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Physical Therapy and Wisdom

Physical Therapy

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 Higdon and 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.

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