Monday, May 11, 2009

On my way back to racing...

I'd like some advice...

In February this year I was 100% out of shape. Had to DNF club challenge after 1-mile from shin splints. Progressively through the month I was able to string together longer runs, and by early March had my legs somewhat back. Then April hit and I finally felt back in shape, and was a bit too eager to get my mileage back to quickly. I didn't break until I raced a 7.1 mile leg at the Pittsburgh marathon, 1-mile into the race. So, I took off a whole week, rested my hurt calf/ham, and now I feel close to 100% again.

So, I want to come back smart. My next goal race is June 20, a 3.55mile road race. I have 5 weeks to prepare as best I can. I understand I need to come back smart this week and not push it too quickly.

To sum up my weekly mileage since February here goes...
Feb, 0, 14, 15, 4
Mar, 22, 18, 29, 31
Apr, 48, 46, 52, 48,
May, 41, 0

So, I know I upped my mileage too fast. What should I do in next 5 weeks to not over-do it, but still maintain my fitness after a week off? What type of weekly mileage would you suggest? Workout types? Rest days/week? I'm open to suggestions on the blog or in-person.


Ben said...

what about the intensity? what percentage of your runs were easy? I would postpone your first race for another month. Run only easy for four weeks (increasing mileage each week from 30-45) - then add intensity, but keep around the same amount of mileage (don't run over 55 miles).

But, those 4 weeks of easy running should be basically pain free - so, if you start hurting again you have to start over.

gladfelter said...

Until late March all of my runs were slow, get the heck back into shape runs. Longest run was 6miles and best pace was roughly 7:15. March 25th was the first time I was able to stay with the Wednesday night group, but I documented that my left ham/calf was a bit sore. Ironically that was the same thing that took me out a week ago.

So, I increased my intensity to longer tempo runs along with track workouts likely a bit too quick. I did add in morning runs, adding about 10 slow miles per week, assisting my recovery while adding a few extra. My daily mileage (am + pm) didn't exceed 10-miles until April 1. Monday runs were generally tempo pace, and track tuesday's. I had two 10+ runs in April, one was 13, and one 15. Both felt good with no pain.

I'm going to stick with your advice Ben. Easy and only small doses of increased mileage. Should I even be on the track?

Ben said...

i would say don't go on the track or do any tempo stuff until you have 3-4 weeks of easy training with no pain.

RM said...

It was your ambition that got the best of you, not the mileage. You threw in a few doubles when you didn't need to run twice a day. Even if the mileage wasn't super high, it wasn't enough time in between efforts. No need at this point to do a medium-paced run on Monday (that's what that run was for you effort-wise), then a track workout Tuesday, then run Wednesday morning and again Wednesday night.

Hard running is hard running; doesn't matter where you do it. And we mistake the term "speed" all the time. If your goal is to run, say, 5:40 pace for Z's race, you can do all the "workouts" you need off the track. Maybe some striders or quarters or something come June, but no need to do the workout each week at this point.

Let's face it, regardless of how you're feeling, you're going to run Z's race. That's not a question. But if you want to go into the race with a goal in mind, that's different. I'm sure everyone can chime in tonight at Runners, if you're planning on being there.

PB said...

Wait, what does ham/calf mean? Are both muscles causing you pain? And it sounds like it's been going on for some months, is that right?

As a person quite familiar with injuries of the hamstring AND calf variety (among other assorted breaks, tears, tweaks, sprains, misalignments, and other unexplained pains), I would caution that simply resting will probably not fix the problem. Depending on the type of muscle injury (which sounds like what you have), you may have built up a serious knot and possibly some scar tissue that won't go away just because you're not using the muscle. If this is the case, then you'll likely start feeling pain again as soon as you up the intensity of your running, whether it be next week or next month. That has been my experience with injuries of that nature.

I'm not a PT, and I can't tell from your description how serious the injury is in any case, but you should really take your time planning your recovery -- that is the type of injury that you can limp along with for months without ever really getting injured to the point you can't run, but at the same time without being able to really race.

That's my two cents from the sidelines,


gladfelter said...

I'm coming to runners tonight, but will be running an easy pace.

PB, actually, about 2 years ago I had a rather serious strain in both my left ham/calf, right behind the knee to half way up my ham. The cause was a dumb non-running related injury. But nonetheless I have trained around the pain on/off for 2 years. And as far as limping along, after I re-tweaked it during the race, that's basically how I finished the remaining 6miles. I would have bailed if I wasn't on a relay leg 1.

Overall the original injury is mostly healed; probably will never be perfect again. I have stretched and used massage treatment extensively. Each time I think I'm back I tend to overdo it and set myself back.

At this point, I took a week off. If I can't run tonight due to the recent tweak, I'll take more time off. If it feels good tonight, I'll get a few miles in, and see how it feels tomorrow. I guess I have to take it day by day for the next few weeks, take days off as needed, and not push it.

I'll still be coming to the track workouts, but mainly for the warm-up/warm-down and to help with timing.

Thanks for all the input.

Collin said...

If 20 miles hurts, do 30. Or something like that. I know I'm helpful, you're welcome.