With my performance goal with this training series being to reduce the risk of injury, I'm doing a pretty good job of pressing that to the limit. I've noted so far that I tend to push myself too hard: first it was with running too fast in general during my first year of serious running; then it was running my speed-work drills too fast when I tried them out a week back. NOW even my strength training, being implemented because it is supposed to help me prevent injury by giving me better overall stability, seems to be tempting me to push too much.
In other words: I hurt!
A couple weeks ago in the middle of the night I woke up, drowsily turned to the side, and then was overwhelmed by a sharp, stabbing pain emanating from around my sternum. It filled the upper part of my left-side chest area and left a dull ache extending into my left arm. It was fairly frightening!
My husband was out of town, and I had half a mind to call him, but I realized there was not a whole lot he could do in Kansas if I were having (as I feared) a heart-attack in Pennsylvania. So, I did what any wise person would do...I looked on the internet.
To my surprise, I learned that even the most foreboding websites were pretty confident that my pain was not due to a heart attack or breast cancer. It was suggested that these pains were more likely caused by a strain in my muscles, specifically those in the torso and/or back. It just so happened that I had started doing abdominal exercises a few days ago AND was experiencing a lot of tension in my back thanks to a lot of stress that I tend to store in those parts. The internet suggested that a leading cause of the pain I was having was due to too strenuous exercise.
Bah! I was caught again in that habit of too much!
The pain was gone for the next week or so, but it started coming back again when I laughed hard one evening at home. After more hemming and hawing over it, I settled again on the fact that I had pushed my core muscles a bit too much and potentially pulled a muscle in my chest. Fortunately, I have learned well what the cure for these types of ailments is: REST.
So, as hard as it was, I abandoned my planned strength exercises over the next 4 days. I'm not sure that's been enough to really heal the issue, but when I did my ab exercises this morning I made a conscious effort to do them carefully and gently, and I followed them with some serious stretching.
We'll see how it goes! I may be making yet another adjustment to my training plan!!
Tomorrow it may actually be warm enough for me to get motivated to go outside for a morning run before work, which will be nice because I'll be doing some speed drills -- much more enjoyable on the ground compared with on a treadmill!