To Stay Healthy Avoid the ‘Terrible Toos’ and Other Tips


This morning I had my first run in the snow … and also the coldest morning so far this fall! The temperature was 17F and we had about 1/2″ of snow, just more than a dusting – and enough to cause multiple accidents in the region. The problem seemed to be that the snow was fluffy and would melt when driven over, but the temperatures were so low it would quickly ice over – and crews were late on starting road treatments.

Out on my run I definitely noticed the slick spots from tire treads and stayed away from them as much as possible, Because while I knew some were slick and others were fine, why would I intentionally do something that might end up with me being injured?

This reminds me of something I saw the other day somewhere on Tumblr that I can’t find anymore. Here is the basic idea:

Avoid the Terrible Toos: Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast.

This past few weeks I have seen someone on social media who has developed a love for distance running and seems to headed smack into the ‘terrible toos’, accelerating training too fast, too much distance and so on. I have seen a few people try to gently warn him, but sometimes I think there is only one way to learn these things.

I follow Sara at Loving on the Run, and she had the misfortune of getting laid off, and used the time and energy while job-hunting to accelerate her training … straight into a stress fracture. She has been blogging about the ups and downs of her recovery process – and how much she has learned.

I remember when I tried out the Merrell Vapor Gloves earlier this year, which were ultra-minimal. I tried to ease into them, knowing that going too fast was dangerous. But I still didn’t like how I was feeling in one of my ankles after about 50 miles of runs over a couple of weeks, so I stopped. There is no pair of shoes worth an injury.

The classic rules apply – and the best one is perhaps ‘everything in moderation’, along with what is called the 10% rule, where you build mileage no more than 10% a week. And along with the increase in mileage and pace is the opposite – take recovery very seriously.

Here are a few other thoughts to help you run safely and avoid injury:

Listen to Your Body
There is never a bad time to listen to your body in terms of hunger, thirst, pain and so on. There is normal aches and OMIGODIAMHURT pain. By slowly gaining speed and mileage you learn the difference. You also learn what is an ‘easy’ pace compared to ‘challenging’ and everything in between.

Get Proper Equipment
I am about ready for new running shoes … and new rechargable batteries for my headlamp. My headlamp was dying this morning after less than a week since last charge. The treads on my Saucony Kinvara 4’s feel like the bald tired on a ’72 Chevy Malibu!

Fuel and Hydrate
Remember that ‘food is fuel’ and you need fuel to get the most from your workouts. Even if you are losing weight – in fact ESPECIALLY then! They key? Your post-run snack should be less than 150 calories according to latest guidelines. As for hydration, while it is more obvious in the summer, hydration is a year round issue – don’t mistake hunger for thirst, and always stay hydrated.

Track Your Workouts in a Journal
I am terrible about this, but on the other hand I tend to have a memory for random minutia – so I can remember how I felt my first time doing the mega-hill run. But inside of myself I know that 2014 needs to be ‘the year of the journal’ as I plan to get more formal with training.

Running While Sick – Be Smart
The common wisdom is ‘above the neck go ahead and run, in the chest stay home’. That is very true – but I would augment that to say that when you REALLY feel like crap, perhaps that workout can wait for tomorrow.

Running in the winter poses special challenges as it seems like most everyone needs to learn to drive all over again. Make sure you are properly prepared by being visible and having the equipment you need to stay safe. And be smart and conservative in your workouts to aim for a successful 2014!

4 thoughts on “To Stay Healthy Avoid the ‘Terrible Toos’ and Other Tips

  1. The Rule of Too’s, I read in McMillan’s You (Only Faster), but I can’t find who to attribute it to initially. I found a lot of great information on training in that and many of the other books and places I have been doing marathon training research lately.

    I am probably the “him” and even though it might not seem it I have been listening and am working at slowing down and holding steady mileage for a while – in other words actually training to establish a decent mileage base and not just jumping into marathon training until next year. I even have a plan/idea/guideline on how I will get from Point A to the finish line, while listening to my body :-).

    The right running shoes are indispensable, but it is hard to find the “right” ones for you. It is a lot of trial and error before you finally, usually by accident find the one(s) that works best for you.

    Your post has many words of wisdom and things that runners need to stop really think about, especially the journaling, you need to know what worked and often what didn’t and being visible when outside running in winter or really any time.

  2. Haha … No you are definitely NOT the him, Harold … If I was using you as an example I would have a very different story – because while stubborn and steadfast, you have worked across decades on running. My example was someone who only a few weeks ago had never run 10 miles, and the next weekend ran a half, then the following week was running several times in a day.

  3. Shoes are definitely important but you failed to mention for your lady readers the benefits of a good running bra! Don’t cheap out on it, your “girls” with thank you.

    I was hit by the “Too’s” when I first started running but it was quite by accident. I was following a training plan that was set out in kilometers and didn’t realize our treadmill was set to miles so I was running 1.6 times farther than I should have!

  4. Good point Anita … though not something I naturally think of so I appreciate your reminder! Though I DO remember on longer run to apply a couple of band-aids 🙂

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