Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Summary

A spectacular 76 miles for August, including just one 3.5 mile run in the last 24 days. No cross training or real exercise of any kind. I am feeling very lazy.

September starts off with yet another week of zero running and then I may try a mile or two to see if a month of no running has had any positive effect. I am pretty pessimistic about my chances and anticipate that any return to running will just be accompanied by pain. I predict a trip to see a surgeon is in my not too distant future.

Not running has been weird, but it has reduced the amount of laundry. Weight is up by only a couple pounds, which isn't too bad.

Boston in April is still my crossed-fingers goal. It's April 20th, so that gives me one more week of no running, 8 weeks of rehab where I slowly work back to ~25 miles/week. Then 6 weeks of base building to get back to 50-60 miles/week. Then I'd start an 18 week plan, which would be lower mileage than previous training plans as I won't have the necessary base for big miles.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sports Hernia

So after much time in denial, and many uncomfortable miles I finally decided that I need to do something about my groin injury.

Finally had the realisation during a supposedly easy run a couple weeks back. I thought about the last 4-5 months, and the training plan that laid ahead between now and CIM in December and recognised that the chances of getting through it were pretty slim. And the chances of enjoying it were zero. The fast, hard effort workouts are OK since adrenalin gets you thru those, but dragging myself through mile after mile of "easy" miles was just not worth it. And I had a nagging feeling that pain is probably sign that something is wrong.

So I stopped running, walked 3 miles home, and took a week off.

After a week's rest, I went for an easy 4 miler to see if was any better. It sucked. So yesterday, I went to see the Doctor.

I'd already diagnosed myself with a sports hernia - which is a tearing of the tissue that forms the inner part of the abdominal wall and inserts into the pubic bone. It happens when an imbalance occurs between the adductor muscles and the abdominal muscles; the stronger adductor muscles pull the pubic bone downward, thus stretching and eventually tearing the abdominal muscles. Soccer, hockey, football players get it. (Donovon McNabb, Tom Brady etc).

The doctor confirmed my diagnosis, but I definitely had to lead him in that direction.

Research shows that very often surgery is required to completely recover, but sometimes rest and ibuprofen can allow the muscles to heal. Seems to be the sensible decision to try rest before getting surgery, so that's the plan.

I'm going to take another 3 weeks off, and then see where I am. I'll need to build up slowly, only doing things that don't hurt. Walking first, stretching, etc. After a week or so of that I can try some very easy running, then gradually build things up.

Not sure how long it's going to take but realistically I'm not going to be training anywhere near properly until at least Thanksgiving.

So San Jose half marathon is out, as is Cal International. If things go well, and I can start some training in December I should be able to get up to speed for the Kaiser Half marathon in early February, and perhaps build up in time to run Boston in April.

In the meantime I'm not sure there is much I can do to keep fit. There's not too much exercise that doesn't involve the abdomen. Swimming hurts, pool running hurts. Haven't tried biking but I expect that will hurt too.

So I'd better watch what I eat or I'm going to put some weight on. I was running about 10,000 calories/week, so if I don't eat 10,000 calories less I'm going to gain 4 lbs/week.

It's definitely a bummer, but probably a good thing in the long run. I was obviously going to increase training until something broke so perhaps this will get me training a little smarter when I return.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Plan

The California International Marathon (CIM) is 18 weeks from today in Sacramento. Assuming I am not sidelined by injury the plan is train hard for that and run a sub 3 (hopefully somewhere in the mid 2:50s).

I have chosen to follow a plan from Daniels - somewhat optimistically called the "Elite" plan. I am no elite, and I'm pretty sure an elite wouldn't be training the way that I train (certainly they wouldn't be training at the speeds I train), but Daniels has a bunch of conversions for people that are running marathons slower than 2:10. One weird thing is that it ends up based on time, not mileage, which is new to me.

You really need to be running comfortably near the peak mileage for a month or so before you start, which fits well with the July I just ran. First 6 weeks are all lower mileage (70-90% peak) so you can absorb the impact of adding in the quality workouts. I'm running this first phase with a set of paces based on a 3:01:39 marathon, 1:27:04 half (VDOT 53)- After 6 weeks I'll run a race/time trial to see if I should adjust these for teh next 6 weeks(hopefully faster, not slower) - there's another checkpoint at 12 weeks.

Basic plan is 2 quality workouts a week, Q1 and Q2. Q1 is Sunday, and is a long run incorporating a lot of marathon pace and also tempo pace. Q2 is midweek and is faster stuff, with a lot of mile repeats, 1,000s, 400s and also plenty of tempo pace. He likes to have multiple paces within each run which should be interesting (assuming it doesn't kill me). Throw in some strides 2 days before Q1 and 1 day after, and the rest is just easy 8:00 miles, with enough doubles to make up the total for the week.

I set my peak at 110 miles and kicked it off today (weeks start Sunday). It's an 80% week, so 88 is the plan. Today was my first Q1 - this was the planned workout:
- warmup - 12 minutes easy (8:09)
- 30 minutes at marathon pace (6:56)
- 5 minutes at tempo pace (6:32)
- 25 minutes at marathon pace
- 5 minutes at tempo
- 5 minutes at marathon pace
- cooldown - 12 minutes easy.
total would be just over 13 miles, but I planned to spend a little longer in the warmup/cooldown to get the total up to 16-17.

After a 25 minute warmup I kicked off the first MP session and ran for 30 minutes at exactly 6:56. Felt OK. First tempo session was at 6:31 pace, and was OK, but noticeably harder effort than MP. Dropping back to MP was difficult, I couldn't get on steady pace and kept going too fast, eventually got it together and ran the 25 mins at 6:54. Next tempo was a hard transition (was slightly uphill too) but held on for 6:30. Final 5 minutes at MP was OK but again I struggled with pace and it ended up fast at 6:47. Ran 4 miles cooldown for a 16.75m total. An interesting workout, certainly very different than just running at a constant pace. I think the transitions in/out of MP will be good once I get a little better at them.

I like overall the structure of the plan, with just 2 quality workouts/week and then a lot of flexibility on where the other miles fit. The mix of paces will probably help, since I know that all out track sessions like 20x400m are going to kill me. Hopefully the changing pace will be a little easier on me. Guess I'll find out.

So the plan is set: 166 runs, 1,572 miles, 18 weeks with 1 run and 16.75 miles done.