This week was 13.5 miles of “real running”, “37 miles” pool running, and “22.5 miles” on the arc-trainer plus 3000m of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.
Heretofore to be known as the week of the silly injury-like thing. Essentially I tied my left shoe too tight during my long run last Sunday. No big deal, the foot was just red right at the base of the ankle where I tie the laces when I finished, with some soreness right above and muscle knots in the shin (anterior tibialis muscle).
By Tuesday morning I had to flex my foot upwards against resistance to feel it. I opted to skip the Tuesday hill workout to be supercareful (hills just seemed like a really dumb idea for a shin issue). Ran easy with no issue, then hit the pool for a hard intervals workout. Cool. Good to go. Yay for being safe.
Then I got out, and read an email from my coach informing me that if my shin was hurting at all I needed to “not run another step” for several days… At first, I was not happy about this at all (AT ALL), but it doesn’t make sense to have a coach if you don’t do what he says. Especially because the things that make the least sense and annoy you the most are the things that you most need to hear. So (with some helpful additional convincing from good friends), I sucked it up. I know I won’t lose fitness with a few days of cross-training; it’s just not as much fun. But the difference between being a committed athlete and a fun runner lies in one’s willingness to forego fun for the sake of performance.
Instead of just pool-running, I did a combination of pool-running and the arc-trainer. I honestly feel that the arc-trainer is the closest substitute for running; better than even pool-running. It’s like an elliptical, but with a larger range of motion that’s much closer to actual running. Set the incline to a low # and skip the hand-levers (instead using your upper body and arms like you were running), and it’s pretty much the exact same motion, except that there’s no impact. It is weightbearing, which is why it wasn’t a good option during my broken foot saga, but for here it was fine. And you can get your heartrate up to tempo level and sustain, which was something I was never able to do in the pool.
I also got the shin dry-needled on Friday (basically like massage to the power of 20 – they stick needles in the muscle knots and pulse electrical current through it). I’ve found it tremendously helpful, but it does leave one very sore in the short run.
The plan for next week is to carefully add running back in, with the mindset of better to run too few miles than too many.
Monday: In the morning, strength training (focused mostly on core) and injury prevention exercises, followed by 70 minutes of easy pool-running for “7 miles.” Foam rolling at night.
Tuesday: In the morning, 9 miles easy (8:04 pace), plus drills and strides, followed by a pool-running workout (10x3:00 hard, 1:00 easy) and injury prevention exercises. Floor Barre class at night.
Wednesday: In the morning, 60 minutes of pool-running for “6 miles”, followed by 2000m swimming. Foam rolling and then yoga in the evening.
Thursday: In the morning, upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises, followed by 60 minutes of easy pool-running for “6 miles.” Foam-rolling at night.
Friday: In the morning, I replaced our “3, 2, 1” tempo workout (4800m, then 3200m, then 1600m) with an arc-trainer tempo of 20:00, 15:00, 10:00, with 3:00 easy recovery for each. Worked very well – the arc-trainer’s even closer to real running than pool-running is, including the same glute engagement. Focused on effort, and sustained just below the same heart rates I would have for a tempo. So yay.
Afterwards, I got the muscle knots released from my shin via dry needling, then did 30 minutes of pool-running for “3 miles” and 1000m of swimming breathing drills. Pilates at night.
Saturday: Weights, then the equivalent of 5.5 easy miles on the arc-trainer, followed by 50 minutes of pool-running for “5 miles.”
Sunday: A “mixed run” – first 4.5 very careful miles at 8:28 pace to test the shin (sore from the dryneedling, but otherwise nothing of note), followed by another arc-trainer tempo of 20:00, 15:00, 10:00, with 2:30 easy recovery for each (kept the effort slightly easier, as this was supposed to be the second half of a progression run, not a tempo in and of itself). Followed with injury prevention work and then (after cheering at a race) 40 minutes easy pool-running for “4 miles”. Plan to foam roll tonight.
(and yes, I did start running at 7 am on New Years Day, so I could finish my test miles, hit the gym when it opened at 8 am for the arc-trainer, and be done with both in time to see some friends race at 10:00 am. Not sure if this makes me cool or pathetic. Probably both.)