Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On to "plan B" for Eugene & some trail pics

I finally am regaining some confidence in running this week!

Nobody wants to take a break in training for a planned A race, and while I don't realistically think I will reach my "A" goal at Eugene, I am feeling more optimistic than last week. A decent tempo run will do that.

The hardest part of returning to running after an injury is wondering if you are really ready to be running yet. Right next to that is feeling the strain of running slower than usual, yet getting fatigued earlier into a run than before the injury. At least, that is my history.

Prior to this little speed-bump (which accumulated to: intermittent running for a few weeks and six solid days off),  since getting serious with running, I have had a 5 week layoff to have baby #3, and the three week layoff last Feb/March. Both times I found my aerobic fitness to be exactly where I left off, but my muscles either confused, or very slack. The biggest adjustment (this time, as well as in other layoffs), has been in my calves and hamstrings, which were probably doing more than their usual running load at first. As my knee has improved, I have been able to flex more and use the quads and hips more.

Filbert (hazel nut) orchard- I think!. Bark turned to small gravel here.
The trail run in Eugene was a fun test. Picture bark path, some very soggy sections, but overall, very well maintained (by Oregon Track Club members). I was able to run in my Brooks Launch shoes (thanks to a tip by this blogger), and never got stuck.

What was interesting to me was that on trail, running the same pace as on the road- or slower, my heart rate was an average of 10 points higher- about 151, vs ~140 (it would have felt very sloppy to slow down any more). This makes me wonder if trail running makes for poor recovery (comparing recovery heart rates here), or if it's just a better aerobic workout on a gentler surface. I should also note that it feels gentle- as long as you don't hit a funny bump or get one foot stuck.


Pileated Woodpecker
Pre's trail is what I'd call an "urban trail", bark path, gravel, dog park, near a parking lot, not too far from Starbucks.
Home on the mill race with a few Oregon Ducks.

A new stretch I discovered for peroneal tendons, which seem to be chronically tight on me.
 On Monday my knee was feeling pretty good, so I tested out some very short spurts of faster running- one near marathon pace, one near HM pace, and another at near 5k. There was no pain with it (though there is still a noticeable tightness), and no pain the next morning, so I made a stab at some tempo yesterday. 

I had no false expectation of my pre-injury threshold/tempo pace of 6:42. Something in the 7's pain free would be great. And at any moment of pain I planned to shut it down. The result? Three miles of warm up, followed by stretching of calves, glutes, hips, hamstrings and light on the quads. Then another mile of warm up and then 5 miles @ 6:59 6:59 6:57 6:52 6:55 and .64@ 6:50 . The best part is knowing I had "faster" and "farther" still in there.

(Click to enlarge)
So I am working on a "Plan B" now. Seeing as how I am still a little gun shy and my knee is still not 100%, I don't plan to go mileage crazy. It does seem imperative that I get in some long runs before Eugene, though. "How frequently to do them?", and "When should I start to taper?", those are the questions I have. The answers are coming day by day.

**
Just something fun I am excited about:
 Meb, Lauren Fleshman, and Brad Hudson are all going to be guest speakers at the Eugene Marathon expo this year!

43 comments:

  1. Your recovering from injury speeds are amazing to me, but I know that feeling of frustration in not being where you were or want to be. I was off for a week, and then the first (short) run back felt like I'd never run before. I hope you stay healthy and figure out what you need to do for training from here on out.

    Your trail, though, how beautiful! I think trail running is definitely more demanding, but way more fun.

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    1. Thanks Kate- you are very kind. I really had a great time there! I love running in Eugene.

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  2. I saw your tempo workout and was thrilled for you!! I never know how you feel exactly just from reading your data on your training tab but I thought it was great especially considering your injury and I was feeling so good for you. Been meaning to e-mail all day so happy to see your post. So excited to see you pick things up again here. Love ya!

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    1. Ah, Yes. I am good with this, really! I think for the time I would rather run slower than T pace and stay on the safe side anyway :) Love you too!

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  3. Looks like those trails could use a few hills! I'm glad your knee is feeling better. Good luck with the rest of your training!

