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When You Can’t Run As Much As You Want

Nicki Miller after a triathlon in North Carolina.
Editor Nicki Miller completed a triathlon in North Carolina.

I’ve gone through a period of reduced mileage lately for a variety of reasons—Achilles pain, calf cramps, knee arthritis. At first I didn’t mind the break, since I’d been doing a lot of races, but lately I’ve been more annoyed. Especially since I went to a running camp in Wyoming a couple of weeks ago (which I’d highly recommend—there’s a camp for newbie ultrarunners in September that still has space!); instead of continuing to build on my miles once I got home, I’ve had to dial it back again.

At first I was happy to delve into other sports I enjoy. I’ve been road biking for almost 20 years, and I started mountain biking about a year ago. I thought a wee hiatus would find me back in action, logging long miles at high speeds on my own two feet, but sometimes your body has other plans for you.

I happened into a well-timed meeting with a swim coach with the company Finis, which makes a variety of products to help with swim training. Inspired by all of the Olympic athletes I’ll be watching a year from now and thinking about them using the same tools, I decided to hit the pool. I’ve been swimming since I was a child, but it’s always been my weakest leg in triathons.

Did someone mention triathons? Well, indeed, that’s how I’ve decided to cope. I realized four weeks out that TriRock San Diego is Sept. 20—perfect timing to focus on the sprint distance.

Related: 6 Great Triathlons For Beginners

To train, I’m doing three workouts each week for each discipline. Since the run is 3 miles, I can simply go for short training runs. I’ve been following hour-plus bike rides with 1 slow mile of running without pain, so it feels like progress. We’ll see if triathlon is the road to healing for the body. Right now it’s definitely helping my mind!

Nicki Miller

Nicki Miller

Nicki Miller is the managing editor for Women's Running and spearheads our nutrition coverage. She’s an avid runner but also loves cycling (both on and off-road), yoga and all kinds of crazy videos to do at home. Formerly the editor of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, Nicki started her journalism career at The Washington Post. Her first races were duathlons (run, bike, run) in her twenties with her husband, and then triathlons, completing the White Lake Half Ironman in North Carolina. Since joining Women’s Running in 2013, she’s been more focused on half marathons and trail running. Some of her proudest moments have been running the Boston Marathon (first 26.2), and becoming an RRCA certified running coach and helping others take up the sport.