Winter Running Update

by - Tuesday, March 01, 2022

The last time I checked in with a running update, I said I was planning to spend winter focusing on rehab and mobility work for my hip flexor so that I could have a solid base and hopefully pain-free start to spring running season. 


I'd say I had mixed results. I took six full weeks off running after the Rehoboth Half Marathon, and I built in regular foam rolling and PT exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding my hip flexor in order to relieve the tension. 

Digging into my hip flexor with a tennis ball really seems to help, so I've been doing that most days too. 

I've also been far more conscious of how often I get up and move around during the work day. Some days that's easier than others depending on my meeting scheduled, but I'm pretty sure these problems started because of too much sitting tightening my hip flexor, and running just exacerbated the issue.

My pain levels are far lower than they were back in December, which is the good news. The bad news is the pain never completely went away. 

After the six weeks of no running, I started building light amounts of running back in to see how it went. My goal was to see how strong the correlation between running and my hip issues was. And I haven't really been able to tell much. Some days I think they're linked, some days I don't. 

But with good foam rolling, tennis ball rolling and PT exercises, the pain seems manageable. 

So a few weeks ago, I decided to start a half marathon training plan. I've been toying with the idea of running the Frederick Half Marathon or the Baltimore 10 Miler (or maybe both). I love them both as races, and I was eager to get a spring race on the calendar.

The first few weeks of training went well. Hip pain was minimal. I was feeling strong after tempo runs and hill repeats, even though I hate them both.

And then by week four, which is the cut back week that I'm in right now, everything sort of went to heck. I bonked horribly on a six mile run. So much so that I suffered through 1.5 miles and then had to walk the rest of the way home. I think it was a fueling issue, but it was really severe and not like any level of bonking I've experienced before -- especially on a run of that distance. It was a cold and miserable day and I couldn't feel my fingers by the time I got home. 

I've had pretty low energy levels in the few days since, even though I've been intentionally eating a lot more calories than normal to get me out of whatever calorie deficit I accidentally got myself in, and trying to make sure I get a decent night's sleep.

But my motivation for distance running right now is just completely in the toilet. It's normal for it to dip at times during a training cycle, but not normally this early, and definitely not this badly. 

So, I'm taking some time to reassess. In theory, I'd still like to run some spring races, but I've got to get my energy levels and motivation back and figure out some fueling so I don't ever bonk as badly as I did on Saturday.

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