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Enough is never enough

Aerial view of The Haven
After managing to jog a kilometre yesterday at the end of my walk, I decided to do something similar today.  It was Saturday, so the usual early start on a very cold morning at Terrigal.  The skies were clear with a bright half-moon and an icy breeze that brought a significant chill to the 100 or so runners standing around chatting before the regular end-month 10km time trial started at 6am.

After the runners set off, I walked the half kilometre along the beachfront to The Haven with fellow injured clubmate, Brian, and we jogged a couple of laps of the 500m road loop before Brian left to finish his session on the grass rugby field.  Originally, that was as much jogging as I had planned for the day, but although my right arch was sore, I didn't feel like I was aggravating the injury.  So I decided to do another two laps, and then some walking.  After those two laps I decided I could handle another two before walking back to Terrigal.  And after those two laps, I decided I might as well jog the 500m back to Terrigal.  So, in the end, I jogged about 3.5km.

This little exercise in gradualism illustrates a challenge I always struggle with during come-backs.  When you can't run at all and are putting on weight and losing condition, you tell yourself that, if you could just jog a few kilometres a day, life would be good.  You might not be able to race, but who cares.  Your fitness and weight might stabilise and you could at least work up a bit of a sweat.

Then, after two days of jogging a couple of kilometres, you start thinking, if you could just manage 5km a day, that would be really good, and so on.  Before long, it's 10km per day, and maybe the Trotters Saturday morning run.

Sometimes this approach works for me, but not always.  More often, you get to running the 5km per day, and after a few days, the injury starts hurting a little more.  At the same time, with those couple of runs under your belt, you feel a little fitter and don't want to believe that you have overdone it.  Maybe it's just some scar tissue hurting, or an atrophied muscle struggling with renewed running.  Before you know it, you have to accept that the injury has worsened, it's time to back off the running, and you have set yourself back a week or two (or worse).

I feel like I may have started down that slippery slope with the last two days of jogging, even though it was only for short distances.  I now have to be alert for any deterioration in the troublesome arch and be ready willing to cut back or stop if that occurs, regardless of the temptation to keep going.  It will be a bit easier to make that decision, if necessary, now that I have given up on the idea of running the Melbourne Marathon in October.  The new, very tentative plan, is to run the Hobart Marathon in January assuming I can get back to full training during September.  I will revise my training program when I'm confident I am over the injury.