Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Training log - Week ending 4/27/14

This week was 44 miles of running and 11,000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.  

Well…and this is where weekly documentation of one’s training comes in handy.  You can notice trends and stuff – for example, the trend I have here of almost every day being a “medium day”, with a bit of running, a bit of yoga, and a bit of swimming.  Bad. 

Proper training is an optimized mix of harder days and easier days.  Balanced variation, not monotony.  If I keep this up, I may get myself overtrained and stale.  And I’m not even training for anything!  Ridiculous.  I think I’ve gotten into this pattern because I was using yoga and swimming to sub for running.  And now I added the running back in, but didn’t cut out the other stuff.  And, since I’m not doing track workouts, I’m also getting bored.   Hence adding a lot of other stuff to my schedule.

So that’s getting fixed.  Not that I’m never going to have a hard day where I run and swim and do yoga, but it’s not gonna be every day.

This pattern will be easier to fix because I’ve got a scheduled cutback this week.  Some time ago, I scheduled a third PRP appointment for the morning of May 1 to target my right groin – where my adductor and abdominal muscle attach. I’ve had a longstanding issue of a stabbing pain in my right groin when I run fast downhill (I’ve managed it by minimizing running fast downhill).  The hip MRI I got last fall indicated “[c]hronic degeneration of the right adductor-rectus abdominus aponeurosis with small focal tear…possibly sub-acute to chronic…associated chronic right osteitis pubis” – and I made a note at that time to get some PRP injections for it at some point in the future. 

It’s not the type of thing that justifies any sort of surgical intervention at this point - surgery can make stuff worse as well as better, and it’s not bad enough at this time to justify the risk.  Still my life would be significantly happier if I didn’t have it, so I might as well try PRP, and now’s as good a time as any.  Since I’m going in for another round, we’re also going to try some shots in my lumbar region – the MRIs have always come back clean for that area, but my “presentation” points to an issue with the nerves near L4/L5.  So we’ll give that a try also.  And then, of course, 48 hours rest.


Monday:   In the morning, 3.5 miles easy (8:25) and a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 6 miles easy (8:11 pace), and then 2500 yards of swimming, including a descending set of 300/250/200/150/100/50 on the 2:00 base, followed by 7x50 on 70 seconds (splits were 5:20.07, 4;25,40, 3:34.24, 2:40.10, 1:46.00, 51.17, 51.76, 51.77, 49.38, 48.85, 48.89, 48.85, 48.90).  Took a yoga class in the afternoon and did some foam rolling.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 4 miles easy (8:30 pace) and then a yoga class.  Later did another 6 miles (8:11 pace).  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 3.5 (8:09) miles easy and a yoga class; later did another 3.5 miles (7:54).  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  In the morning, 2750 yards of swimming, followed by yoga.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   In the morning, 10.5 miles (8:02 pace) and then 1750 yards of swimming.   Foam-rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:   In the morning, 7 miles easy (8:11), followed by a yoga class.  Later swam 2500 yards.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Training log - Week ending 4/20/14

This week was 41 miles of running and 14,000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.  

Things are on the upswing, though not perfect, and so I’ve been carefully upping the mileage again.  No fast running, just easy stuff with plenty of short doubles (to keep the mileage up while still keeping the runs short enough that I can keep good posture) plus swimming (including 2-3 hard workouts to raise my heart rate).  And lots of yoga to keep my core strong.  

Basically, I’m trying to maintain the overall volume of work while transitioning from cross training back to running.  But the end result looks like a hodge-podge of workouts – what used to be one run of about 10 miles is now two shorter runs plus a swim.

As I noted last week, I’ve been experimenting with different shoes (the Hitogami and the Adios Boost are keepers; I don’t like the Nike Lunar Racer quite as much).  My right foot is unquestionably happier with the reduced cushioning and slightly higher heel (both shoes are racing flats with a ~9mm drop) –  however, I do find that it’s harder to keep correct posture with the higher heel.  I start arching my lower back, and then my left leg goes weak and funky again.  *sigh*.  All I can do is keep working on practicing good posture to make it stick.

And no, I didn’t go up to Boston this weekend.  I was maybe slightly tempted, but I wanted to save the money, and also staying down here meant that I was able to celebrate my parents’ birthdays this weekend (Dad’s birthday was on Saturday; Mom’s is this coming Thursday).  So I stayed around, and took the previously scheduled vacation days as mental health days.  Which was great.  Being able to hit a mid-day yoga class and spend the afternoon reading comic books was not as special as running Boston, but fun in its own way.


Monday:   In the morning, 2 easy miles to test foot (7:58 pace), then a yoga class and 1200 yards easy swimming.  Dry needling in the afternoon.

