My husband has always been an excellent runner. He has been struggling this year with pain while running as he tried to train for the Boston Marathon. Last Friday, x-rays revealed significant arthritis and bone malformation in his left hip. He has cancelled his Boston plans and we now need to find him some new activities. We were blindsided by this! He had never had a hip injury. No-one expected this.
So...as I've always said, treasure every race and workout like it might be your last. This snaps your priorities right back into place! And remember that it is very important to train smartly.
A couple of interesting blogs/podcasts on training mistakes:
Here - Pete Magill talks about the mistakes that he made that resulted in injuries and missing his goal race. A good lesson for everyone. He knew what was right and he still ended up making mistakes.
http://www.teamtbb.com/?option=com_content&task=view&id=1352 Here, Coach Brett Sutton blogs frankly about the fallout from the hard training and epic racing in the women's Kona Ironman Championships last fall.
The bottom line here is that it is far too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a key workout (like the 20 miler, or the mile repeat session, or the course simulation ride or last weekend's race) is too important to miss. I can't count how many times a friend or an athlete has gotten injured in pursuit of finishing that mythical 20 mile training run - because they believed that they could not run a marathon without it. I even did this to myself - then had to skip the 2006 Chicago Marathon with an injury that took 6 months to heal. Pete Magill says it best - there is no one workout that is worth jeopardizing your health and training. If you feel a twinge or a cramp, time to stop and live to run again soon (or canoe or bike or swim).
And Brett Sutton reveals that he has questioned Chrissie Wellington's hard training every day approach for the last 2 years. He talks about the toll that too-hard training takes on an athlete. Chrissie is the best - but could she have been better with less training? She is now taking a break from training and racing - Brett seems to think that she is now done forever.
It is too easy to question your training when you have friends who are doing twice as many hours as you are. It is easy to get hung up on getting in that last 20 miler no matter what. It is easy to think that if you don't train to exhaustion every single day - that you are not training enough. DO NOT FALL INTO THESE TRAPS!!!!
My goal is to keep my athlees in the game for a long, strong, healthy journey where they achieve their potential for many years to come. I also want them to remain important to their family and friends and employers. It is all about training when you are ready to conquer a training stimulus and resting when you need to rest. It is all about doing the minimum amount of training that will accomplish your goals.
Be smart. Don't get caught up in the madness. Treasure every run, bike, swim, paddle, ski, etc.!