Heading Into Week 3: Ankle Pain and Overtraining

Just after last week’s uplifting post about my naive love for training for the half marathon, Karma said, “Boom, welcome to ankle pain! You thought you could somehow avoid the actual hard part of training, didn’t you? [Evil Cackle].” Or at least that’s how it felt as I limped through a series of runs this past week.

Despite ankle pain, I still had fun running thanks to a new lil' water bottle that keeps me hydrated (and vibrantly pink) while running.

Despite ankle pain, I still had fun thanks to a new lil’ water bottle that keeps me hydrated (and vibrantly pink) while running.

Check out how I faired with last week’s schedule, my plan for week 3, and my overdramatic dealings with ankle pain below.

Last Week In Review:

Monday: Run 3 miles, 5:15 Boot Camp
Tuesday: Run 3 miles
Wednesday: No running, 5:15 Boot Camp
Thursday: Run 4 miles
Friday: Day Of Rest!
Saturday: Run 3 miles
Sunday: Run 4 miles

Monday: Ran 3 miles
Tuesday: Day off due to ankle pain
Wednesday: No running, 5:15 Boot Camp
Thursday: Ran 2.5 miles
Friday: No running, 5:15 Boot Camp
Saturday: Ran 3 miles
Sunday: Ran 6 miles with my Dad (SIX MILES! 2 miles more than I planned! 2 miles more than I have ever run in my life. At the end, I thought to myself, “You are a running warrior woman! You win at running.” So … I may have been a bit excited.)

Due to ankle pain, which I will go into more detail about later, I forced myself to rest. Even though I wanted to run. Really, really bad since it was surprisingly warm out. Instead I rested and found myself running even more than I anticipated on Sunday thanks to running with my dad (who will run the half marathon with me).

My father is quite strong. Genetically that has to be good right?

My father is quite strong. Genetically that has to be good right?

My dad actually advised me to re-evaluate my 12-week-plan to run more infrequently during the week (more like 3 or 4 times) in order to prioritize and rest for the long run on the weekends. My brain said, “Abandon my 12-week-plan?! But it came from a website!! It’s on my blog for the world to see, and the readers will judge me and find me weak!!” But I have to admit that I felt so much better this week after running only four days instead of five. The schedule felt much more manageable, and I just felt stronger. How often do you guys run per week in preparation for the half?

My plan for next week:

Monday: No running, 5:15 Boot Camp
Tuesday: Run 3 miles
Wednesday: No running, 5:15 Boot Camp
Thursday: Run 3 miles
Friday: Day Of Rest!
Saturday: Run 3 miles
Sunday: Run 7 miles

I am taking my dad’s advice this week, and I will be taking myself down to four days of running. I’ve also made sure to include more days of rest to prevent future injuries.

Topic of the Week: Ankle Pain, Shoes, and Over-Training

The ironic part of me discussing this topic is everyone I have ever talked to about training for the half marathon has warned me of overtraining. They’ve advised that especially at the beginning, it’s easy to get excited and push yourself too far. I am ashamed to admit that while they said this, I thought to myself, “That will never happen to me. I am responsible. I know my limits. I will never experience such things. Tish, tosh.” (Because apparently my brain uses expressions like ’tish, tosh’?)

This is how I thought of myself: Girl non-plussed by over-training.

This is how I thought of myself: Girl non-plussed by overtraining. (You’ll note this matches my father’s picture above. We ran the Ruckus together. I have far less arm muscle.)

And then, without even thinking about it, I ran five days in a row … on pavement. (Remember that I am not a runner, so I am going from running 0 days a week to running 5 days a week on the hardest possible surface). I didn’t listen to my body. I was just blindly looking at my milage, and internally chastising myself for not meeting my goals. So please heed this warning other beginning runners: It can happen to you.

The pain started last Saturday Feb 15th (my fourth day of running in a row). I noticed that my inner ankle (the tendon right behind my sticky-out-y ankle bone) started hurting at about mile 1.5. I pushed through it, but it worsened in both ankles. I chalked it up to old shoes. On Sunday Feb 16th, I got new shoes and ran another 3 miles on pavement. Worse pain at about mile one. Every time I landed, my ankles twinged. They screamed, “Hey this is not cool.” And they continued to hurt even after my run, and into the next day. Not a good sign.

My new shoes! Aren't they beautiful. They are the Brooks Ravenna 5 that I got at Fleet Feet.

My new shoes! Aren’t they beautiful and bright! They are the Brooks Ravenna 5 that I purchased at Fleet Feet.

