. Once your child’s birthday party is over, it is over. Don’t sacrifice important time with your family to run. If you are really that dedicated you will skip the cake and ice cream and go for your run after you help clean up from the party.

Training Flexibility

Since my knee injury about two weeks ago, I’ve had to be very flexible with my training. I didn’t do anything leg related for 10 days. I went to the gym a few times but only did core and upper body work. This helped me feel like I was still doing something and not turning into a blob.

I’ve seen a nurse practitioner who advised me to continue taking ibuprofen, ice my knee and not run any races. So far so good. Next week I have an appointment with a physical therapist. The PT I chose is a runner and several people in my club have used her and had great results.

This week I started using the Elliptical thingy at work. Every time I am on one of these machines I feel like I’m learning to walk again. It’s such an odd and un-natural movement. During my third session this week I started to feel comfortable.

A guy I run with once trained for a marathon using only the elliptical and stationary bike. That race is still his 3rd best PR. This was really encouraging to hear.

Goal Flexibility

I’m being flexible with my goals: I’m not looking for a marathon or a Boston PR. All I want to do is get to Hopkinton in good health and be able to cross the finish line. If I have to use alternative methods of training to achieve this, that’s what I’ll do.

In my mind I’m even reshaping what this race will mean to me, what it will be all about. I’ve run Boston a few times. In prior years I’ve trained hardly at all out of ignorance and other years I’ve trained hard with a goal in mind.

BAA, Boston Marathon,
Boston Marathon 2006 – somewhere in Newton

I’m past the date on the calendar where a good program would set me on course for a PR. I also can’t jump back into training and push extra hard to make up for lost time. When my PT gives me the green light I will be following her plan. To avoid re-injury, I have no doubt that my miles on the road will be reduced. I’m hoping she will be okay with me piling on the miles on the elliptical and bike.

This year Boston may be more about having a good time than achieving a goal. I always enjoy the crowd. By the time I get to Brookline I’m as altered as the drunks yelling to me from the curb. We have a good time.

Run well my friends!

Andy

© 2014 andrew nagelin

Author: OmniRunner

9X Boston Marathon finisher, 17X marathons total. Sharing my love for running and the fun adventures and lessons that come with it. Helping non-profits increase fundraising and new runners celebrate their First 5K.

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