Today’s run was gorgeous – sunny and low 60’s, just right for shorts and my fabulous new arm-sleeves (hurrah for my first running clothes purchase in almost a year!) However, the cold weather is coming and the view out my window already shows snow dusting the higher peaks of the mountains. I’ve gotten through my Fall (Aug – Nov) “season” of running, and have met my two goals – paying attention to taking care of my injured foot, and doing some extra work to improve my form and (hopefully!) prevent any other injuries from popping up as I build up my mileage once the foot is healed. Time to look back at what has gone well, and then look ahead at my running plans for Winter!
I’ve succeeded in keeping a schedule of doing 15 minutes of core & hip strength work every other day, and have been rolling/icing/exercising the foot regularly. And, most important, being very careful to give it a rest when necessary! Instead of setting new goals each week, I’ve been writing up goals for a couple weeks at a time. The goal for the next few weeks is to evaluate how well the improvement of my injured foot is going, and to use that information to determine whether or not I can get away with increasing my mileage a bit.
Trying to determine if a running injury is actually improving can be extremely difficult – it’s such a subjective evaluation, and I find that the emotional involvement that I have with being injured makes any little setback seem way bigger than it actually is. It can start to seem like an injury will NEVER get better – after all, a few weeks can feel like an eternity of not running.
In order to combat this frustration, and keep myself motivated to stay on top of the foot rehab, I decided to go a little geeky and start a pain chart. If my foot hurts during any of the main activities that generally aggravate it on bad days, I mark it down.
So far, it’s been really helpful – I find myself stressing about the injury less since I have specific things to keep track of that let me know if my foot is feeling good, or if it is time to take an extra day off. It’s also reassuring – even when my foot flares up, keeping track of the incremental return to a lower pain level reassures me that I haven’t set myself back completely.
Tracking my foot pain will also let me set realistic goals during the end of Fall and the beginning of Winter. I’m planning to keep track of any pain-free days each week, and add 1 mile per week for every day that I am completely pain-free. Looking at this week, that gives me a whole mile to add on next week – here I come, 9 mile week! It’s ridiculous how excited I am about that 1 extra mile ha ha 😉
My winter running will hopefully consist of a steady, gradual mileage build up. As the days get shorter, this is going to translate into lots of extra reflective gear, headlamp runs, and warm clothes for those dark, chilly morning/night runs 😛
I can’t wait!!!