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Senior Correspondent

To Run Or Not To Run, That Is The Question!


While running today, I was thinking about my training. My wakeup heart rate has been high for the past couple of weeks, usually 60-63. Monday for example, it was 63. Today it was 62. My base wakeup heart rate is 53. A 20% increase would be 63.4, and my basic philosophy is not to run when my wakeup heart rate has a 20% increase or higher. Based on that philosophy, I should not have run on Monday and today.

I did run, however, on both days. I thus had an important decision to make.

a. I could not run and thus give my body extra rest.
b. I could ignore my wakeup heart rate and push on with my normal training.
c. I could run but give my body extra rest during my run.

On both days, I chose option c. I did keep my normal running of 96 left-foot steps, but as my body got tired, I increased my normal walking of 66 left-foot steps. Sometimes I took 70 or so left-foot steps, and other times I took 96 left foot steps. Also, sometimes I didn't count steps and just walked until I felt ready to run. I also took rest stops, sometimes standing and sometimes sitting on a bench. By giving my body extra rest, I was able to complete my planned distance of 5 miles with about half of that distance while I was running and half while I was walking.

In terms of injury, the safest option is option a, not running at all and giving my body extra rest. The next best option is option c, running but giving my body extra rest by increasing the amount of walking, or (which I didn't do this week), aborting the run when I started getting tired and walking/jogging back to my car.

The worst option (one which many runners choose) is to ignore my body telling me it's getting tired and pushing on with my normal training. That option puts runners on the path to injury. It's better to lose a little running and avoid injuries rather than to lose a lot of running after an injury occurs.

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