What a difference a couple of days makes
I’ve always been rather short-sighted. The here and now is where I live, which makes for long-term analysis kind of a crap shoot. I know how I feel right now, and the recommended remediation for it….but unless you take the long term trends into account it’s mostly guess work.
I went out for my long run last Saturday, which was the BEST day of the weekend around here, clear blue skies, slight breeze, and most of all no rain! As described in my last post, I tried to keep the pace WAY down on this long run to give my aching body a break, but what I experienced was anything but restful.
The first 5km felt creaky. Everything in me felt like it was covered in rust and would break at any minute. Surprising? Not really, at this point I had taken nearly 2 full weeks off (although I had done other exercise) but it still sucked to work through it. After warming up, I spent the next 5km worrying about the possibly (HA!) recurring shinsplints. Even though the there was some aching pain, and some minor sharp pain it didn’t get so bad that I had to stop. As I’ve mentioned briefly before, I’ve been trying to find the source of some minor knee pain during my long runs. I thought slowing down and using my orthotics again (I had been trying to get away from them) would alleviate this but I was wrong. From km 8-9 to km 18 was spent dealing with that exact knee/patella tendon pain. Awesome, what else could go wrong?…..I really should know better than ask that… IT CAN ALWAYS GET WORSE!
After suffering through all the previous bullshit, I thought I’d be in the clear…who could have predicted my old friend “Left ITB Issues” stopping by for a visit? I haven’t seen or heard from ITB issues since last year at exactly the same time of year, training for exactly the same marathon, so this flare was a surprise to say the least. I’m 3 ½ weeks out from race day and here I am nearly dead on the side of the road not even at the 30km mark yet. (Pardon the following melodrama)
What am I supposed to do to fix this in time to run a full marathon, let alone try and meet any of my goals? At least while the ITB was acting up my shins and knees felt great…eventually I cut the run short since there was no real benefit in pounding my aching body any more just to break the 30km mark.
After some long contemplation and making sweet love to my foam roller all of Sunday afternoon, I hatched a plan. A plan that was sure to leave me limping along at 36km of the marathon again, but dammit, I have to try something. Last year, I skipped a lot of my mid week runs in favour of getting the distance runs in. I was petrified of the 42.2km distance, but so sore from my body deteriorating out from underneath me that I sacrificed my maintenance runs in favour of 3-4 hour long sadistic death marches. I wouldn’t repeat that mistake again. In addition, I sought the advice/treatment of a physiotherapist who was happy to inform me that I was woefully inadequate in the strength department. She advised some specific strengthening and stretching exercises which I promptly ignored or forgot or was too sore to do. The one thing I’m confused about is that I’m in much better condition than last year; I’ve been doing speedwork and hills to keep my body strong, and prepped for the race to come, but it doesn’t seem to be enough…..so strengthening seems to be the lynchpin of my plan:
- Keep up the mid week runs
- Strength exercises at least 3 times a week, hopefully 4 or more if I can fit them in with my family/running schedule WITHOUT over doing it…after all, moderation is my middle name…(cough, cough…) Leg Extensions, Lunges, Deadlifts, Squats etc.
- Quality time with my foam roller…sweet sweet foam roller, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
- No more excessive long runs. This coming weekend is supposed to be my longest before taper anyway, so instead of pushing 36km, we’ll see how the body feels in the 20s but I’d give my body a chance instead of pounding it into the ground. Is this a mistake?…I have no idea.
To be honest, I’m not sure how my body will react during the race without some really long runs under my belt. The Around the Bay gave me a 30km, but that will be 2 months past on race day. Since then it’s been 3 high 20km runs (plus another run this weekend of…who knows?) but at this point only time will tell. Hopefully, the complete breakdown this past weekend was just a reaction to fatigue/dehydration/and two weeks off at a key point in the training cycle…hopefully…