In praise of the training diary

I reported a few weeks back that I’d been diagnosed as having either a cyst or “thickening of the sheath” of a major ligament on the top of my left foot. I got a cortisone shot and the problem went away. Until the other day, when it cropped up again after a fast 16 miler.

Enter the training diary. I looked back over my notes concerning when the problem first appeared (10 miles into another fast mid-length run), and when it had flared up over subsequent runs. The common factor turned out to be a certain model of shoe: the Asics Speedstar. I have two pairs of these that I don’t wear all that often, as they are just “okay” shoes. I have other lightweight models that I prefer (the current favorite being the Pearl Izumi Streak) for faster running, so the Speedstar tends to be the neglected stepsister who only grudgingly gets taken out every few weeks.

I hadn’t worn them since the cortisone shot until the other day, after which — wouldn’t you know it — my top of foot pain was back. So I’m going to stop wearing them until after the marathon, and even then I may retire them if they aren’t suitable for shorter recovery runs either (I hate to throw away perfectly good shoes before their time).

I track everything: resting HR, running HR, distance, speed, weather, calories, weight, sleep hours (and quality of sleep), mood, shoes worn (and mileage on each pair), pains/niggles, and the quality of every run. Some may say this is overkill but it truly pays off at times like this.

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