Where Do I Go From Here – Goals for the Rest of 2014

Bennie Looking at my rehab tools
Bennie Looking at my rehab tools

I am still in the rehab process for my hamstring injury, I have a feeling that if I am realistic, not pessimistic or optimistic, I am still 2-3 weeks away from actually running mostly pain-free from my current injury. 

Something I read recently said it can take 21 to 72 days to properly heal a hamstring injury, I guess I got the 72 day variety.

I am not going to start training for anything until July, even though I will be running before then. Why not? 

I know that I am loosing conditioning with the sporadic amount of running I have done all of May and I need to re-build my base during June, to get my confidence back, so that I can do the things I expect from my body while in a training plan.

While this is frustrating as all hell for me, actually it F*&%$*g sucks, because the weather has been just about perfect for running around here. However, I gotta stay positive and this injury time has given me yet another chance to re-invent myself as a runner or at least to look at the things I need to do.

Especially, if I want to run with less pain and a more efficient gait, which I hope will result in drum roll please — less pain.

Yeah, I am kind of centered around pain, for now. No, not the severe, oh I can’t stand it kind of pain that gets all the headlines, instead it is that persistent pain in the ass stuff that never really goes away and is there, especially when I run or if I step wrong.

The kind of low-level pain you can run through and do most other things, but sticks around and says “hello” like a meddlesome, nosy neighbor, comes around when you least expect or want the interruption.

Like that kind of neighbor, I just want it to go away.

This pain thing, is a big part of that Ramshackle Runnah clean-up story is all about.

You know overhauling the mess I have created after abusing my body all these years: by running through injuries, not letting injuries heal, the constant starts/stops/changes to my running, not listening to the sound advice of others and all the training errors that I have made. Not to mention all the non-running crap I have put my body through.

I know it is time to work on doing things more consistently, a little lot smarter and learn how to run mostly pain-free, so I can enjoy my running, instead of enduring it.

That is what this post is about – figuring out what my running related goals will be for the rest of 2014.

My process to set these goals has been:

  1. I think about them in my head for a while (which is what I have done)
  2. then write them down
  3. let them sit for a day or two
  4. edit, change, trash, revise, throw-out, create different
  5. finally come up with goals for me that are achievable (that realistic thing), need to be done or something that I really want to do.

No, they are not your classic S.M.A.R.T. goals, but they will work for me.

Here we go! There are only two goals and a few sub-goals.

Primary Goal

  • I will let my body heal and improve the efficiency of my gait.

I will properly rehabilitate my current hamstring injury, with the timetable of returning to full training, with no restrictions by June 30th, longer if needed (I sure as hell hope not) with my goal races coming in the fall, not this summer.

In other words, no more minimizing how bad my legs and hamstrings feel.

Yeah, this means no Rail Trail Half Marathon (two years in a row injuries have taken me out of this race) – not running in this race takes the pressure off me to attempt to run through this injury, to keep getting ready for the Half. Maybe I will just run the 5K if things are feeling decent to give me a baseline to start my training in July.

I am at the old two steps forward, three steps back and so on routine (now it feels like I am going in the wrong direction). This injury just is not going to heal itself overnight (as much as I want it to) and will take longer than I initially believed – just the way it is. 

However, the issues with my hamstrings (yes both) is/are a long-standing things, that I never really addressed in the past and have negatively affected my running for many years, so it was really just a question of when they would take me down for a while, not if.

  • I will work on the underlying causes for my legs being trashed and will continue to do my mobilization routine daily and the stretching/strengthening routine at least 2 days per week for the foreseeable future and I mean this to be years, not just a few days.

One of the underlying reasons for many of my underlying or recurring injuries is that I am about as flexible as a 2×4 and have several muscle imbalances that I have to address. This is one of the reasons that I decided to go to the local sports Chiropractor to really find out what to hell is going on with my legs and the things that I can do to fix or at least mitigate some most of the issues.

The bottom-line is that I am tired of running with some sort of pain on 100% of my runs. Discomfort is one thing, but after a while “embracing the pain”, just gets old and yes, there is a difference between racing pain and training in pain.

  • I will research to learn more about and work with my Chiropractor on how to eliminate or lessen the early heel lift and/or other flaws he finds in my running gait that are contributing to my seemingly endless cycle of run-injury-rehab-run-injury-rehab.

At my initial Chiropractic evaluation on May 20th, he stated that my heel lifted too early in the gait cycle and this could be or is likely contributing to my injury woes. This is the first time that anyone has ever told me about this problem. So I don’t know very much about this issue or even if I can correct it or how much, but I know that I need to know more about how this early heel lift actually affects my running and if it is part of the underlying reason for at least some of my hamstring/injury issues.

Secondary Goal

  • I will train to run faster at the 5K and 10 distances and not race any further distances.

I will put together a training plan that will allow me to race distances between 5k and 10k competitively in my age group, in my local area.

Which means that I will have to focus more on the 5K training to meet the sub 20:00 minute pace I want to run, while adding in some longer runs to have the endurance for the 10K. I am not looking at going sub 40:00 for the 10K, so 43:30 is a more realistic and synergistic goal that I believe I can do.

