Friday, June 1, 2012

Rules are Meant to Be Broken!

Disclaimer: Please do not attempt anything of the things you have read without consulting a sane individual!

It has been awhile since I have posted and my reasoning is that I wanted to get through May and take a look at a question I get quite often. How do I do it? If you read much at all about running and how to build up your mileage, very quickly you will see the 10% rule. The rule states that you shouldn't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% or the chance of injury will dramatically increase. First of all, this is probably more of a guideline than a rule. Secondly, no rule or guideline can apply to everyone. Finally, I am not big on rules or guidelines!

Just to illustrate my point;

As you can see, I actually did a pretty good job following the "10% rule" up until March. What happened in March? I ran my second half marathon and while I dropped my PR by almost 5 minutes, it was not a pleasurable experience due to my lack of training.  In reading various books, magazines, blogs, and websites, after hitting 166 miles in November I convinced myself that I needed more cross training and less running.  Never mind the fact that I had not experienced any training related injuries up to this point, it was the fact that I was approaching the 40 mpw barrier. What is so mystical about 40 mpw? Nothing! but it seemed like a huge number to me. Ok, so I wandered from the point I was trying to make.

After my half on March 4, I decided to run a full! Again one of my strange thoughts about running is that I should be able to handle a 70 mile week before beginning marathon training. Looking back, I see that most plan don't even peak at 70 mpw but like I said I am not into rules or guidelines unless they are my own. So starting the day after my half, I just started running with the intent to hit 70 mpw. I didn't care how slow I ran as long I ran. Most of the days that followed, I woke up with varying degrees of soreness. None of it was unbearable but definitely made its presence felt. But I stuck with it and during this time I discovered that my legs would loosen up eventually, some days it took 1 mile, other days 5 miles. Week after week, the miles kept creeping up.

So how did I go from 118 miles in  February to 362 in May without injury? Blind luck followed by listening to my body. While I did not take many days off, I think I counted 5 days off in the last 92 days. I would slow the pace considerably or choose a softer terrain, which helped me to keep running. I also used compression socks/sleeves on almost every run as well as cold/ice baths after most runs starting around week 3. 

I know some of you are thinking that there is no need to run that much and you are probably right. But some of the positive things that have come out of it are increased endurance(DUH), increased confidence, weight loss(15 lbs), and surprisingly improved speed. Plus I am confident that I can comfortably handle my training plan for the Rock and Roll Savannah Marathon in November. 

Don't be afraid to break the rules but more importantly listen to the person that knows you best, yourself!

Happy Running!


  1. And don't forget another, very important positive result: You have really inspired runners from everywhere in a tremendous way! Your good example, combined with your encouragement of many, and your offers to run with others at whatever pace they choose, has had a huge impact! It's definitely a reason to feel good about yourself, along with your determination to break through new running barriers each day, week, month. I am glad to know you, and I wish you many more years of injury-free running and and a sizzling-fast marathon debut!

  2. Impressive build-up, Sang! I agree that I know myself best, but sadly, I often lie to myself. I am glad you are running strong and on track for a great marathon in November!

    1. Thanks! Seems like you have a great support system to help you out!

  3. Way to rock it, Sang! And great tips. I should have listened to my body on Sat when I felt like running again, but was afraid to since I'm doing my first 4-miler tomorrow. I did at least jog lightly on my way to the beach, in my flip-flops. LOL.

  4. Great post Sang! You are a constant inspiration on DM. Thank you for sharing this and I hope you continue to reap the benefits of good health and running! - Millie