Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Growing Pains

One thing I remember very well from the house we lived in from sixth grade until eleventh grade was in the early part of that time, when I was younger, laying in my bed in that house, and having horrible aches and pains in my legs.  Sometimes it was so uncomfortable that I'd actually get up and go downstairs and complain to my folks.  My mom always said it was just growing pains.  When she was feeling particularly nice, she'd sometimes make me warm milk to help me go back to sleep.  But I still remember how that ache felt. 

I swear, I haven't had those pains since then, so more than 20 years ago. 

I am definitely having them again.  It is the exact same thing I think.  Just achiness (is that a word) in my legs when I'm trying to sleep.  No issues when I'm up and about, but growing pains when I'm in bed. 

Is it possible that my muscles are really growing in the same way they do when you're 13 and in a growth spurt?

Dude, I would totally love it if I grew about 3 more inches.  ESPECIALLY if I didn't gain any weight! 

Somehow I think that's unlikely, but I wonder if this crazy training year is really resulting in muscle development that is so substantial right now that it's causing growing pains.  Is that possible??? 

I'm definitely working very hard right now.  I've got a couple quality workouts per week, plus some easy long runs once a week and my easy commuting miles. 

I'm doing my long runs about 45 seconds per mile slower than marathon pace and while I had a few weeks where I struggled, the last few long runs have been solid (it must be noted:  though with the marathon still 2.5 months away, my "long" run right now is only about 15 miles, the true test comes when I'm regularly over 16 miles).  And I'm getting better and stronger in my quality workouts too. 

My pacing is still shaky -- I don't have a good sense of marathon pace yet, and so on something like yesterday morning's workout, my paces are all over the map.  Yesterday we were scheduled for some warm-up and cool-down miles, and in the middle, 6 repeats of 800 meters (half mile) at 30 seconds faster than marathon pace (so just a tad slower than yasso pace), with 400 meters (quarter mile) of recovery in between.  So yesterday, attempting to find 30 seconds faster than marathon pace for each half mile repeat, my paces were: 
1.) 7 secs/mile faster than goal marathon mile pace
2.) 27 secs/mile fast,
3.) 4 secs/mile fast,
4.) 8 secs/mile fast,
5.) 6 secs/mile slow,

Some of the missed paces (particularly repeat two) were due to elevation issues (repeat 2 was definitely a long gradual downhill on a lovely wide road with no traffic).  And since I run with a group and there are other pace groups out there on the route, including some who started early given the distance, there's also that rabbit-passing effect that accounts for some increments being too fast.  Anyway, since I u-turned after repeat 3, it made sense that repeat 5 was slow because that was going up that same hill I'd come down in repeat 2.  But the overall paces on those 6 repeats are still far more variable than they should be.  I know that as the race gets closer, the paces will get more locked in, but still...

I'm rambling.  Bottom line is that my running feels pretty solid right now.  Room to improve of course, but 2.5 months to do so.  But the hard work might be honestly making me grow some muscle fibers or something in my legs.  Or I'm imagining it all, but something in my legs is waking me up at night pretty regularly.  So bizarre...


  1. Ugh, I remember growing pains!! Not only did I grow taller, my thighs filled out and I had very tender stretch marks form. Unfortunately, I still have the stretch marks on my hamstrings, which I HATE!

    You are doing much better than me with your marathon training! I'm struggling to follow my program and left to my own devices, I only do the time/mileage on the calendar and not the specific task... in other words, I just run instead of doing repeats or hills, etc. The structure of the group helps me stay somewhat on task, and fall training starts in two weeks, but I feel behind since I'm training for Chicago whereas the fall training through the DRC targets Dallas. Oh well, hopefully I'll fall back in the swing of things here soon!

    Have you tried foam rolling before you go to bed? I get pretty achy when I head to bed after races/hard runs and foam rolling tends to help alleviate some of the achy feeling for me.... I've gotten up in the middle of the night to foam roll and then go back to bed because I was so uncomfortable.

    1. I haven't foam rolled before bed -- I totally hate the foam roller, but that's probably because it works. Will have to give that a try, thanks for the tip!

  2. do you wear compression socks or sleeves on your calves when you run? i developed a problem when i started running more miles where my calves were extremely achy and i would be completely uncomfortable for up to 2 whole days after the run. i went and bought a pair of compression sleeves to wear on runs 9 miles or longer and now i don't have that problem anymore.

  3. You are working your muscles hard. I wonder if the foam rolling would help. I don't wear compression socks while running but I do wear them after a long run. I'm trying to develop a better habit of stretching before and after running as well as foam rolling. Unfortunately I'm not as consistent as I should be, but I'm doing better than past trainings. You'll have to let us know if you find something that helps.