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From zero to hero ... how best to injury yourself

I had the discussion with my triathlon coach, Mary Eggers earlier this week.

With discomfort in my knee after my incredible personal best at the Race for the Cure, she told me to take a bit of a break from running. I would run only twice this week, emphasizing cycling and swimming instead. Note that my overall workload didn't decrease, just my running workload.

As we chatted on the knee update phone call, I told her it was feeling much better. There was barely any discomfort anymore and I worked on stretching my hamstrings and calf muscles to keep my knee happy.

Still, she said, no 5K on Friday night.

I was hoping to do the St. Greg's 5K tonight. I really wanted to run it. I had done so well with the 5K the week before and, by miracle of miracles, I'm near the top of the Buffalo Triathlon Club point standings for my age group. I would get a point for just showing up and finishing the race. Who wants to give away free points?

But I know that Mary is right as, unfortunately, she always is. (Which leads me to wonder sometimes if she isn't a witch.)

Ah, but then I caught a post from the sports science experts that training errors are the root of most running injuries. These docs believe that it's not so much biomechanical problems (your shoe, for example, or the angle of your thigh bone) that cause running injuries but training errors.

The most common training error seems to be the "zero to hero" concept. You either start running, or start running after an injury, doing too much intensity and too much volume too soon. Running is hard on the body. Your body can adapt. But you need to give it time to adapt.

I've got too much on the horizon with the Quakerman Tri next week and the Broome County Parks Tri in Binghamton the following week (yes, that's two sprint triathlons two weekends in a row) to risk a bigger injury on a 5K. And apparently Coach Mary has a bigger plan for me, too, which simultaneously excites and frightens me.

So if I show up at the St. Greg's 5K, it will be to walk it, not run it, and enjoy the post race party ... as much as on the inside I wish I was racing.

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