15,000 Steps

My watch has a pedometer on it. I like it. It’s not the reason I bought my watch but it was kind of a bonus.

Do I really need a pedometer? No. Running keeps me from being too lazy but it’s kinda fun seeing how many steps I take.

Like other fitness watches mine gives me a step goal to meet. But the goal isn’t static. It changes every day based on how many steps I took the day before. It goes up if I meet/surpass my goal, and down if I don’t.

When I first got my watch I turned the steps goal into a game. How high can I get it? Run, it goes up. Take a day off, it goes down.

Over time I noticed a pattern emerge. When I’m not training for a race the goal is usually around 13,000 steps. When training for a race, the goal creeps up and when it goes over 15,000 I’m almost always forced to take a day off. Either I get sick or I notice an emerging injury.

It happens every time.

It seems 15,000 steps is magic level of stress my body can handle effectively. And it can’t handle much more for long.

Case in point, a couple of weeks ago I came down with a MASSIVE cold.

At first it wasn’t bad. A slight cold usually doesn’t slow me down much and I did some easy runs without an issue. After a few days of coughing and sniffling, I started to get better. My symptoms were going away so I did a tempo run, as it was on my plan. The tempo run went fine. Great actually. No problem.

I woke up the next morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.

I relapsed and spent 3 days laying in bed. After the relapse I just happened to glance down at the steps goal on my watch. 15,981. Oh. And that was after laying in bed for two days.

My body makes me take a break. It doesn’t ask politely, “Joni, will you please take a day off?  You’re pushing me a little too hard.”

Today my steps goal is 15,059. It’s been over 15,000 for two days now. My rest day isn’t until Friday.


Yesterday I had some mild tightness in my shins and some pain below and to the outside of my left knee leftover from a very hard weekend. Heating pad. Stretch. Foam Roll. Massage the shins. Repeat. All day yesterday. They felt okay yesterday afternoon so I went on my normal Monday run.

During my run they didn’t hurt at all, not even a little, but afterward everything was worse. Today they feel better but not great.

My last and longest tempo run of the training cycle is scheduled for this afternoon, 10 miles at half marathon pace. If things in my body feel okay later this afternoon, I will go out and get it done. But most likely I’ll be skipping the tempo and doing something else. Maybe I’ll go for a walk…

It happens every time.

That silly steps goal is a reminder that as much as I’d like to think so, I’m not invincible. I’m a ordinary person, albeit a somewhat crazy one, with ordinary limits trying to push myself to do extraordinary things. Apparently my limit is 15,000 steps. What’s yours?

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