This week I started running again and had my last physical therapy appointment.
Tuesday night I ran about 10K with my running club and Thursday I ran 5K in the afternoon. Both runs felt pretty good and I now know that I came through my last two races without damage.
Tuesday morning I had my last PT session. My flexibility and strength were good and I have made a lot of progress since I started therapy for my piriformis injury this summer. When I told my therapist that I had run a half marathon and then a whole marathon within six days and was able to drive home from Hartford without pain, she knew I was healed.
Now that the crescendo of my running season has receded into the past I feel like I am transitioned into a new phase. Through injury and achieving goals I feel that I have learned a lot about my running and what I am capable of. I’m looking forward to applying these lessons to next year’s running.
I’ve started to look for races I want to run next year and will be building my schedule over the next few weeks. I hope to run a marathon in Vermont or New Hampshire this year and maybe one a little further afield. I’m on a very slow course to run all fifty states.
So to keep this brief I’ll wrap this up here. If I get my schedule filled out I’ll post that next week. I also plan to write a series of posts for people who are starting running and are looking for a few good running tips.
2012 was a challenging and rewarding year for my running. A brief recap of my running adventures through October, 2012.
My 2012 Running Year in Review
This has been a busy month and a busy year for me. I’ve run sixteen races this year and four races within the past 30 days.
The biggest challenge of the year was running the BAA Half Marathon and the ING Hartford Marathon within six days of each other. When I registered for the two races months ago I thought this would be a fun and interesting challenge. I’ve run several marathons before but having a half-marathon within six days of the marathon would add a new twist.
I thought the closeness of the races would be my biggest challenge and then I got hurt. For six weeks I had to cut way back on my training and did mostly stretching and strength training as prescribed by my physical therapist.
The last race I ran before my injury was The Twin Lights Half Marathon on May 12th. I surprised myself and set a new PR. When I did that I really felt like I was on the right track with my training and I would be able to PR in Hartford and maybe qualify for Boston. Then due to work and sickness I basically stopped training for three weeks and then came back to fast, and got hurt.
I started going to physical therapy about once a week and did all of my exercises as prescribed. I kept running shorter distances, usually no more than 3 miles at a time. My PT was okay with this level of running.
Earlier in the year I had signed up for the BAA Distance Medley. The day before the Boston Marathon I ran their 5K and then on June 24th I ran the BAA 10K. My leg never really hurt while I was running the 10K. There aren’t any hills on this course and I took it very easy just to be safe
In July I ran the VERT Sasquatch 2.4 mile trail race just to try out trail running and for the great party afterwords. I took it very slow again. On August 5th I did the Maine Lobster Fest 10Kin Rockland Maine. There were hills and it was hot for this race. I took it easy and survived that one.
On September 8th, I ran a leg of the Lake Winni Relay, 10.8 miles, at an 8:44 pace. This was the fastest and farthest I had run since May. My legs felt strong during the race and I did not have any unusual pain afterwords. This race really helped build my confidence back and told me that I was back on track.
On September 16th I ran The Lone Gull 10K and set a PR. On September 29th I ran the Granara-Skerry 5K and set another PR. I felt confident again and ran these races as hard as I could. After Lake Winnie I wanted to see what I was capable of and how far my rehab had progressed. These races confirmed my progress and further boosted my confidence. I felt like I was ready for my challenge.
At the BAA Half Marathon on October 7th I did not set a PR, but I think I could have. I lined up late and got stuck in a huge crowd where I could not move. When there was room to run I threw everything I had into the race. At the end of the race I felt good about the race and I was pretty sure I had not aggravated my injury. That was key. If I had pulled the piriformis again I would not have had time to recover before my marathon.
The days between the BAA Half and ING Marathon I ran 4 miles Tuesday night and 5K on Thursday. I went to the gym and stretched three days and that was about it. My taper week was also a recovery week. Like most runners would, I spent that time pretty much obsessed with my upcoming marathon.
I tried to manage all of the details for race day, but as anyone who read my race re-cap, several items got out my control. If you would like to read about my stressful marathon check out this link.
I made some mistakes and learned some lessons. That’s all part of the journey. All of the details are available on my re-cap as referenced above. I’m no racing or organization expert but I’m always working on my process. I feel that the three keys to successful racing are
Getting the miles in
Physical conditioning/cross training/strength training
Developing and fine tuning your race routine
I’ll go into my thinking on this on another post. A lot of other runners have written some great articles on this topic.
At this point in time I have pretty much run my schedule for the year It just feels so odd not having anything to train for. I’m going to have to work on my motivation to keep up with my training, to stay motivated. That is the current challenge that I face.
How do you stay motivated when you do not have a race on your schedule?
I had my fourth PT session this morning. Hilda and Nick over at Harvard-Vanguard in Somerville are helping me recover from my hamstring problems. It is a slow process and I am hoping that eventually I will be able to put this injury behind me (no pun intended) and get back to my training.
I’ve been incorporating the stretching exercises they give me into my daily routine and try to do the full cycle of stretches at least twice a week. It’s amazing how much stretching you can do while watching TV or waiting for the coffee to brew. I love to multi-task so adding stretches to time that would just be spent sitting or standing around is fantastic.
My regular training routine is about 20 miles per week. When I’m training for a marathon I like to average 25-30 and peak around 35 miles per week. With a job and family it is difficult to find the time for this much running. I know that if I want to improve my marathon time I need to get more miles in per week.
Since I am working through an injury my plan is to get back to 20 miles per week and stay at this level for the next few months. I can’t afford to push it and aggravate the injury, so I’m just going to have to suck it up and run my next few races just for fun. It’s not like I was ever out for prize money or anything like that. But, like most runners, I do enjoy seeing my times improve.
Like so many of my close-to-middle-aged running mates, I am looking to keep running into my 80s. I’ve seen plenty of older guys at races so I know it can be done. The old gang is also realizing that we do have limitations and that our bodies will punish us if we do not respect those limits.
I had big plans for the summer running season, but I screwed up. Now I’m just hoping to finish my next three races and not cause any additional damage to myself. Here are a few hard learned lessons that I mentioned I’d pass on to you when I started this blog.
One lesson is that you need to respect your body and understand your limitations. It’s easy to get over-confident when you are feeling good and things are going your way. These are the times you need to be careful, when you are pushing your boundaries. As athletes we need to push our limits, our boundaries, in order to grow and progress towards our goals. Just be aware that at your peak and when you are most confident is the time you are most likely to make a mistake and/or injure yourself.
Another lesson is the famous 10% rule. Hal Higdonand other running guru’s will tell you that you should not increase you mileage by more than 10% per week. Any more than that and you risk injury. I spent three weeks traveling or being sick earlier this summer. During this time I ran one 5K each week. This caused my fitness level to drop off significantly. When I got back to training my body was not ready.
Trying to go from 3.2 miles per week to 20+ is not a good idea. I can tell you from my own personal and painful experience. Don’t ignore the experts like I did and think the rule doesn’t apply to you.
This Sunday my long run will be 8.2 miles. Many in my club will do the full 16.2 route but I’m not up to that level yet.
Have a great weekend, get in some good running and thanks for stopping by.