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Familiar companions

As you get older, you get used to running with
 chronic injuries.  Nearing the finish of the
1991 Watford (UK) Half Marathon (~75mins)
After an "easy" day yesterday, I wanted to run a bit further this morning.  I'm still coming back from the right arch injury and my goal is to be back in full training by the end of August.  However, because the injury is still present to a degree, I'm reluctant to adopt my usual "get fit quick" plan of long runs every three or four days.  Instead, I'm alternating easy runs with "longish" runs and gradually increasing the distance.

So, despite feeling slow and unfit, I set out on a 16.5 km loop from The Haven after the Thursday morning track session.  I felt I was barely making forward progress up the first steep hills on the Scenic Highway, and my right leg was a bit of a basket case, with the knee, arch and Achilles tendon, all painful.  As it flattened out and I covered more distance, I began moving more freely, but the right leg problems remained extant.  It was never an easy run, and the hills were particularly tough, but my time of 1:26 was just a couple of minutes slower than last time I ran the same course two months ago.

A non-athlete might ask why anyone would not only continue to run, but increase their mileage, when they are carrying injuries.  I say non-athlete, because most sports people, and especially those past their prime, frequently train and compete while carrying injuries.  Often these injuries are as familiar as old friends, or maybe companions is a better word.

I don't enjoy the pain I get from my right knee and Achilles tendon, but they are well known to me and I don't expect them to stop me running, though accept it will happen some time.  My recent right arch injury is beginning to enter the same category.  For the last few weeks, the pain is always there, some times worse than others, but I now have enough experience of the injury to know that I can back up and run the next day without it getting worse.  The pain is becoming familiar and manageable.  It's more tolerable because I have less fear that it will become worse, or affect my running form enough to cause compensatory injuries.  The injuries are most likely connected, and my optimistic view is that my body will gradually adapt and the pain will diminish.

It would be nice to run injury-free, and I know there will be occasional purple patches ahead of me when everything is functioning well, but more often than not there will be some pain while running.  I judge the benefit from continuing to run as far outweighing the costs.  The pain generally stops, or is vastly reduced, when I stop running and I then enjoy the health benefits and sense of well-being that accompanies fitness.