This is my last big push. After this week I taper. My wife and I have modified our original plan to run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, to running Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

We did this because we had plans for a good part of Sunday that would require us to 1, be awake, and 2, have functioning bodies.

Having said that, our individual day volume is increased over the original plan and I found myself running 6 miles tonight. I have been struggling with IT band pain most of my training. As my volume went up the IT bands punished me. I have been wearing knee braces and they have helped tremendously. There is one issue though. As I start to get into a groove, my calf muscles swell (probably from being engorged with blood) and tighten the knee braces around my leg. Within a few minutes my calves and my shins are cramped up.

This happened tonight. After about 10 minutes of straight running I felt like my shins were going to explode. I pushed through it but when I got to my house after a first 3 mile loop, I decided to take the knee braces off before continuing the last 3 miles.

It was risky, what if my IT band flared up again? I figured I had time to recover before the race so I just went for it. As I started to run I felt lighter than air. It’s amazing how constricting knee braces can be. I mean, I guess that’s the point, but running without them felt almost like cheating.

There was good and bad news however. The bad news is that my calves and shins were too far gone to fully recover. Although I didn’t feel as much pain without the braces, the damage had been done, and I couldn’t keep up the 9min/mile pace I had the first 3 miles. The good news is that I had no IT band issues at all! I finished the run with a 9:43 pace. A new record for me.

I’m not sure where this leaves me. Do I run the half with or without the braces? Should I do this weekend’s 12 miles without the braces? Maybe I can bring them with me in case I need them? Ugh, decisions, decisions.