Monday, May 25, 2009

Back in the saddle again...and some embedded circuit training

Well I got the green light for a progressive return to running, so during my lunch break today, I decided I would try out the treadmill during my workout.

After 20 minutes of riding at high rpm (105-110), I was sufficiently warmed up to jump on the mill and give it a go. I started out at 5.5 mph and almost immediately felt a little discomfort on the exterior of my knee. It wasn't painful so I figured maybe it was just a kink that needed to work itself out. After 2 minutes, I increased the speed to 6.5 mph and maintained a 90 foot-strikes per minute cadence. The feeling was still there but it did not seem to impact my form in any way so I kept going. Another 2 minutes and I upped my speed to 7.5 mph (which is my Easy pace of 8 min/mile). I maintained this pace for about 2 more minutes and decided to stop because the discomfort didn't go away and I don't want to delay my recovery (which I am already finding long).

This week, I planned to start my training for the Montreal marathon which includes 2 Easy days. On these days, I will be doing embedded circuit training. This is basically completing a circuit training in between 2 short easy runs. The objective is to get the heart rate up and maintain it at a higher level while doing the total body circuit exercises (cross-training) and then finishing off with a short easy run. In between each exercise set, you maintain your HR up by doing some aerobic activity for 30 seconds - this is the recovery part!

So here is what I did today:

12 x dips (on parallel dipping bar)
30 seconds rowing
8 chinups
30 seconds jump rope
20 pushups
30 seconds rowing
12 x 30 lbs dumbbell curls
30 seconds jump rope (my shorts kept coming down so I stopped doing this)
12 x front arm raises (20 lb dumbbells)
30 seconds rowing
25 incline situps

After I was done, I jumped on the treadmill for another 5 minutes at Easy pace. I would have liked to do 2 miles, as planned but I felt the tinge again so I didn't push it. Funny thing is that the discomfort disappeared as soon as I stopped. I have a Chiro appointment and another Physio appointment next week so I'll explain my experiment to them...

As for the circuit training, I have to say I enjoyed the intensity and efficiency of it. No time wasted waiting for machines or standing around resting. This workout is all business - which is pretty well suited to a lunchtime session. I will definitely be adding some exercises and doing this again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stir crazy

I am planning to fully recover before resuming running. This is proving to be harder than I anticipated. While I am enjoying having more time to do other activities (like spring cleaning), I am constantly worried, as the days pass, about losing my mileage base. I know there is still something wrong with my knee but it is killing me not getting out in the spring weather and bashing out a few miles. My trail shoes are calling me and it is getting harder and harder not to acquiesce even though I know this is what's best....I am cycling and have resumed a strength training regime but it is just not enough to satisfy me....hmmm

My first physio treatment with a TENS machine and ultrasound went really well. We isolated the problem and it isn't anything too serious. Just an inflamed infrapatellar fat pad (whatever that is...). I should be good to go in a few weeks with continued treatment, icing and regular non-stressing exercise.

In the meantime, I am working on my plans for my future challenges. Montreal or Chicago in the fall? Will my ticket come up for the New York marathon lottery? What big project am I gearing up for in 2010? 2010 is a hallmark year; Olympics in Canada, 5 years since I started training for my first marathon, another chance to run in Boston, and the need to do something different. Besides, 2010 is made up of nice round numbers...So what to do? I am thinking about organizing a run around the island of Montreal - my first calculation tells me it is in the ballpark of 120km. That could be quite an undertaking...and something to work on over the next 12 months....Any takers?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Training recap week #18

Sun 3 May - Vancouver marathon today. My race strategy is to start conservatively and build my speed every 10km. This will allow me to not go out too hard, find a groove, post a negative split and finish strong. I had a good night's sleep on Friday and Saturday, I feel like this is an A-day. I ran the first 13 km with Brent at an average 8:05 min/mile pace. This was a bit fast for Brent who was fighting a cold, he slowed down as I pulled ahead after the water station. My knee was feeling a bit tender but it was nothing to write home about - it didn't seem to slow me or alter my form. I picked up the pace but my IT band wrap started to slip and was becoming annoying as I had to snug it or pull it up every few minutes. I reached the halfway point in Stanley Park at 1:45. I have 10 minutes to make up in the second half. I am a little off my race plan. I pick up the pace going up the hill out of Stanley Park, the subsequent downhill is really doing a number on my knee. I feel myself slowing down at this point. I regroup and try to pick up the pace up Burrard street toward the bridge. I am confident I can still make up the time. I really enjoy the climb up the bridge and coast down the gradual slope on the other side. I pass my coach Norm and give him a high five on the way. He is waiting for the rest of the team. The next few kilometers are a series of false flats. My knee is starting to feel funky now. I know I am slowing down...I hear a group bearing down on me. The 3:30 pace bunny and entourage pass me and start their 10:1 walk break about 15 yards ahead of me. I continue on ahead of them with a new found motivation to not let them pass me again. I manage to keep ahead of them for the next 6 kilometers but as I near the turn under the Burrard Bridge, I feel like my knee has lost all it's strength. I know that if I continue to run, I will likely do some damage, but if I walk, I will not make up the time I need to stay on my plan. I turn to commence the ascent toward the bridge but I can no longer run. I have to just think about how I can salvage this race and not kill my knee. I decide to walk to it off for a while. I am passed by the 3:30 pace group and the by the 3:40 group as I reach to peak of the bridge. There are 2 km left. I start a shuffle down the final stretch. The cheering crowd is driving me to the finish line even though I am literally shuffling along. With about 400 metres to go, the 3:45 pace group passes me. I decide to push it and pick up the pace to finish ahead of this group. Surprisingly, with a longer stride, my knee seems to hurt less and I am able to make up some ground and finish ahead of the group. What started as a A-day, suddenly became an attempt to salvage a race. Funny how things can change. After the race, I sat in the fountain near the finish and stretched my legs. At the hotel, I took hot bath with Epsom salts.

Mon 4 May - My knee hurts today but my legs aren't too bad. I went to the pool for a swim and stretched. Then it was off to the airport for the return flight. My knee was really stiff when we arrived in Montreal.

Tue 5 May - My knee was feeling much better today but now my quads are really sore. I am sort of glad because it indicates to me that I pushed myself. I wouldn't want to think I still had some left in the tank at the finish. I did some self massage and walked alot while doing chose around the house today.

Wed 6 May - 30 minutes stationary cycle and stretching. Quads are feeling better but still sore. As luck would have it, we had to evacuate our building at work today and I had to walk down 10 flights of stairs - ouch!

Thu 7 May - 30 minutes stationary cycle and stretching. My quads are not as sore as yesterday but still tender. My knee acts up when I get up after sitting for a while. I have booked a physio appointment for next week to make sure I get to the bottom of this injury as soon as possible.

Fri 8 May - Day off. Had a couple of cold ones with supper. I felt a tinge of guilt because I didn't work out today. I will try to stick to my policy of only rewarding myself if I had worked out..Especially now that my workouts are much less calorie intense.

Sat 9 May - Worked around the yard today.

Total weekly mileage : 42.2 km