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Well, lots to share on the training front from the last couple of weeks. If you have been following us on social media, then you’ve heard about Dr. Kelly’s hospitalization due to an infection that started from a small scrape after a fall on the trail. More from her below. I have also been dealing with a small injury, Turf Toe, or a ligament sprain of my big toe. And our friends out east have been hit with some big snows and temps below zero degrees celcius, so they have had to get creative with their training as well.
All of this brought up a very important question, one that we will all have to face at some point in our running careers: What do you do when you can’t train at all or have circumstances that don’t allow you to run?
Maybe you were hit hard with a case of the flu or have a minor injury to one body part like myself. Whatever the case, it can be disappointing to say the least when you have to miss important workouts when training for a such a monumental event as an ultra.
First, let’s hear Dr. Kelly’s perspective. She is training for the North Fork 50 miler which is only 3 1/2 months away.
“Over a month ago I was out for a long run in the snow. I lost my footing a couple of miles in and ended with a decent abrasion on my left shin. Little did I know this seemingly minor injury was going to take me on quite the journey. A week later I was in AZ for a functional medicine seminar and ended up in the ER instead. The doctor treated me for a local infection with a dose of IV antibiotics and sent me on my way with oral antibiotics. What I know now, I was already septic (the infection was in my blood and throughout my body).
Upon my return on Sunday, I ended up back in the ER where I was admitted for severe sepsis. I was on IV antibiotics non-stop, alternating between 2 heavy, heavy hitters due to not knowing what I had gotten myself into. They thought they were going to keep me for 2 days but the Infectious Disease doc (doesn’t that sound just awesome?!!), thought I could get out sooner. Thankfully things were improving. I just needed more IV medication. Fast forward to today, now 3 1/2 weeks later. I’m still on an IV antibiotic. It’s like a nuclear bomb going off in my body on a daily basis. I’m done with the non-stop headaches and extreme exhaustion already.
Just this morning, I was considering running. I really miss it and really want to. However, on Friday, I did a basic strength workout and went for a slow 2.7 mile walk. Saturday, I woke up EXHAUSTED!!! I spent the WHOLE day in bed again.
So, this morning I resorted to reminding myself how I felt Saturday. I’ve been having to do a lot of self talk this past week. I’ve been reminding myself about how far I’ve come, about how much worse it could have been and about how short of time-frame it really has been despite it feeling like it’s been forever.
I’ve also been working at reminding myself that I have enough time yet to train for my ultra in June. Always trying to find the positive.”
As for me (Lauren), I really shouldn’t complain about this minor injury. In reality, it gave me an opportunity to do some cross training and work muscle groups I have been neglecting.
Before I began training for an ultra, I set guidelines for myself which included cross training (biking, swimming and pilates/yoga) at least twice a week in addition to strength training at least twice a week (including some obstacle race specific body weight workouts).
I know this training approach isn’t necessarily commonplace among ultra coaches. Out of the twenty or so 50k-100k training plans I reviewed, very few called for strength training and it was hard sought to find one that recommended cross training of any kind. Just running, lots and lots of running.
However, most, if not all runners should be both cross training and strength training on a regular basis. I know it may seem counterintuitive to run less but if you really want to prevent injury and burn-out, incorporating movements and exercises in different plans of motion are crucial.
As Dr. Kelly has talked about many times in our periscopes and articles, running is in just one plane of motion, forwards. We work the same muscles over and over, neglecting others that have important jobs in keeping our body upright, strong and balanced.
So this injury was a nice little reminder that I wasn’t fulfilling the cross training requirements of my training plan. I was so happy I was able to run again that it was all I was doing. Most of my workouts this week were on the bike pulling my kids behind me in our double carrier, I forgot how grueling biking can be, especially up steep hills pulling 90+lbs. See a recap of this week’s training log HERE.
– This article was a collaboration between Dr. Kelly Shockley, our resident sports medicine contributor and Lauren Jones, Ultra Mama (written posts documenting training for her first ultra with kids in tow)