There are so many great reasons to keep a running log. Injuries are easy to track with a log. Miles on shoes are also easy to track. You are also able to reward yourself, by comparing month-month analyses of mileage/speed, etc.
I have kept a running log since 2008.
Yes that is a little obsessive. Yes, I am aware of the CRAZY factor. However, when I was injured in 2011, it was a lifesaver- I could say exactly when the problem occurred and what I had been doing the weeks before that lead up to it (a hilly 16-miler, two 10-milers back to back, hill repeats (4-5 miles), and trail running). I actually had kept a running log from 2007-2009, but when I switched computers, I forgot to transfer the file before my ex, who took my old computer, wiped it clean. I am not a hoarder of real things, but I am a digital hoarder. At work, I keep old versions of things and put them in a folder marked “old ____” because I am afraid I might decide I need the older version. Crazy? Yes, I know. But I digress…
My excel file tracks:
Daily Tab- date, miles ran, total time, average split time
Weekly Tab- week dates, miles per week, average split times of runs
Monthly Tab- last date ran, total number of runs, total miles per month, and any goals. This tab also includes a chart of month-to-month progress (miles per month)
The weekly tab has room for “notes” about each run. Generally this is blank, but if I was dehydrated (and could feel it), if I experienced any pain, went particularly fast, had a race, etc, I note it.
In looking back over my log, I noticed my abdominal “cramp” started in early March. Approximately a week after being sick (and still running, while sick. Remember this? Well, the verdict is in: it’s stupid).
So it took 6 weeks of a progressively more and more painful feeling to decide there was something wrong with me. I’d like to add the pain would only happen occasionally at first; then it was every run between mile 2-3 and would go away during the run; then it was every 1-2 miles during every run.
Last Tuesday was the worst pain yet. I was running with Dave and Sarah, and I was trying to fight through the pain to finish our simple 4 miles. We were probably 2.5-3 miles into the run, so I kept thinking I can make it to 4 miles. Sarah finally told me to stop running, as she could see the pain on my face. I stopped, defeated, and keeled over, grabbing my stomach in pain. We walked a bit, then I convinced myself the pain had subsided and I picked up to an easy jog. The pain was still there, but I wanted to get back to our end quicker.
This time, when I stopped running, the pain didn’t go away. It was a dull pain, but still a 5-6 on the pain scale (1-10). I went back home, showered, and it still hurt. I could barely get through two slices of pizza. I hardly slept because every position was slightly painful. I rolled onto my stomach at one point and it hurt a lot. I thought it felt swollen, but also thought that might have been just my hypochondria kicking in… 🙂 I made an appointment for the first available time- Saturday morning. It still hurt Saturday morning, though the pain was getting more and more dull.
And the diagnosis was pretty simple- that pain is an abdominal spasm, most likely due to a pulled/strained tranverse abdominus muscle (it’s a muscle below your “6-pack” abs that kind of cushions your organs) or part of my diaphragm, such that heavy breathing causes the muscle to spasm (as I would experience when running). It is more common for people get these in their back than their abdomen.
The doctor sent me on my way, with a prescription for muscle relaxants and 800mg ibuprofen. Exciting right? I scheduled to follow up with her this Friday, and she will do an ultrasound, xray, and general follow-up to ensure there is no hernia or anything internally wrong with my stomach/diaphragm/ribs that could be restricting my airways.
I decided for myself that I am not doing any physical activity for 2 weeks after the pain is gone. The doctor agreed that is a good idea. So, for the first time in 5 years, I am going to take 2+ weeks off. It might put me behind in my training for Richmond, but I am waiting til July to see how off I am from where I’d like to be.
My body wants rest. It needs rest. So, I am taking a rest, period.