Setback: Time to Quit, or Keep Going?

Hip pain 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

~ Mark Twain

This week, I’m writing “live,” as I’ve posted all the blog posts I was writing and saving, while I was designing Running Free Blog.

I’ve had a setback, the past few weeks in that I developed hip pain again.  The furthest run I’ve done was 7 plus miles.  After that, my hip started hurting again and would hurt no matter what distance I was running.

I immediately cut down to 2 miles.  But my hip was still sore.  It was discouraging. It feels like I’m just so close at times, and about to just break it out wide open, and then pain is just there again one day, forcing me to back down, once again.

However, I’m not one to have a pity party for too long.  I had been able to run with no pain whatsoever in my hip. I know I had the answer in all this- somewhere.  I wasn’t sure why the pain was starting again, but I was going to find out.

So to find my answer, I tuned in to my running method. I went on a few short runs, and was trying to pay attention to what I was actually doing, while running, and if I could feel hip pain while running, or if it was only after I was done running.

It took me a few weeks and many short runs, to discover what I was doing.  I was starting to notice something and piece a few things together.  The first being, when I was running on pavement, I perceived the shock and force to be greater, so I would definitely always run striking on my forefoot, and even more than I have. I didn’t feel hip pain, but would feel it in my calves- as it should be- the calves absorbing the impact- not my hip or any other body part.

I realized though, when I was running on grass or on a trail, where I perceived the landing force not so great, I wasn’t landing on my forefoot- and in fact, I had gone back to a mid foot and even heal strike.

It clicked that I was doing this because it was easing the pain on my calves. My calves were hurting running the longer distances totally on a forefoot strike, so my body and brain, was doing what it needed to do, to ease the pressure off my calves, and that was putting it back to my feet, which in turn was making my hip hurt.

I concluded even though I was increasing my distances, it wasn’t all with the minimalist method.  So the only thing I could do was start again- from the distance my calves weren’t hurting and start running EVERY step landing on my forefoot and start building up the mileage.

That was 2 miles.  I ran a few times 2 miles.  Then 2.25, then 2.50.  The first time I ran a 5K, 3.2 miles- my calves were burning at the end of it, but I had no hip pain, and I knew I was on the right track.

A few days ago, I ran 4.25 miles, every single step, landing on my forefoot and had zero calf or hip pain.  I’m amazed how fast the calf muscles do get stronger.  But my body had been “cheating” and not allowing them to properly accumulate to running this way.  But the gig is up- I’m consciously aware of this now, and I hope to be continually building my mileage back up, with it all being forefoot landing.

This has been very frustrating for me.  I think about it sometimes- quitting.  I certainly have had many successes running, and achieved more than I ever thought I would.  If I stopped running now, I certainly would have nothing to feel bad about.  But I would have regrets.  And I would always wonder….“what if?”

So I don’t let setbacks be a reason to quit or give up. It makes me realize how much I really do love running, because if I didn’t love it- really love it– I wouldn’t be trying to figure these things out.  I would have just stopped running.  I’m not giving up on my dream of running a marathon, and more importantly, I don’t want to.

I don’t think you have to work so hard at something to the point it exhausts you, or you don’t even like it anymore to have success.  But I do believe you will never get to where you want to go if you stop.  Even for me, just running 2 miles at a time, while I was figuring out- that is the difference.  I never stopped.

I think that is a point for anyone, no matter what you are trying to achieve.  You can’t just stop.  Even one step forward, and two back- eventually that one step forward will get you there, if you don’t stop. This applies to running or anything you are trying to accomplish.

If you want to run, but don’t feel you can, run half a block, or 1 minute on a tread mill. If you want a new job, send in one resume a day to your “dream jobs” even if you don’t think you are qualified.  If you want to eat healthier, start with one thing in your diet that helps you with that.  When you have done that, start doing a little more than you did, and keep adding to that- even if you have setbacks.

The quote at the top of the post today from Mark Twain, I’ve drawn on it a lot with running, because it’s true.  You can get out and do what you dream of doing, and one day achieve it or come close- or you can talk yourself out of it before you even begin.  I never wanted to be thinking back one day, wishing I had just gone for it, but didn’t.  What is the worst that can happen? You try and don’t make it, or that you never tried at all? If you decide it would be that you never tried at all, than you have the power today, to get started!

What are you waiting for? Find your “2 mile” beginning point, and get going! You’ll never regret you did. 🙂

I’d love to hear if you want to share, what goal you are trying to achieve. Leave a comment and let me know!

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