Recently, Paula and I traveled from Kentucky to Atlanta for a church event. We arrived late on Friday night and slept in on Saturday morning. When we awoke, we decided to squeeze in a run before heading out for brunch and then to the church. Since we were pressed for time, I shortened my normal warmup routine. I also realized I left my roller and rollerball at home.
"But hey, I’m just doing a short easy run. It will be okay."
I pulled up Google Maps and searched for “greenway”. When out of town, this has been a helpful way to find places to run. It is surprising sometimes how close a path may be.
We walked out of the hotel and put our masks in our car (for those reading this in the future, we are living through COVID-19). Then we took off on our run.
If you are not familiar with the Atlanta area, you may be surprised at how hilly it is. Immediately out of the hotel parking lot in the direction of the greenway was a very steep hill. I didn’t remember this when we arrived late the previous night. Right out of the gate, my Achilles tendon started aching. I’ve had recurring issues for years. Since my PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment in 2017, it has been doing great. Paula and I continued up and down one hill after another at an easy pace for about 50 minutes.
As I always do after a run, I found ice and treated my Achilles – normally just to be safe – but this time because of soreness.
Throughout the church service my tendon was tender but not debilitating. Once up and walking, it was barely noticeable.
This was a short trip and we headed home after the meeting – a six-hour car ride. The next morning, I had planned to do a 13-mile workout with pickups at 10K pace. I have been stubborn in the past and regretted it. This time, the coach in me overcame the athlete and I decided to take the Sunday off.
On Monday morning, I felt pretty good. I went through my normal warmup routine and headed out for a run. I just wanted to see how it was doing. My neighborhood is about a third of a mile loop. I made one lap and felt good. So, I trekked out and had a nice 5-mile run. Along the way I prayed and praised my Lord. He is worthy whether my run was a success or failure.
Having said all of this, I’m glad I took the day off. While I'm writing this blog, I am 8 weeks out from the Gulf Coast Marathon. The first goal is to get to the starting line healthy. How much fitness did I lose by skipping the Sunday workout? Very little. How much risk would there have been if I ran hard when I was aching? The risk was high.
Traveling and training can be challenging. Plan ahead and be flexible. Be proactive and pack what you need and coordinate with whomever you are traveling with to have plenty of time for your training. But, if it doesn’t work out, stay calm and enjoy your time away. Stay positive. Tomorrow is another day.
It is difficult as athletes to deviate from a plan. That’s why Paula and I encourage the RyR Endurance Team to listen to their bodies and be conservative. We encourage communication so together we can make the best choices for our athletes. Paula and I are both athletes and coaches. We encounter the same challenges that you do. And we have learned patience over the years. The key to improvement is staying healthy. If you set a deadline for a time goal, you may push yourself too hard. Consistent training over time will lead to faster times.
If you are interested in being coached and joining our team, we would love to work with you.