The wife has sweetly produced all kinds of “remedies” as if she were a native-born Californian, in the hope that I might salvage my race on Sunday. It is two days, but this morning the cough seems to have tightened its grip and the throat needs lots of attention. Most likely it will be a choice between running it easy, tentatively, or not at all, which, to be quite frank, sucks ass.
Tuesday’s workout was bad. I felt so beat up, like I had just run a race the day before. A hard race. Like I had some muscle damage and needed to take a rest. Not exactly sure why, to be honest. Since life is not scientific and it’s all a jumble and we can’t isolate control variables, I can’t really know. But I have my theories.
The lax answer is it was likely a bunch of stuff, an accumulation of stresses. Namely, 30 miles of road running (I usually stick mostly to trails) at 30 degrees Fahrenheit in Central Park, followed by two intense hill workouts in Griffith Park, one which involved some downhill racing, another which included sprints (18 x 15 seconds) on a service road, and I almost forgot to mention the squats with kettle bells, which I’m fairly certain were performed with less than perfect form and to some excess, to say nothing of the stress to the body inherent in travel itself. Still, I was a little puzzled to feel so sore. And I’d love to isolate that variable, the one that caused all the soreness. Perhaps the best metric of the run: It was not fun.
Here’s the badness, in numbers:
45:55 5.01 miles 9:10 min/mile 8:58 8:37 9:14 9:41 9:17
So yesterday I took a rest day. Today, I headed out determined to run slow, easy, relaxed. It was a little difficult at first, but it was great to get into a groove and just keep the arms moving straight ahead like pistons. Nice and easy. A very pleasant run. I am very happy that I didn’t actually incur any significant injury, was able to escape with a day off and some easy running. I’ll try again tomorrow. Saturday will probably be the usual mayhem.
Here’s the goodness, in numbers:
58:06 5.71 miles 10:11 min/mile 9:53 10:22 10:22 10:07 10:05 10:17
Looking forward to getting the Garmin data storage to work at some point — but in the meantime… It recently occurred to me that the last few weeks has netted me not only a new record for weekly mileage (last week’s 37 miles), but a monthly record that includes 5 straight weeks of 30+ miles per week. Throw in the speed work I also did during a few of those weeks and you have a recipe for injury. I semi-knew this regarding the speed work, but had not really thought about the cumulative effects of all the miles…
I sketched out my recovery week (above). It includes two rest days (one of which I’m in the process of phasing out), a 10-mile effort (originally set for today, but will do tomorrow) and the dictum that a couple days must be easy. Maybe all the days. I’m a little unnerved by the fact of running that cumulative mileage and doing speed work — not to mention the maniacal adventures in the hills! Very thankful to not have sustained any kind of serious injury.
(I’ve also sketched out a possible 40-mile week following. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve not ruled out this exploratory week, as long as the pace is E-A-S-Y. My cousin may be in town — en route to the NYC marathon that she probably won’t be able to get to — so the running schedule may be somewhat elastic.)
Browsing some of the following websites helped knock some sense into me.
A Few Links For the Curious On Safely Increasing Running Mileage:
The first one took me by surprise. Put together by some Australian guy, it has some very down-to-earth thinking on the (overly) general nature of the “increase by 10 percent” rule that many of you readers of running publications will be familiar with. His Guide to Increasing Running Safely is worth a look. Another good one? Pete Pfitzinger has a guide to increasing mileage. A real pro that beat Alberto Salazar in the 1984 Olympic time trials, Pfitzinger knows his stuff. He also expresses some skepticism about the 10% rule. And finally, Strength Running has a smartly titled entry, “Forget the 10% Rule: How to Increase Mileage Safely.” Please note, I’m not suggest anyone toss the 10% rule out the window — just examine its limitations.
Thought I’d just check in with the body — ditch the planned 10 miler for an easy inquiry into the state of affairs. The weekend runs were quite demanding hill intensive adventures, and even with a day off in between, and given the aforementioned miles, a break seemed in order.
43:08 5.02 miles 8:35 min/mile
8:51 8:50 8:47 8:22 8:08
All in order. This was very comfortable. Even forgot to hydrate afterwards, though I do hit the water fountain at 2.35 miles on this route. Hydration. That’s another post.
Saturday ran some very uncustomary intervals. I’m still feeling it. I’m not really used to running in groups. It stirred up the competitive spirit, and I may have overdone it. Let’s just call it the race I never had this year. Today about a mile into my run I had some pretty acute discomfort in the left hamstring.
If ever there was a moment to become very attentive to sensations this was it. Had it moved an iota into the pain zone (and it was very close), I might have abandoned the run. As it was, the discomfort subsided, though I was conscious of some occasional stiffness. Hopefully I didn’t mess things up…
43:20 5.04 miles 8:31 min/mile
Today the foam roller will be my friend.
Realizing that I just don’t do sprints, and certainly not on asphalt. Excited to do it again. Today’s was a recovery run. Also ran with wife and kids yesterday, same course.
23:19 2.5 miles 9:20 min/mile
Yesterday I had a headache that emerged in the afternoon. I’d bet dollars to donuts it was related to dehydration, to that run in the crazy morning heat. Sometimes I imagine it is a principle of Yoda’s: Your current workout is advisable to the extent that it impacts your next workout. If it detracts — then it’s probably not actually a good workout. It’s really a principle worth absorbing, integrating, studying under, living by.
But it wasn’t Yoda, it was Matt Fitzgerald that put that in my mind. Probably it was in Brain Training For Runners, but I’m not sure. I’ve read a few of his books. He writes engagingly.
In any case, it seems perfectly wise to take the day off today, though I’m eager to pile on some miles. I felt some soreness in my foot last night, and some achy-ness in my hip — all signs that 5.8 miles out of nowhere in dizzying heat without hydration was taxing. I can capitalize on that stress and recover properly, or I can add more and risk injury. For once, I’m going to ease off.
I don’t travel all that well, in terms of running. The humidity of the East Coast (or anywhere, for that matter) does a number on me — and then there’s jetlag, the redeye, etc. So I’m trying to cram in a few extra runs before vacation. Must say that I do love the calendar function at Garmin Connect — which I usually ignore. But it’s super handy if you’re tracking these things. (If you click on the image you can see more clearly just how granular, helpful the information gets.)
Started out slow today, then some bursts, but kept it short. The legs were happy this morning — clearly zippy from yesterday’s effort.
20:24 2.52 miles 8:07 min/mile