Sunday, October 23

Keep going? Or not?

Yesterday Hubby and I went for a "hike" (ok, a glorified off-road walk) at the University of West Florida cross-country trails. These signs were my favorite part of the adventure:
Caution: You may encounter poisonous snakes
and alligators in this area.
We saw fish, turtles, squirrels (including an albino squirrel!) and birds... but no gators or snakes. I'm a little bummed about that. I live in a swamp, yet the only gator I've ever seen in the wild was in South Carolina!

How often do you get to go for a walk or run where the wildlife might eat you?

Today was our scheduled long-run day in preparation for an upcoming half marathon. Hubby knocked out exactly 13.1 miles. I, on the other hand, had "issues."

I have been trying to ignore nagging hip pain on my runs for the past couple of weeks, but this morning the offending hip was worse. I stretched and foam-rolled before the run. Yet the hip didn't ease up after the first 15 minutes of running like it usually does. So I had an epic "should I keep going or not?" battle raging in my head for nearly two hours.
My run / don't run brain fought like these sea lions...
Keep going: Run my planned 12 miles, despite the hip pain.
Not: Risk aggravating what is clearly an injury.
Keep going: Suck it up. After all: No pain. No gain.
Not: Skip my 12 today, hit the foam roller, and try again tomorrow.
Keep going: There is only one more long run between now and the race. This is crucial training time!
Not: You might not be able to race at all if you make this injury worse.
Keep going: You're being a wuss!
Not: You'd be stupid to push this! This isn't just tired muscles!
You know it's bad when your mind starts calling itself names...

And, of course, this debate was in full swing as I was out on the road slogging along. (Do as I say, not as I do?)

In the end I decided on a middle-of-the-road course of action. When the hip showed no signs of loosening up, I adopted a run 10 / walk 5 strategy. (And yes, I am ashamed to admit, on my running blog, that I walked so much of my morning "run." I am also embarrassed to admit that I continued running when I probably should not have...) I finished something closer to 9 miles than the planned 12.

Over post-run breakfast, Hubby and I were debating the "should haves" again. His perspective was:
"If you had asked me this three years ago, I'd have said 'suck it up.' But now I know powering through can make things worse, so I'd say 'this won't be a PR race for you anyway, so you risk more with injury than with miles at this point'."
That perspective should make me feel better... but I still feel like a wuss for my poor performance this morning.

And yet I also worry that I pushed too hard this morning for "junk" miles when I should have just called today a rest day and tried again tomorrow.


Maybe I'll go back to focusing on 5ks...

Do you ease up when you feel joint pain, or do you push through it?
Do you feel nagging guilt when you cut a run short?

Photo (of sea lions) courtesy of Liz Noffsinger /


  1. I'd be more on the side of rest up and let your hip heal, but I'm not a runner (*ahem*). :-D Hope that hip feels better for your half-marathon, missus. :) x

  2. I am notorious for pushing through the pain, and that usually ends up screwing me in the end. Such as now, after ignoring pain in my calves for more than a month now I've been sidelined for a week. It takes a lot of self-discipline to get out there and run, but it takes even more to hold back and rest! Good luck with your injury. 'Tis the season it seems.

  3. I've been having that debate in my head for a while now with my nagging foot/soleus pain...

  4. I seem to have more than one of those types of debates in my head lately. I'm finishing up my training for a half-marathon in two weeks and I just developed an ankle 'thing'. I'm taking an extra day off to nurse it but I'm with you, I feel a little bit of a failure if I cut runs short or don't 'power' through things, after all we are 'endurance athletes' and we're supposed to power through things. We should know the difference between 'potential injury' and 'endured suffering' though. We have to be smart about it.

  5. Oh my my! What a sign! Yeah, I'm pretty sure that would give me pause. Yikes!

  6. I took today off -- just a walk around the neighborhood and some (very) light yoga stretches...

    @Anne - Had I noticed the sign *before* we started our hike, I probably would have had second thoughts, too! But I didn't notice until we got to the turn-around point... by then, I had no choice but to walk back! ;)

  7. I'd push through - I did! And now I'm not allowed to run for 6-8 weeks due to a torn hip flexor. Don't Run!!!


Penny for your thoughts?