Tag Archives: injury

I’m leery of you, Legs.

15 Nov

Any runner knows that little aches and pains are a part of running. They usually go away on their own so they’re not really anything to get worked into a tizzy over.

Until they don’t go away.

And you have to sideline your dreams of running {insert race name}.

You even have to kiss some of your money good-bye  – not just because you registered for a race you can no longer run, but also because you need physical therapy, ice packs, foam rollers, compression tights and KT tape.

Even then, you’re not guaranteed that the pain won’t return.

That’s the dilemma I find myself in. Ever since I had to bail on the full marathon last year due to knee pain caused by IT band tightness, I haven’t trusted my legs. I want with all my heart to run the Eugene Marathon next April but to be honest, I’m not entirely confident that my legs can make it to the finish line healthy and injury-free. Every run I’ve done lately, I find myself with a nagging pain in a shin, a tightness in a hamstring, a clicking in a knee joint. Every ache and pain makes me leery. What if I can’t run this marathon either? What if I can’t prevent my IT band from getting tight? What if something else goes wrong that I can’t even predict or plan for right now?

Then I start thinking about how I’m probably the most unnatural runner ever.

Like chicrunner posted on her blog:

That picture makes me laugh every time I see it.

I know that I’m not the only runner who has ever gotten injured training for a marathon. I also know that plenty of people get injured at some point in their running career and yet go on to run marathons later. I’m also not the first runner to ever be discouraged or doubt themselves.

When you think about it, training for a marathon is really not all that different from pursuing a personal or professional dream – you take a risk and put in a butt-load of effort without knowing for sure what the end result is going to be. But you try to be smart about it. You take advice from other people who’ve blazed the trail. And you declare that quitting is not an option.

So I’m going to keep on keepin’ on with my training schedule and continue to intentionally fit in my mileage, strength training and the “good hurt” of foam rolling.

Just to make sure we’re clear, Legs:

I won’t go down without a fight.

Have you ever gotten injured during training? How did you recover mentally?

Marathon in 2012

22 Sep

Marathon Training Plan

So remember when I said I was excited to not have a training plan since triathlon season is over?

Well, that’s not really going to happen.

You see, I want to run this little thing they call a marathon in May 2012 (I’m eyeing the Stillwater Marathon in MN, which should be the last weekend of May). While I had been {stupidly} thinking that I could sit on my butt until January rolled around and then start a training plan, almost every website and person I’ve talked to has said that I need to be running 15-25 miles per week before I even start the training program. And since I’m not the world’s smartest runner, I guess I’ll trust them…

Since I’ve been training for triathlons and not concentrating on running, my weekly mileage has been somewhere in the single digits. Paltry. All of this means that to avoid injury, my marathon base building starts right after the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Relay. Real marathon training starts on January 23.

To be honest, I’m kind of excited. Marathon, here I come! You will not evade me in 2012!

But since I have really missed doing yoga, pilates, the elliptical, and yes, even weight-lifting, my base-building plan includes 2 days of cross-training and strength training, 3 days of running (1 regular, 1 speed, 1 long), and 2 days of rest.

Base Training Plan

I think I can handle that.

For my marathon training plan, I used Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Plan but I might sub out the runs on Monday for the same amount of cross-training, depending on how I feel. I think coming up with training plans is so stressful. I’m wary of running 4 days a week because I got injured last year from over-training. But if I don’t add in that extra day, my mileage won’t be that high. I decided to put the run on the schedule and will play it by ear whether that day should be an easy run or cross-training.

Like I have mentioned before, I am going to do things differently this year for marathon training. Last year, I signed up for the full Malibu marathon but ended up running the half because my IT band flared up. So as you will note on my training plan this time around, I will strength train. I will do speed work. I will stretch. I will cross-train (mostly on the bike and in the pool).

I posted these plans on my new marathon page for future reference.

I have discovered one more thing that I think will help me a lot:

Heart rate training.

I bought a heart rate monitor back in 2009 when I was training for my first triathlon. But I don’t use it like you’re supposed to. I only wear it to time my workouts and know how many calories I burned. And sometimes I like to look at my heart rate for fun.

Well, since things have slowed down at work and I just read the SELF cover story featuring Lauren Graham, I’ve been doing a little research about why staying in your aerobic zone is so beneficial. Here’s what I found:

The more work you perform aerobically, or in the presence of oxygen, the more efficient you are. Prolonged aerobic training produces muscular adaptations that improves oxygen transport to the muscles, reduces the rate of lactate formation, improves the rate of lactate removal, and increases energy production and utilization. These adaptations occur slowly over time.

So why haven’t I been doing this? I asked myself.

The hard part of base training is having the discipline to train at these low intensities. It may mean running very slowly or even walking. It may mean separating from your training group in order to pursue your individual goals. It also means avoiding the contest of egos that group training often turns into. If you can find a training partner with similar goals and fitness level you may be able to train with them, but more often than not what I see is a base work gone awry. Even spending short amounts of time above your aerobic zone degrades the work out.