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    1. Ha! That's EXACTLY why I chose this trail. Hills are NO good right now. I will let YOU have those, ultra guy.

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  4. Super happy you are back and super impressed with what a good coach you are to yourself. V disciplined. A couple of weeks and you will be back where you were. I agree about the mileage, too close to the marathon to go crazy. Yes, some long runs, 20-22. Also some more tempos and MP runs. I think your A goal is still achievable. Yes, do be careful with the muscles, this was my issue when I came back after my injury, my calves were v tight (the rest of me was fine bc I cross trained).

    The trail is way slower than the road, you don't get the bounce, hence the higher HR for a certain pain. Solution? Slow down, ignore the watch and go by HR or perceived effort. The trails is great for recovery in my opinion. I do at least 2 runs/week on trails and also in heavier more protective shoes.

    So Raina, my friend, you are back and you are going to have the marathon you want to have! Super excited for you. Wish I were there to cheer you on. Instead, I'll be stalking the computer:)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement my friend! And the suggestions :) ...Calves STILL tight. This went away right about a week before Boston last year.
      Have any tips on ignoring my watch?? :))

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  5. Ignoring the watch - leave it at home. It is freeing!!! Now that I do hard runs I am do run most of my recovery runs without a watch or HR. Love them! I keep reminding myself that the purpose of the run is to recover, and make me able to run well the next day. You can do it, you can do it!!!

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    1. I need stats afterwards!! This must be my real problem. haha
      Maybe I can fix it to just show HR on all screens and then take it off of auto-lap, though.

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  6. Im so happy for you and im so glad you are running again and i wish i was as wise as you when it comes to injury's..Maybe you can help me out in that area sometime. Congrads and im super happy you are better.

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    1. Thanks Robbin. I am not totally out of the woods, though. It's really hard to know how hard to push. And sometimes it's one step forward, two steps back...and re-evaluate.

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  7. I'm glad that you're taking it easy. And I wish I could be at Eugene to see Meb speak.

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    1. Well, you can still come! There is a 5k and a half too! :)

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  8. Glad your knee is feeling better! Sooooo, where exactly does it hurt? Feel free to pint me to a previous post that I didn't study close enough because my knee wasn't hurting.

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    1. Thanks Mike. :)
      Go back a couple of posts to March 10, "Countdown to Eugene & on the bench again"

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  9. Wow to your post-injury speed and yay for a knee that feels better! I hope the answers for your new plan come to you a little more each day. Sounds like you're getting back on track!

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  10. It appears the knee is listening to your wishes and deciding it's going to cooperate, let's hope it continues to do so! Very happy to hear that the run went really well...I bet you were smiling big after you saw those numbers :). I hope it will be 100% soon!

    That's pretty cool those amazing people will be at the expo! I expect you to fully stalk them and drool all over them!!

    Stay strong!

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    1. I was smiling...thanks Jill. We will see how things go from here. 100% would be nice.

      I will be doing plenty of drool/stalking :)

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  11. "The hardest part of returning to running after an injury is wondering if you are really ready to be running yet. Right next to that is feeling the strain of running slower than usual, yet getting fatigued earlier into a run than before the injury. At least, that is my history." YOu just peeked into my thought process. Pretty scarey.

    I dream of being able to put together the numbers you obtain, even when you are coming back froim injury. I can TOTALLY relate to the knee issue. Glad to read that your knee is starting to follow your heart. Looking forward to reading more of your progress to Eugene.

    The best part of this post, IMHO, is that your are in-tune and disciplined enough to follow through with was is working. Well done!

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    1. Well, we shall see if I really AM that disciplined and if this really was a good idea to do. It's just hard to tell sometimes until afterwards. Thanks for all the kind words.

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    2. I have no doubts for you. Looking forward to reading more.

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  12. I often go to plan B and then just carry on from there. I've been very fortunate with injury and has never struggled to get back to 100% All the best!

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    1. You have a great record Johann!