I still want to run a weekly long run, believe it or not I enjoy running longer for me distances (10-15 miles) at a comfortable pace, and plan to still include my weekly long run into TheWife’s work after I get back to running regularly, even though I will be training primarily for shorter distance racing.

  • I will go from 156 pounds to under 145 pounds by September 30th.

Part of getting faster is pretty simple, I also need to carry around less weight. Since the Achilles injury in 2013, I put 10-12 pounds and that weight needs to go away.

Honestly, I do not enjoy the training necessary for racing the half or marathon distances, I am not an endurance “monster”. Over the past couple of years, I allowed myself to get sucked into focusing too much on those distances – that damn Boston BQ dream thing. Unfortunately, when I train to race the longer distances, it results in too many injuries. I might train for a longer race in the future, but I want a couple of years of injury-free running before I try again.

More than just training to race.

The truth is that I run for more than just training for races – a lot more. Honestly, if I didn’t race again, it would not be that big of a deal, as long as I could keep running.

Running is something I do for me and it is something that I love to do.

Since I am running for more than training to just run a fast race, when I get through this injury rehab process, I plan on running 6 days most weeks and capping my mileage between 40-50 miles a week, after I slowly work myself back up to that level.

I have a feeling that my intensity and mileage will continue to decrease no matter what I do, but the number of days that I regularly run will remain constant.

Yes, I know that the “experts” recommend that us “older” runners cut back on the number of days we run a week and cross-train instead.

Not interested in that advice at all.

Yes I am an old stubborn coot, but when I say that I run for me – I do and 6 days a week is where I need to be for me to be happy.

The reality is that

I could walk out the door today and run 4-5 miles, but it would be enduring the run, not enjoying it. I want to get back to enjoying my running, but continuing to run with my present level of pain/discomfort is getting old and not the direction I want to go.

What I need to do is stop and let things heal.

Then while I am healing, figure out the underlying reasons why the injuries keep coming back.

This whole getting the body back to a more pain-free level of running is a process and no, it is not easy for me to patiently do what I need to do, especially since it is/will take longer than I want it to.

Oh well, not running the way that I want – sucks, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (Dr. Lawton) and I know that I will run better than ever after going through this process, but only if I allow things to heal first and keep doing the rehab program.

Just as long as that light isn’t a damn freight train coming at me. 🙂


  1. Wonderful read, and kudos for the renewed perspective … it is hard to look and ask yourself ‘why do I run?’, and then keep asking until you get to the core answer.

    I have definitely seen people who feel like they are sucked into the ‘gotta do a marathon’ vortex and end up hurt as a result. I am a slow but high endurance person, but I know you are a jack-rabbit, so it seems like shorter distances should be your focus anyway.

    And last fall I had decided that my primary goal was the ability to run ever day, even if it meant not ever racing or getting better or anything else. It is all about learning what matters to us most.


    • Thank you Mike – I have to keep looking objectively at my running and what it does to me. It might take me a while to figure things out, but eventually I will get there as long as I keep the blinders off 🙂

      You are part of the reason that I can look objectively at what I am doing and want to thank you for your support and words of wisdom that you share with me.


  2. i am younger than you and have been injured in the past.due to accumulated running. This year by pure coincidence i also had to increase my swimming mileage (signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon). So i have been alternating between swimming and running every day.

    Less than 3 years ago i could not do more than 25yds in the pool. Now that i can go for 45min i have found many similarities to running
    a) one starts by doing short distances then slowly build endurance
    b) one feels uncomfortable for the first few minutes (warm-up)
    c) one has to find a comfortable pace and hold it. The more one trains, the longer one can go.
    d) swimming requires almost no leg work. In fact only about 10% of propulsion is due to kicking.
    e) it is a great for cardio but in a different way. Since breathing rate is constant, the body actually learns to use any available oxygen rate efficiently when moving.
    f) one can do intervals, tempo swims, long swims, etc….same training as running

    Swimming is quite intellectual. It requires a certain kind of skillset because to go faster one has to develop a good form and not necessarily increase stroke counts or push the water harder. At the beginning everybody has a bad form but over time one gets to try different drills and tweak certain things and find stuff that makes swimming faster.

    So why i’m sharing this? Because i have been injury free and my running performance have improved quite a lot this year with less running. My legs get a break during swimming, and my arms get a break during running. I could understand loving running. I still prefer it to biking. But i have no doubts that taking on swimming would do wonders to any runner. Some don’t try because they never learned but it is the same as people starting with a couch to 5k program. One nice thing too is that instead of doing marathons, one can choose to do a half ironman and probably enjoy it more.


    • I appreciate your comment and the information you provided, but swimming and I are not gonna happen. I can swim, I can even do laps in the pool (took lessons for a while), but I just do not like it, plus I am not a big fan of chlorine and public pools are pretty much stocked with it. I am happy that you have found a supplement to your running that is working great for you, but I am not all that crazy about it as an alternative for me. 🙂 As long as I continue to do my mobilization/stretching and strength routines, in addition to my running, I am hoping that they will keep me mostly injury free, at least until I screw up and make a training mistake.


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