I’ve learned that there is a difference between good pain and bad pain when training, and an indicator of bad pain is how long it lasts. And it was lasting. And I started to have this panic: “I am not going to be able to run the half marathon. I am failing already and it’s only week two! AND I HAVE A BLOG.”

After that little over-dramatic attack, I went for a long run with my dad, and I removed my black Superfeet insoles, which I purchased a few weeks ago to help with my with my knock-kneed, pronated tendencies (the people at Fleet Feet know everything, I swear). Miles one through three still hurt, but after that, my ankle pain abated. I think the inserts were too harsh when over-correcting my ankle, and I also think my ankles are just plain weak. It takes training to build that sort of strength.

So I’m still experiencing pain, but I’m listening to my body. I’m resting more. I’m panicking less. And I’m no longer under the misguided belief that I am above overtraining. Have any of you experienced inner-ankle pain like this? Or accidentally over-trained?

Until next week,
Your Limping Running Buddy


14 thoughts on “Heading Into Week 3: Ankle Pain and Overtraining

  1. Yep. Scale it back. I’m running the full and only running 3-4 days per week. No need for more than that while training. Listen to your body, remain hydrated and well-fueled, and trust in the training plan!

    • Hey Bill,
      Thanks so much for your advice, and I appreciate that you are checking out the blog. The boot camp is an important part of my plan since it helps me cross-train, resistance train, and improve my cardiovascular performance. Every training plan is different and I appreciate your plan, which I will definitely look over for guidance!

  2. I am training for the half as well. This will be my third half marathon and each time I run 3-4 days (every other week is an added easy 20 min rest run). Also, maybe try scaling back on how far you run on the days you are not doing a long run. I agree with you to keep the boot camp class. It is important to cross-train and strength train as well, as long as you don’t overdo it. This time I created my own training plan for the run. Check it out on my blog below! Also, consider adding yoga one day a week. We lose a lot of flexibility when we run, so yoga is a good way to maintain it! Good luck with training and see you there!

  3. hey there, I would definitely scale back, ESPECIALLY since you’ve incorporated a boot camp, (which I do think is a good idea). But your body needs rest. If you do insist on getting out there so many days I would replace one of those shorter runs with some sprint/hill training as well. Cheers

  4. Relax. This is my third half marathon and I definitely don’t consider myself a runner. I never ran more than ten miles in training either. I run 3 days a week now. If I could go back and tell myself one thing before I ran the first one I would remind myself to relax and enjoy the process.
    There are drink stations every few miles so you can think of it as running four 5k races.
    Making it 3 miles at a time feels easier than 13 right?

  5. I say you need to swim and not do the boot camps. Find a local free swim pool. Last year I was training for the full and pulled my hamstring. Went to the doctors (one who runs and totally understood my goals) and she told me to find a pool. Really, the days I was supposed to run a 14 miler and a 16 miler, I did it in a pool. I used a kick board and just kicked constantly for 2 to 3 hours. You are training for the half so 1 to 1 1/2 hours will do for you. It is much less stress on that ankle. Good luck!

  6. If you are hurting I would scale back. It’s early enough in training that taking some days/miles off won’t affect you in the long run. I know that’s easier said than done. If you keep pushing you might further injur yourself. Listen to your body. Also I use superfeet and they took a while to get use to. I’ve been writing about training too if you want to check it out!

  7. I agree with all others, definitely scale back on your running. I enjoy strength training and think it makes you a better runner so definitely don’t skimp on cross training activities but 5 days a week for a half marathon is probably too much. Of course, listen to your body as everyone is different!!

  8. I think the boot camp is a good idea. I was injured while prepping for my first half because I had weak hips/glutes and all the squatting from boot camp helped resolve those issues quickly. I also completed a lot of halves, 3 full marathons, and even a 50K on running 3 days per week and cross training 3 additional days (boot camp, crossfit, yoga, elliptical). In fact, I’m on crutches with a stress fracture right now after bumping up my # of days running too quickly this winter. It pays to have enough rest and you can definitely finish a strong on fewer running days.

  9. Hi, also training for the Pgh Half here! This will be my second Half ever, ran the Montour Half last Sept. I started with running 4x a week with one cross training day. I changed that to 3 runs a week with 2 CT days a couple of weeks ago. My biggest take away from my last Half was that I needed to incorporate CT to my training plan so I would definitely stick to the boot camp classes, at least once a week. I was also fitted with the Brooks Ravenna two years ago when I first started running at Fleet Feet. I tried the Ravenna 5s last month and they didn’t work out for me so I’ve gone back to the 4s. Looking forward to reading your training journey!

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