Should I go for a long run today?
September 10, 2017 6:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm training for the NYC Marathon. The last two weeks I've been battling gastrocnemius tendinopathy. I'm scheduled to do 15 miles this weekend. Should I do it or is rest gong to be more beneficial?

I'm not a terribly experienced runner and have never run more than a half marathon. This is my first marathon and I'm in week 10 of Hal Higdon's Novice training program. I was supposed to do 15 miles for my long run yesterday but my knee was still slightly sore from running 8 miles on Thursday (I'm modifying the program slightly to cut out one of the short runs as I'm a trainer and workout quite a bit anyway and I was afraid of overtraining by running 4 times a week). Today the knee feels better, but isn't quite 100%. There's some residual soreness/stiffness, but no pain or swelling. It hasn't really swelled up at all, it's just been sore and the calf has been sore. I've been stretching and rolling out frequently as well as staying hydrated and eating potassium-rich foods.

I've been kicking ass so far and have managed to do well at all my long runs at a 9:00/mile or faster pace. I'd really hate to lose this momentum by having to skip a long run, but I also don't want to be so injured that I can't do the actual marathon. Runners who have experience with this--what do you recommend? I'm leaning towards skipping this run and going to 16 miles next week but I'm afraid it's going to be that much harder by making it three weeks since going above 10 miles. I'd probably advise one of my clients in a similar situation to skip the run if there's any doubt, but it's hard to apply that to myself. Help!
posted by Fuego to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Best answer: I would skip the 15-miler and rest. Also, this:

I'm modifying the program slightly to cut out one of the short runs as I'm a trainer and workout quite a bit anyway and I was afraid of overtraining by running 4 times a week

is probably not a good idea. Even if you are in excellent shape, running is different from other exercise. The multiple slow/easy runs benefit your body by further developing your tendons/ligaments to support long runs. I wouldn't be surprised if your current injury is related to only running 3 times a week. As long as you keep your 4th/5th runs per week as slow and easy, it will actually make you less likely to get injured.
posted by barnoley at 6:56 AM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a doctor

The leading cause of major injuries is ignoring or trying to train through minor injuries. Skip the run today. Be smart.
posted by BadgerDoctor at 7:25 AM on September 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, this is what I needed. This is one of those situations where I knew the answer and just had to hear it from someone else. Bummed that I won't be going out for that run but if it makes me feel and perform better in the long run (no pun intended), I'll deal.

barnoley, I may have misrepresented my running experience a bit. I run sprints and short distances regularly outside of the formal marathon training sessions. I cut out one short run a week (just 3 or 4 miles so far) because I get the equivalent in my cross-training. I consulted with a PT at the beginning of training to address any potential issues and got the green light as far as tendon/ligament health and have an appointment for later this week to help with the calf/knee issue. Hoping all will go well for the 16-miler next weekend!
posted by Fuego at 8:18 AM on September 10, 2017

I see, that sounds good. I bet you will actually feel way better than expected on your 16-miler next week, with relatively fresh legs (you won't lose much if any fitness from taking off one long run). A good rule of thumb for marathon training is that it's better to go into the race being slightly undertrained instead of overtrained, since the race itself will beat up your legs so much. Good luck with the rest of your training!
posted by barnoley at 9:46 AM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

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