Things Learned From a Week Without Running

Me, minus the medal and bib - Oli Scarff

I took a week off from running while waiting on an injury prognosis. Here's what I learned.

Rest is the easiest thing one can do; all runs are voluntary and require being set into motion. Two weeks ago I realized that my leg was a bit worse off than it has been over the course of the past few years. I took a week off, and since then I've learned a good bit about running. Here's a non-comprehensive list of things that I've noticed:

  • It's really, really easy to fall out of the habit of getting up at 5:30 AM to run. One week off absolutely crushed my ability to get out of bed.
  • The first run back has great potential to be a kid-in-the-candy-shop type situation. When unsure about the extent and nature of an injury, it's necessary to hold back. These two things do not mesh well.
  • Time spent not running is time spent doing house work and the like. I got a pantsload done Columbus Day weekend.
  • No matter how much you think about how to describe your injury, you're probably going to sound like a fool when talking to a doctor or physical therapist.
  • It's more difficult to explain why in the hell you want to run a 50 mile race to a doctor.
  • Shoe wear patterns aren't always a perfect way to analyze your stride: my sole wear pattern is a decidedly mid-foot wear pattern. Per my therapist, the pain and soreness that I've experienced are probably the results of limited ankle motion (dorsiflexion: ENHANCE) and the increased strain on my calf due to that limited motion.
  • Dorsiflexion is a pretty cool term.
  • A week off doesn't hinder running ability too much. We'll see how this Saturday's long run goes, but so far I've handled two 6 mile jaunts without any issues whatsoever aside from the early mornings.
That's about it -- a week off of running isn't something that I want to have to go through again any time soon (post-race rest aside), but is something that I've learned a number of things from. From here I'll have to adapt my training in order to mini-taper rather than follow my previous plan. I'll likely have something more about that soon.
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