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  13. Those trail pics are beautiful! I have a question about your 5 week layoff to have baby # 3. Does that mean you ran up until you had your baby and then took off afterward? I'm in week 20 of my pregnancy and still running - feeling good most of the time. I just always wonder how long I'll be able to keep it up and what it will be like after I have the baby. If you have a minute (or a previous blog post), I'd love to read what you have to say!

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    1. Sent you an email. :)
      I think the main thing is that I kept going as long as I felt I could. I ran a 10k at week 36, but about a week later I was done, DONE running- no choice. Too painful.
      Keep up on your protein and calcium. Overload it!
      After the baby- aerobically I was very fit. My legs felt tired within a few miles, but it was regained within a few weeks. Mileage took a few months to rebuild. It goes by quickly though.
      It's totally worth it to go through the re-building- even if you have to take MONTHS off!

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  14. Glad to hear you're back at it and feeling so strong! I am so jealous of the trails near you... looks gorgeous.

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  15. This is really heartening, especially the part about how after your various lay-offs your aerobic fitness has consistently remained intact. That's the part I'm most worried about with my lay-off, especially since I'm allowed to do only minimal aerobic cross-training. I'm trying to keep it goosed by doing intervals, but 30 minutes every other day is pretty low....Fingers crossed that it's enough for maintenance.

    Great work on that tempo run! I'm sure Eugene will be a good race for you, even if it's a B-goal kind of thing. I'd love to see Meb speak again--I just finished his autobiography--a great one for injured runners to read.

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    1. You are going to be surprised at how well your lungs and heart hold up! Check out Jack Daniel's "Running Formula"- he has a section on how injury/layoff affects fitness over time.

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  16. You'll be amazed how fast it all comes back. I know from perhaps too much experience;) Believe in yourself and focus on just doing your best come race day and everything will take care of itself!

    Sooo glad things are picking back up for you!!

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    1. Thanks Adrienne! The mind does take care of a lot of these things doesn't it? I think Ryan hall said that 90% of his injuries were between his ears :) .. Sometimes I feel the same way!
      Congrats on your return as well!!

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  17. One thing that has worked well for me (and my coach Jill found this for herself too) is doing a 2 week taper rather than the usual 3 weeks. I do a final long run (20-22) exactly 2 weeks before. I did this for my PR race and was plenty strong by race day. And I'm not exactly young.

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    1. Thanks Paul! I did that last year for Boston- just didn't think I had any other choice the way things worked out.
      I might try that and/or a 10 day long run cycle for the rest of the time we have left.

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  18. Max knew the woodpecker immediately. I showed it to him and he immediately knew! Beautiful pics!

    I am so impressed with the way you're dealing with this little setback and your outlook on everything as I've told you. I could not be more overjoyed to see that super quality tempo in there!! How encouraging for you to see that and my heart FULL just knowing how that would make you feel!! Day by day is right but I just have a good feeling about you! A good feeling about this.

    I love trail for recovery. I almost always run ditches for recovery runs. I agree that HR may be up a little(haven't checked) but I still think the surface is a great option for recovery.

    I am SO jealous of your expo!!! I want to see Lauren Fleshman!!!!

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  19. Glad to hear you're on the mend.
    Pretty pics!
    I run trails most of the time and I find them to be much more of a workout than the road :)

    Barb
    My Running Shortz

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  20. What a relief that you're feeling better! Now the trick is not to push too hard, too soon. How nice of the woodpecker to stay in one place for the photo!

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  21. Meb has a poster in his house: "Raina comes to the 2012 Eugene Marathon".
    I am very glad that you feel better. You ran a very fast 5 ml. Beautiful trails and wonderful meetings with nice birds.

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  22. Beautiful pics! So hard to return after injury I am so sad I won't be able to run Eugene like I had planned and hoped. It was all going so well....and then not so much. Feet decided they were done. Ahhh, maybe next year! Good luck!

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  23. Injury is not fun.. i know. The pic's look so beautiful!! Thanks for a wonderful post.

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  24. Beautiful pictures!
    Good luck with the recovery :)

    ❀Barbara❀
    My Running Shortz

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