Running with Zach – March
Running with Zach – March
Count: 88 days (3 Months) down. 2 States – CO, KS.
As promised, this article will largely focus on the details of running every day. While the two prior articles were essentially structured around the nature of what it feels like to run everyday (along with miscellaneous add-ons and extremely cute pictures of my son), this month’s edition is going to be for all you running analysts out there. I believe we all know the type. This is for those of us who have to know EXACTLY how many miles per gallon were achieved on the latest road trip, EXACTLY how many pennies were saved by combining coupons clipped from a milieu of local and national advertisement flyers, or EXACTLY how many jelly beans were in that damn jar.
To begin with, I’d like to discuss my health. We’re looking fairly quiet on the injury front – I’ve definitely seen quite a few instances of soreness, some strains, and even an overuse issue that’s slowly coming on right now. I’ve figured out ways to combat most of my problems. My training log reveals the following issues worth mentioning:
1.) Stress Fracture: Flare up pain from the stress fracture in my left foot. It comes on strong during colder temperatures, and tends to fade away after a few minutes of running, only to come back when I stop. Yes, I know there are those of you who will loudly proclaim “that’s plantar fasciitis!” This has been diagnosed by an ACTUAL doctor, so zip it.
2.) Calves: Muscular pain in my lower calves, stemming from getting back into the barefoot regime, and moving too quickly into hill workouts. One day I had some fairly severe cramps from a combination of lack of hydration and an overly ambitious trail run in brand new barefoot shoes.
3.) Heel to Forefoot Muscles, underside of both feet: Here’s the plantar fasciitis, for all of you who were indignantly still pondering item number one. This can lend varying degrees of pain to different people. Thankfully, my pain is minimal here, and only rears it’s ugly head when I step up mileage or intensity too quickly.
4.) Right Knee: Still working this one out. I’ve recently stepped up my daily mileage to my distance limit – 10 miles. Given that most of my workouts have been on treadmills so far this year, I believe it’s largely a combination of increased mileage on pavement. Also, I’ve strengthened my form, which allows for a decrease in need for pronation correction. This pain is far worse when running in the wrong shoes.
5.) Toe: I have one black toe. It’s starting to fade, but came largely from an ill-fitting pair of shoes I tested one week. It’s starting to fade now, and I’m glad. Some runners lose toenails because their average running week tops 100 miles. For all the rest of us, however: just switch shoes. Trust me, it’s worth it to avoid losing the toenail.
The reason I’m so careful to note these issues in my training log is to keep site of the fact that running isn’t just a walk in the park. Yes, running can be for everyone, but it isn’t without pain. I’ve heard of far too many people who take up running only to quit a week later because it hurts. If I see an issue start to creep up every time I run and become increasingly painful, I find ways to combat this specific issue; I don’t quit running. Please don’t read this and believe that I’m advocating running through any and every injury – I’m merely advocating to listen to your body, keep things in perspective, and understand that there is a difference between being “sore” and being “injured.”
As I’ve mentioned before, a large component to this venture are the different types of running that I undertake during a typical week. As I’ve chosen to measure myself in chunks of time (as opposed to distance), all of my workouts show the time amount I ran first. Last night, I ran 3.9 miles in 30 minutes (only because I know the course do I know the mileage). Two days prior, I ran 2.8 miles in thirty minutes. The important thing is that it’s a 30-minute minimum workout, consisting of continuous running. I also intimated that I have numerous treadmill days. This is largely due to two factors: 1. I run in the dark 5 days a week and 2. It’s March, and still cold at 5am. I don’t mind runs of 30 – 40 degrees and above, but I’m not a cold weather sort of runner. Plus, I’ve heard of runners who “slip” out for a cold weather run at 5am only to “slip” on an unseen piece of ice and “slip” a disc in their back. Ever run with a slipped disc? No, because you can’t. While that’s a fairly extreme scenario, it brings up a valid point – do you risk injury, or learn to tame your treadmill hatred?
I’ve done the latter, and found that it’s not only possible to tame it, it’s possible to appreciate it. First, treadmill workouts are great for maintaining pace. Without the aid of a fairly expensive GPS watch, it’s hard to be sure if you are ever on pace outdoors. Even if you meet your splits, you are still only reading an average pace of that mile. Second, treadmill workouts are easier on your knees/back/joints/ankles and so on and so forth. Even when the weather warms up and I can safely navigate runs in near darkness, I’ll still run recovery days indoors on a treadmill for that reason. Finally, (and certainly not least) I’ve learned to read while running. It wasn’t easy, and for those of you who need some sort of eye correction – get contacts. Trust me. It’s been very rewarding to read so many books in the past 2 months of running. It’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup – I combined two enjoyable activities into one. I’ve chosen mostly inspirational true stories about runners and running, but some time recently a rogue fiction novel snuck in.
So, without further ado, here’s a typical week of running with Zach:
|1.5 hrs at 9-10 min pace. concentrate on form through fatigue||30 min, slow pace (11-12min pace), recovery.||30 min, 10min per mile pace, 5 min warmup/cool down||45 min total – Includes 10 min warm up, 5 min cool down, 30 min at 8.5 min pace||Barefoot day, 45 min total. 10 min warmup easy, 30 minutes of fartleks, 5 minutes cool down||30 min, slow pace (11-12min), recovery.||1.0 hrs at 9-10 min pace.|
Keep in mind – this isn’t every week. I like to vary weeks in intensity and duration; some weeks I have three speed workouts instead of two, and when the weather warms a bit I’ll add hills as well. See you out on the road.