I am two weeks into my training to prepare for the San Francisco Half Marathon.
Everything was going well, or so I believed…
During the first week of training, I ran three times a week. I started with runs of 20 minutes in the hills of San Francisco, and I could easily run 20-25 minutes without feeling tired or uncomfortable. I felt so proud and alive. ‘Awesome! I can easily do this,’ I told myself.
My training schedule told me I had to do several short runs and one longer run each week. The longer run would get longer and longer each week as a build up to the half marathon, until I would be able to run for two hours.
The first week, my long run was supposed to be 30 minutes. I decided to run it on Friday night. I was on a roll: I was fueled by the thought of the upcoming weekend, the powerful music in my ears and my enthusiasm that I could easily manage these runs.
I left my house and wanted to run a cool loop in San Francisco, doing some sightseeing along the way. The weather was perfect, the sun was going down and I felt the sea breeze while running near the waterside when Runkeeper told me I had been running for 30 minutes.
I felt so proud and alive. ‘I am not even home, I am feeling great, I can totally smash this,’ I thought and I started running faster and uphill.
I came home after a run of 45 min and 6.5 km.
The first thing I did was tell it to all my friends and coworkers.
My boss was less enthusiastic and replied I shouldn’t overdo my training, that I should stick to the plan to avoid injuries. ‘I am ok, not even sore. Don’t worry, I know my body well’.
The rest of the weekend I took rest time and felt fine…or so I thought. Until Monday.
On Monday and Tuesday, I picked up my training again. Within the first steps, I felt my knees grinding on the hills. This was not good, but I pushed through it and forced myself to keep going. I needed to add time to my runs or I would never be able to run for two hours. On Tuesday, I came home and my knees could barely hold my weight. The day after was even worse. Even walking took a lot of effort. I put myself on rest until I felt better.
I lost five days of precious training time because I was too stubborn to follow my training schedule and I didn’t give my body time to recuperate. I might have had a great run on Friday, but in the long term, it did more bad than good.
Luckily I learned three important lessons this week:
Unfortunately you’re not the running hero you think you are. Yet.
Just because your body feels ready doesn’t mean that it is ready.
They always know better because they went through the same thing. Especially if it’s your boss. He/she is always right.