Guilt-Free Time Off

After patting myself on the back for getting out and running when I didn’t feel like it on Tuesday and Wednesday, I took yesterday off from running and I don’t regret it for a second.

On Wednesday I reported that my right calf felt funky, and it continued to feel funky Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, so I made the executive decision not to run. Then later in the day I waffled a bit and thought hey, maybe I should run, or maybe I can just walk on the treadmill, it’s probably just normal muscular pain. Then I thought about it longer and decided I didn’t waste $30 on a race I’m not even training for so that I could injure myself pushing it too hard on a boring slow training run. I meant to do my pushups and situps since my core really needs work, but then I didn’t. I stayed at work later than I planned, and then I went to see Soul Asylum at the Sports Garden, so I didn’t do my strength stuff. Unless rocking out counts as a workout. It probably does, although there was no moshing.

My calf feels fine today, so I feel justified in taking the day off. I guess whether it felt fine or whether I was unable to walk, I would have felt justified in taking the day off.

I am not one of those runners who spends hours analyzing their aches and pains to determine if they are larger issues. I am also not one of those runners who talks in acronyms and pseudo-medicalspeak. The minute someone wonders if their dx is an sfx or ITBS, I just tune out. I am not a doctor of sports medicine or a physical therapist, so I have nothing to contribute to the conversation, and I try not to turn to Dr. Google for a diagnosis. I gauge whether or not I should rest an injury or run based on a couple non-scientific criteria:

1. Is the pain symmetric?
If both legs/hips/arms/sides hurt, or if my entire lower back is stiff/sore, or both feet are achy, I’m not too concerned. Since only one leg felt weird the other day, I was more concerned.

2. Does the pain go away or lessen significantly overnight?
So far I’ve been recovering fairly well from my long or more intense runs, but I am a bit stiff and creaky in the evenings, or sometimes even the next morning until I really get moving for the day. Because my leg felt similar yesterday afternoon to the way it felt Tuesday evening, I didn’t push it.

Obviously there’s more to injury prevention than a two-question assessment, but I hope it will help prevent overuse injuries, at the very least. Today is gorgeous and I fully intend on doing 5 miles after I go pick up my race packet for this 5K tomorrow. Which, eep, why did I sign up for this again? I am not sure.

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