Sunday, September 14, 2014

Playing it safe

One thing I've learned about being sidelined with injuries for too long is that listening to my body is more important than sticking to a training plan.  Last weekend I planned on doing an 18 miler but my body was tired and I decided sleep and active rest was more important.  The past few weeks I've been playing in the pool and learning how to swim (with my face in water).  Time goes by quickly in the pool, especially since it's been scorching hot, and many days I've been running and swimming; it clicked that the pool was a better workout than I realized and my body needed some rest.  I ended last week with 30 miles and planned on jumping back into upping my long run mileage this week.  But that did not go as planned and I ended up playing it safe.

After my mid week 9 miler, my ITB flared up and served as a reminder of the importance of getting cozy with my foam roller daily and not skipping my physical therapy strength exercises.  I still planned on doing the 18 miler this weekend but the heat and realization that I had to see how my ITB held up before barreling ahead with my training plan squashed that.  Instead, today I slept in a little bit until 6:30am and then left with a goal of 10 miles; my ITB felt okay so I tacked on additional miles and ended the run at 14 miles.  While it was not according to plan, it was playing it safe and listening to my body.  Maybe I am learning something from all my injuries....

This upcoming week calls for more time in the pool, partly to survive the 100 degree temps expected and partly to continue working on improving my swim stroke, and listening to my body during each run.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Base building time

One mistake I've made numerous times since I started running is upping mileage and/or making too many changes in terrain/mileage too fast.  This year, I've been careful to build a base before increasing mileage and I am trying to slowly increase my total weekly mileage.  For a few months, I allowed my work days to be so long and draining that I ran few miles during the week and the crammed in the majority of my miles on the weekend; thought that was not optimal, it that allowed me to get used to running longer distances on legs tired from running the day before.

I use dailymile for tracking my runs and looking at my weekly totals has been useful in making sure I am not doing too much, too soon.  March, April, and May, I focused on building a mileage base and increasing that to 20 miles per week; at the same time, I made my physical therapy exercises a key component of each day and gradually grew accustomed to running in different shoes.  Before my last PT bout, I had been told I needed orthotics and shoes with some pronation control; in talking with more running-focused clinicians, I learned that those two items actually make my running gait worse and that I should be in neutral shoes with a minimal heel-toe drop.

Now that I have established a solid running base, I am trying to keep my weekly mileage increase close to 10% per week and am including cut back weeks. Two weeks ago, I hit 35 miles per week and did a cut back week last week.  This week, I am targeting 39-40 miles and will use this week as a major test for whether a winter road marathon is feasible.  I am also incorporating a little swimming into each week knowing that cross-training is important and I should take advantage of the warm temps and apartment pool.

Twelve months ago I could not walk without my hip buckling and each mile is now more cherished than before.  I was thrilled to spend this Labor Day running!