Tuesday:  In the morning, two easy runs of 2.5 miles each testing shoes (paces were 8:27 and 7:59) bookending a yoga class.  Also swam for 2000 yards.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:   2.5 miles easy (8:25 pace), and then 2500 yards of swimming, including 8x100 on 2:00 (splits were 1:39.30, 1:39.46, 1:39.66, 1:37.86, 1:38.37, 1:38.33, 1:37.87, 1:37.34) followed by 600 yards split as 6x75 easy/25 hard.  Then took a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 3.5 miles easy (8:17), followed by a yoga class and then another 4 miles (7:53 pace) plus 1300 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  In the morning, 5 miles easy (7:57 pace), followed by 3000 yards swimming (workout was descending 250/200/150/100/50 (splits were 4:17.15, 3:24.50, 2:32.61, 1:40.90, 48.43), followed by 800 split as 75 easy/25 hard, and then 4x50 on 1:00 (48.77, 49.89, 49.30, 49.82).  Did yoga mid-day plus another easy 1.5 miles to test another pair of shoes (8:17 pace).  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   In the morning, 5 miles easy (8:03), yoga, another 2.5 miles (8:09 pace) and then 1000 yards of swimming.   Foam-rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:   In the morning, 10 miles easy (8:02 pace) and then ~3000 yards of swimming (it was 2700 long course meters, which is _almost the same).  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Training log - week ending 4/13/14

This week was 4 miles of running and 16,000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.  

(what follows is a long discussion of my right foot – probably not of much interest to others).  I’m posting it because a) it’s my blog and I can post whatever I want – nobody has to read, b) it’s helpful for me to have the notes for later, and c) if someone else ever deals with a similar issue in the future, this may be helpful to them.)

My silly right foot was the issue once again this week.  For those of you scoring at home, the symptoms are basically:

  • At rest, a small bit of tenderness if you push really hard on the “corner” of the foot between the backside and the underside.  Right at the back lower edge of my heelbone/calcaneous, if that makes sense.  No tenderness anywhere else.
  • When I start running, a bit of stiffness on the outside back of my heel, where the peroneal tendon is.  Really not a big deal.
  • After a bit of running, I develop a burning feeling all over the heel – basically the back third of my foot, including both sides and underneath, feels like it’s been dunked in boiling water.  Feeling gradually subsides when I stop running.
  • The softer the shoe, the more my foot hurts – feels fine walking around barefoot, but if I put on running shoes, it starts to get sore on the outside.  And the more built-up and “traditional” the shoe, the more it hurts.

I spent most of the week trying to get my foot to “settle”, with just a few 2 mile runs to test things out.  The inflammatory period of an injury is between 3 and 10 days – I’ve learned, sadly, that as you age, things shift closer to the 10 day side of that.  Nothing to do but wait.

(I hate waiting).

In the meantime, I kept my cardio fitness up with swimming, and my leg strength up with yoga classes.  My swimming has definitely slowed in the past month, which makes sense – I haven’t been doing it as much.  But what I really care about is the cardio effect (which hopefully transfers to running), not the splits, so a 100 yard split of 1:4x works as well as 1:3x – I’m breathing hard either way.

I got back in to see both my PT and my podiatrist this week.  PT continues to believe that the heel issue is in part my weak left leg throwing off my gait, and in part my right ankle locking – the right ankle just doesn’t flex smoothly the way the left one does.  Plus maybe some referred pain – when you have something that burns, but you can’t find a tender point anywhere on the foot, that points towards a nerve somewhere.  So, more ankle mobilization and back stability work, focusing on the quality of the movement, rather than the number of reps.

My podiatrist also checked out my foot – this was helpful, because he saw it right when it was inflamed during Cherry Blossom (he was working the med tent at the race) and then again 3 days later.   After looking at it, he thinks that it’s some combination of insertional Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.  I had seen him with the purpose of getting another PRP injection, but he talked me out of it – he uses PRP for injuries that won’t heal – this is something that clearly heals but gets reaggravated. Thus, we don’t need to provoke healing – we need to fix the cause.  His recommendation was continued PT focused on my ankle.  He also agreed (at my suggestion) to cast me for orthotics, in the spirit of trying everything.  

He also suggested that I try running barefoot for a short distance, just to see how that felt.  He never normally recommends that for plantar/Achilles issues, but given that the foot feels better barefoot and worse with shoes, it’s worth a careful try just to see what happens.  I haven't gotten brave enough to do that yet.

I also went to see a second podiatrist. It’s not that I don’t trust (and will continue to work with) my first – it’s just that this heel thing has been on and off for long enough that I want as many opinions as possible.    Second podiatrist believes that it’s my peroneal tendon, but that the tendon is also referring pain to other parts of my foot – hence the confusion.  His recommendation was to play around with shoes some, looking for shoes with a) a slightly higher heel drop (6-8 mm would be good) and b) as little cushioning as possible.   

The second recommendation really surprised me given the source – I’ve felt all along that my foot hurt much more in cushioned shoes, but conventional wisdom is that cushioned shoes are better for the injury prone.  And I know from this doctor’s blog that he normally likes more traditional shoes.    He explained to me that cushioning was just allowing my heel to sink and shift in the shoe, and amplifying the stability issues (which matches what I felt was happening).  I need as firm a shoe as I can find – ideally I would find a very thin and light  shoe with very little cushioning that also had a slightly higher heel.