The area between the top of the aerobic threshold and anaerobic threshold is somewhat of a no mans land of fitness. It is a mix of aerobic and anaerobic states. For the amount of effort the athlete puts forth, not a whole lot of fitness is produced. It does not train the aerobic or anaerobic energy system to a high degree. This area does have its place in training; it is just not in base season. Unfortunately this area is where I find a lot of athletes spending the majority of their seasons, which retards aerobic development. The athletes heart rate shoots up to this zone with little power or speed being produced when it gets there. {source}

Hmmmm… so you’re saying that I’m such a slow runner because I’ve been refusing to say in my aerobic zone? You mean I have to slow down to get faster? I can do that.

Based on a few different calculators I found for Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), mine seems to be somewhere around 195. That means my Aerobic Zone is somewhere around 157 – 171. My heart rate is usually around 160-165 during a regular run, so that’s good.  Easy recovery runs are supposed to be done in the Fat Burning Zone: 143 – 157 beats per minute. I hardly ever do runs that slow.

I hope this knowledge impacts the way I train – so that I can make sure to not overdo things and see the benefits promised by aerobic training. And if it doesn’t, oh well. I’m just doomed to be slow.

I would, however, like to keep up the pace I have been running (11 min/mile) and possibly even improve that. I think the strength and cross training are going to be key.

Now I just need to find the motivation to finish my training plan for this blasted half marathon relay! We found out that it’s not split into two 10Ks – the first leg is 7.8 miles, the second is 5.3. So Travis decided to do the first leg. I can’t lie – I’m relieved. It’s not that I’m sick of training – it’s that I’m sick of trying to balance everything and constantly strategize about when to fit workouts in. I have so much other stuff that I want to (and have to) be doing! (What really should go is this job thing. 😉 ) But I’ve been thinking – working out is not only important because of my athletic aspirations, it’s also important because it keeps me healthy and enables me to keep up with the other areas of my life. So behind God, my husband and church (oh and work), exercising has to be a priority. No matter what else doesn’t get done.   

Any advice for me on my marathon training?

Do you pay attention to your heart rate during training?

Organizing freedom

22 Feb

A couple weeks ago, I realized that even though I have full days of freedom with nothing that I have to do, and even though I’ve been staying busy with writing, doing errands and chores, reading, and meeting friends for lunch and coffee, my whole volunteering-as-an-editor gig was collecting dust and I had fallen woefully behind on applying for jobs, causing me to apply for a record 15 jobs in one week.

So I decided to organize my freedom by creating a Weekly Schedule. Here ’tis:

Sunday – Free Day

Monday – Study/reading, Household Chores (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning), Editing curriculum (volunteer gig)

Tuesday – Work on book

Wednesday – Apply for jobs, Freelance writing

Thursday – Coffee with Cathy, Editing curriculum

Friday – Work on book

Saturday – Study/reading

At first, I was pessimistic about my ambitions – since when have I ever been known to follow a schedule like this? I enjoy creating them and fantasizing about my organized schedule but the tedium of follow-through swiftly kills my eagerness. But amazingly, I have actually followed my schedule since I created a week ago. Woohoo! And I do feel so much more organized. Moreover, I have now spent 2 days editing curriculum and finished one whole workbook. Another woohoo!

In addition to my Weekly Schedule, I also created an Exercise Schedule. Normally, I have no problem finding motivation to work out because I honestly enjoy it and love the way I feel afterward. I’m also often training for a race, which is motivation in itself, since I don’t want to go make a fool of myself or suffer through something that could be easy (or at least easier).

But lately, I’ve been enjoying reading and writing so much that it’s been hard to tear myself away long enough to work out. Adding to that, I’m not training for a race (yet), I had been waiting to work out at night with Travis (bad idea), and I’ve been eating cookies of all kinds like it’s my job. So I had been averaging about 3 days a week, instead of my normal 5-6. Unacceptable.

Enter my Exercise Schedule.

Sunday – OFF

Monday – Yoga class

Tuesday – Swim

Wednesday – Run

Thursday – Yoga class

Friday – Bike

Saturday – Free Day (meaning I can do whatever exercise I want)

I think it’s a pretty good little schedule. The yoga classes provide flexibility and strength training and then I’m doing one workout of each triathlon discipline, plus a “fun” day.

However, my stupid little foot has thrown a wrench in my plan. I think it started in yoga, when I noticed that in Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 on the left side, my right ankle collapses to the outside, causing it to get sore and achy. Then I went on two runs outside after a couple month hiatus, which was perhaps a little too ambitious. During my 2nd run, the outside of my right foot started to hurt and ever the idiot, I decided to try to run through it. Bad idea. After a mile and a half, I had to walk and my foot has hurt ever since (about 6 days now). Since I thought yoga would aggravate it, I have skipped the past 2 classes, in hopes that it would get better. But even taking Katy on a 20-minute walk makes it hurt. Poop! So I’m out of running commission for sure, and possibly yoga too. The elliptical is still fine (if I position my foot right) and swimming is totally fine. Maybe I should create a revised Exercise Schedule for the time being… 😉

Anyway, those are my latest attempts at organizing my days of freedom.