Running affects the body in a lot of ways. Lower resting heart rate, weird chafing, pizza cravings…many of the changes are positive, but sometimes runners overdo it. A few weeks ago I decided to push my weekly mileage up to 40 miles because…well, because 40 miles a week is a lot, and pretty standard in marathon training. I felt good all week, but by Saturday of the 40-mile week I had bruises on my calves and shins.
Not a good sign.
After a week of rest and a quick trip to the doctors’ office (all good) I reflected on what went wrong. Last year during marathon training I didn’t have this problem. Why? Because I was running almost all trails. The bruises came from the road impact, which is not a problem on the trail.
Of course, trails have their own risks: snakes, mud, low branches, snakes, roots, snakes…but there isn’t the constant pavement pounding. Trail running requires focus and attention to the trail. Its more time-consuming than road running because it’s slower (see above bit about snakes, etc).
I ran 8 miles on Saturday and 15 on Sunday. After a nap and a snack I felt fine.