So that explains why higher heels haven't worked for me previously and have made things worse – because the shoes I’ve tried with higher heels (Brooks Ghost, Saucony Ride, Mizuno Wave Rider) are also more cushioned than the light shoes that feel best.  But it’s also a bit tricky to find a shoe that has both a higher heel and very little cushioning – they usually go together.  He suggested sticking with my Pureconnects and just sticking a very slight heel lift in them; alternately I could try to find something that was both minimally cushioned and a bit of a higher heel.

I went for both options (and I'll also try my orthotics when I get them).  Heel lift stuck in the Pureconnects, and I also picked up pairs of the Adidas AdiosBoost, the Mizuno Hitogami, and the Nike Lunar Racer (I can try all three because Roadrunner will let me return the ones that don’t work within 90 days of purchase, no questions asked).  Of the three, so far I REALLY like the Hitogami, which is essentially a racing flat with a 9mm drop (my Pureconnects had 4mm).  We’ll see if that opinion persists.


Monday:   In the morning, 3000 yards of swimming, including 8x100 on 2:00, followed by 10x50 on 1:00. Splits were 1:40.87, 1:42.04, 1:43.22, 1:43.71, 1:43.27, 1:44.87, 1:43.89, 1:41.90 and 50.16, 49.95, 49.97, 50.05, 49.97, 50.77, 50.62, 50.67, 49.42, 49.69.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, yoga and strengthwork, followed by PT/dry needling.

Wednesday:   3000 yards of swimming, including 600 yards split as 6x75 easy/25 hard followed by 6x50 on 70 (splits were 47.87, 47.87, 46.83, 48,14, 48.02, 47.75 for the 50s), followed by yoga.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 2 mile test run, a yoga class, and 1500 yards easy swimming.   Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  In the morning, 3000 yards swimming, including cruise effort 6x150 on 3:00 and 10x50 on 1:00, (splits were 2:34.91, 2:38.77, 2:40.81, 2:38.43, 2:38.34, 2:37.09 and 50.03, 50.12, 51.37, 52.34, 50.72, 51.20, 52.22, 52.59, 51.92, 52.34), followed by yoga.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   In the morning, yoga, a 2 mile test run, and 1500 yards of swimming.   Foam-rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:   In the morning, 4000 yards of swimming, including 600 as 75 easy/25 hard and a pyramid set of 150/100/50/100/150/100/50/100/150/100/50 at moderate effort (splits were 2:40.32, 1:47.51, 54.12, 1:48.70, 2:45.25, 1:48.70, 53.65, 1:48.90, 2:45.17, 1:50.10, 54.15), followed by a yoga class.  Massage at night.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Training log - Week ending 4/6/2014

This week was 28 miles of running and 8,000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here. 

And... what the running gods give, they also taketh.    Early in the week, I experienced the highs of a good track workout that followed on the heels of a successful race.   Yay.  Cherry Blossom, my favorite rate of the year was on Sunday, and it was looking like I’d hold up for it.
And then the next day, both calves got tight – the left worse than the right – and so I cut my run short to be careful.  A previously scheduled massage on Wednesday didn’t quite take care of the issue, so I just swam on Thursday, and managed to get in for a dry needling session focused on my left hip and leg.  Ran easy on Friday, which felt fine, and but afterwards the right calf was tight.

(seriously – my body is one big game of whack-a-mole).

I managed to get in for a quick session of ART on my right hip and calf (stuff felt like it was referring downward).  And felt OK, but not 100%.  Crap.  Cherry Blossom was going to be perfect weather, so I decided to at least show up, and see how I felt during the warm-up. 

During the warm-up, I felt slightly stiff, but no pain anywhere, so decided to give it a shot, mentally prepping myself to withdraw if I felt any pain (my apologies to those whom I vented to on the starting line – I’ve realized in retrospect it wasn’t the most helpful thing to mention to you as you focused on your own races).   

First mile felt good, and I was really happy I gave the race a try.  But after that, my right heel started burning, and so I shut it down. It was the right choice.  But it really sucked.

Ah well.  Had I continued running, it would have made stuff much worse.  So I’m going to take 3-4 days off, and then see how I feel.


Monday:   In the morning, a yoga class and 3.5 miles easy running , plus upper body strengthwork.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, injury rehab work and 9 miles running, including a track workout of 6x 800, (splits were 3:03, 2:57, 2:57, 2:55, 2:56, 2:54), followed by 2000 yards of easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:   Yoga, 3.5 miles easy (8:41 pace), and 2500 yards of swimming.  Massage at night.

Thursday:   Yoga and 2000 yards of easy swimming.  Dry needling of left calf in afternoon.  Foam rolling at night

Friday:  In the morning, 8 miles easy.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:   In the morning, 1500 yards of easy swimming, followed by ART on right calf.   Foam-rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:   In the morning, 2 mile warm-up, and then the first two miles of Cherry Blossom (7:03, 6:43).  Sulking at night.