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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

It's OK to be Normal

While out running, I often have thoughts that, from a coaching perspective, seem worth sharing.  Then I get home and make a cup of coffee and run out of time.  This one seemed important and I have the day mostly off, so here goes:

It's OK to be NORMAL

Meaning that, in running, it's okay to run one marathon, or one half marathon, or one ultra, per training block.  Not everyone can run back to back marathons in a week or two weeks, or five marathons in a month, or seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.  Some people can.  But the science on recovery from long distance events is pretty clear, and the people who do these things well are outliers and often have a lot of years of running on their legs, along with some training specific to these goals.  Also, unless they're sharing their full training logs with you over the course of several years, you have no idea how doing these things impacts their long term recovery and injury rates.  Most importantly, if they're outliers, then this means that just because they can do it, it doesn't mean you should do it.

It's a week post-Boston.  A race with 872' of elevation gain, quad-busting downhills, and what feels like no flats, in 78% humidity.  I just ran my first run eight days later.  This was my eighth marathon (plus an ultra).  I've run consistently for a long time.  I'm relatively injury-free.  I'm healthy.  And there's no way in hell I'm running another long distance race until next Spring, because I'd like to stay that way.  My crabby quads and elevated heart rate on today's run reminded me that I trained for and ran a 50k last November, trained for a trail 50k this Spring, and then trained for and ran the Boston Marathon.  It's time for my regularly scheduled down time.  I'm still running.  But I'm not running another marathon in two weeks.

It can be hard to take that break.  You finish a race that wasn't representative of your fitness and want redemption.  I've been there.  You run an awesome race and want to go set more PRs.  You see other people doing another marathon and feel like you're missing out, or like you're not "good enough."  Maybe it's okay to go out and do something.  So check with someone who TRULY knows your training.  A coach or a partner or a good friend.  Someone who knows every run, injuries, recovery, your mental status, etc.   Not just an internet group who only knows you, "Had a crappy race on Sunday and want redemption."  And if they tell you it's time to rest, then remember, It's OK to be NORMAL.  You ran a half marathon/marathon/ultra/something that majorly challenged your body, mind, and spirit.  Honor your body and respect it with some well-earned rest.