Adapting your training

It’s been a rough few weeks over here. I had a killer ear infection a few weeks ago and then I got slammed with a cold. My running schedule has been all over the place. I’ve logged in a few miles here and there, but I haven’t been consistent.

(By the way, have you ever run with an ear infection? Not only can you not wear earbuds because your ear canal is swollen, but the pain is like knives in your ears. It was an awful week. Still trying to figure out how I managed to get it.)

This week though, when I’ve finally started to feel more like myself, I tried to head out for an easy 2-miler to test where my fitness was after the few weeks of sickness.

I could only manage 1.5 miles.

My shoulders felt tight. My legs felt stiff. My lungs felt strained.

I walked inside and shook my head because I knew I hadn’t hit my goal. I should have been able to easily run those 2 miles, but my body was screaming at me to take it easier.

If I’ve learned anything about running with migraines, it’s a need for adaptability.

Also recently, I’ve been tapering off one of my daily migraine medications. It’s been a long journey filled with side effects and withdrawals and running through that has been challenging.

While my body is adjusting to life without the meds, I’ve had to change my running routine. If I have a headache (not a migraine, just a run-of-the-mill headache) because of the reduction, I take the day off. If I’m extra sleepy because of my body trying to adjust, I run a little slower and fuel a little more.

I’ve adapted.

A couple of people have asked me what the best training programs are to get started in running, but that’s not the big decision you have to make. Most training programs out there are great, but you have to be willing to adapt your training.

Whatever running program you choose, don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t hit your mileage or you had to walk more than you ran.

A nurse once told me that a migraine brain is more sensitive than that of people who don’t have migraines. That means we have to be more willing to listen to it.

Maybe you have your heart set on running a 5K in the next few months. Don’t be discouraged if you have a day where you can’t get in your miles, and don’t push your body to a migraine threshold just to log your miles. It’s not worth it.

We can plan our miles out, but the best thing we can do is be willing to adapt our training and know that one mile is better than none, one step is better than not.