RUNNING, WRITING AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE 6

Stanford University Track-Another View
Stanford University Track-Another View

This working for a living sure gets in the way of life!  I’ve been trying to start this week’s blog all last week, and the next thing I knew it was the middle of the following week.  Anyway I have managed to find time to run, but today’s comments and observations will be short.

As I have mentioned, I decided to skip this year’s Masters Nationals in Berea, Ohio and focus on a slow rebuild to avoid injury.  But I probably have been pushing a bit too hard, particularly in my cross training at the gym.  On second thought, I overdid golf at the beginning of training resumption, after the long layoff.  That’s when I aggravated my knees.  My trainer modified the glutes, hamstrings, quads, upper body, and core exercises to avoid undue pressure on my knees for several weeks.  This did allow my knees to heal, and now I experience only an occasional twinge.

Then I read in Runner’s World that strengthening inner (adductor) and outer (abductor) hip muscles would lead to a more consistent foot landing with each step.  This, in turn, would reduce the stress on your knees.  Therefore this week I did 3 sets of 15 reps each on the inner thigh and outer thigh machines, with probably too much weight.  Both my inner and out adductor muscles were sore for the next 2 days.  I probably should have followed Runner’s World advice and used resistance bands instead of the machines.  Well, live and try to learn! 

On the second day, I ran a modified interval program; instead of running 6 x 200 meters at 800 meter race pace, I started with 1 x 400 meters at my 2 mile pace, rested, then 1 x 200 at my 1 mile pace, rested, then 1 x 400 at the 2 mile pace, rested, then finished with 1 x 200 meters at my 800 race pace.  I covered the same distance as 6 x 200 (1200 meters), but at varying speeds.  I suppose in a sense it was a form of the Swedish fartlek (literally “playing with speed”).  My right adductor muscle twinged a few times, but it was pretty much okay.

The following day I was quite sore, particularly in my right adductor, so I rested.  I felt better the next morning, with only an occasional pain in my right quad.  By the afternoon the quad was pain free, so I decided to do a steady run on a hilly 4.32 mile course.  On the long (0.6 mile), steep hill toward the end of the run, I alternated 2 minutes walking, then 2 minutes running for a total of 8 minutes.  My average heart rate was 127 and the peak heart rate 167 when I was going up the steep hill.  My normal peak heart rate is 180.  I felt no pain during the workout, and my “runner’s high” lasted throughout the evening. 

I rested the next day, and then did some sprints the following day. 

It’s now the end of the third week.  I have looked back at the past 3 weeks, and I am getting stronger, capable of handling a bit more work each week.  I have been doing intervals, longish run, tempo run, easy day (jogging in the morning and 45 minutes at the gym in the afternoon), and sprints, with 2 rest days each week, over these last 3 weeks.  I probably have pressed a bit too hard, but I seem to be recovering enough so that my aches are not getting any worse.

I will probably do more speed work for the next few weeks, and when the aches are gone, I’ll run an 800 meter time trial to see where I am.  After that, I’ll devote the next few weeks to longer runs if my knees are okay.  Then, if all is well, I’ll start my cross country training, with eyes on the October and November 5ks, the Stanford Habitat For Human Home Run and the Theta Breakers Run For The Children, also at Stanford.

I’m traveling right now and am taking a couple of days off.  I’ll resume tomorrow with short, fast speed work, and then see how long it takes to recover.  And then I’ll try to post the results next weekend!

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