I typically do a "long" run on Saturday morning as part of my training. As my training progresses, the runs become longer each week, culminating in a 25 mile run before tapering back down to run the marathon. When I was training in my 30's, I trained strictly by the book, following my training plan exactly with no variations, no allowance for injury. This did not make for a happy runner. I had not yet learned to listen to my body and heed its warnings, and as a result, suffered some injuries that were completely unnecessary.
The beauty of being an older runner is that I have finally learned to listen to those aches and pains that tell me something is off. Yesterday's "long" run is a perfect example. Friday was a rest day for me, but I wore some heels that I don't normally wear & my feet and legs really didn't care for them. They looked amazing, but they felt achy by about hour 5 of the heels. So, Saturday, my feet and legs were groaning and complaining as we began a planned 65 minute run. So, I listened to what they were telling me and the run became a run/walk, emphasis on walk. I didn't go as far as I wanted (5 miles as compared to the 6 I wanted), but my legs thanked me, and in the long run, they'll be better off, giving back exponentially to what they've received.
Taking care of your body, stretching, listening to aches and pains, and realizing training plans aren't written in stone are all part of the training process. Especially for an older runner. I've added yoga to my weekly workouts, and my body is truly thanking me, particularly my hips.
I am still building mileage in order to begin actual marathon training at the end of April. This week's total mileage was 21 miles, some of which were walking miles. I'm not pounding all these miles on, choosing instead to ease my legs into some of them. I'm thankful that age is bringing wisdom along with all these wrinkles.
"I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." Philippians 3: 13-14