Running Low – Knowing when to let your body recover

You know that feeling. You’ve come back from a lovely run and your throat feels a bit scratchy. You think nothing of it so you have a good nights sleep and then in the morning your eyes feel sore, your throat feels sore and you feel generally run down and rough.

Is it a mild cold virus? Is it the beginning of an infection? Is it the change between cold air and heated air in your house? Or is it your body trying to slow you down a bit? Maybe it’s your mood – depression/anxiety/anger can affect your health too.

I’ve been feeling super strong over the last few training runs and then the weekend of cancellations due to weather happened. I was ready for the Oakley 20. I knew I could beat that 4 hour time limit. But the race had been cancelled due to freezing temperatures and snow that would endanger people if they were to travel. All this energy. All this organising. I was bouncing of the walls with energy. So when the local club – Leighton Fun Runners – organised a Leighton 20 I quickly joined in the frenzy to get out there and run.

Then the cold decided to remind me of an old injury. My left ankle and calf muscle didn’t feel right on the warm up jog to the club house. Then whilst waiting for everyone to meet up for the run my ankle and calf started feeling okay again. Hmmm. Just a niggle I thought. Then we all set of for the 20 mile run around Leighton Buzzard. I got to 1.5 miles and my ankle and calf were screaming with pain. I stopped to wrap up the calf to keep it warm to see if that would help. It did but not enough. It started to tighten which was even more painful. Dang it dang it dang it!!!

I had a choice. Run through the pain and get the muscle warm enough to function. This would feel stupidly painful for a while and after the run the muscle would need a lot of care and attention to heal. Or call it a day and walk home now when I’m not far from home. The possibility of injury to the muscle will be much lower and recovery much quicker.

What did I do? I walked home grumbling and ranting at how weak I am and it’s only a little cold and I’ve been able to run in worse and so on. Completely negative for the whole 1 mile walk home. Yes I had managed to damage a muscle on the outside of my calf somehow. Hot and cold therapy with a compression sock helped the muscle heal very quickly. My mood however was low and by Monday morning I felt rough. I’m still convinced it’s not a cold or infection it’s my general bad mood that’s affecting my health.

So how do you improve your mood? Good question isn’t it. Sigh. I found my mood improving by plotting and planning my next few training runs and events. It’s helped, not much but it’s better than nothing. I’ve also kept on running. I’ve been out for my daily 1 mile run to my son’s school and I’ve not felt worse doing so.

Whats next? Delepre Abbey – last year it was 10k, this year it’s a half marathon. I wonder if I’ll be doing the marathon in 2014?

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