Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm Back...Now What?

I'm back to regular running with no pain.  It's a great place to be...and somewhere I'd like to stay for a long time.  This past week I ran four times (each run was 4-5 miles on local trails).  No pain.  No sore calf.  Heck, the calf isn't even tight anymore.  I think part of the extreme tightness was the muscle tensing to prevent more damage.  Anyway, I'm feeling good and ready to get back to training. I've learned my lesson--no speed work on the treadmill...especially in the winter when I haven't raced yet.  Of course, my running buddy Jeff pointed out that I had this same injury from the same root cause (running fast on treadmill) three years ago.  If I didn't learn my lesson then, what's different now?  Now that I'm back, what's next?

My primary goal is to increase endurance and stay injury-free.  Quickness can take a back seat...hopefully it'll naturally come with an improvement in aerobic capacity. I have a 50-mile trail race on April 9 (Potawatomi Trail Run) so I'd like to be fit enough to finish that race without undue stress on my body.  I believe there's enough buried conditioning in me that I just need to revive basic training and I'll be OK.  I can't move straight into long runs without risking injury.  Here is my 4-week plan leading up to the 50-mile race:

March 14-20
Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Wednesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Thursday: 5 mile easy trail run
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 5 mile easy trail run
Sunday: 10 mile hilly trail run
TOTAL = 30 miles
All runs within my MAP (115-135) or MEP (135-145) heart rate zones.  I simply set my HR monitor to beep when I exceed 145.  Anything under that is fine.  Any beeping and I immediately walk.

March 21-27
Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Wednesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Thursday: 5 mile "speedy aerobic" run (145-165 heart rate)
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 10 mile easy trail run (or combine with Sunday run for a single 20 mile run/walk)
Sunday: 10 mile hilly trail run or hike (or 20 mile run/walk)
TOTAL = 35 miles
Except for the Thursday "up-tempo" run, all others are in my basic aerobic HR range (115-145).

March 28-April 3
Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Wednesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Thursday: 7.5 mile tempo trail run (145-165 HR zone)
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 10 mile hilly trail run
Sunday: 10 mile easy trail run
TOTAL = 37.5 miles

April 4-April 10
Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Wednesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Thursday: 5 mile tempo trail run (145-165 HR zone)
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 50 mile race!
Sunday: OFF
TOTAL =  65 miles

Notice the simple nature of this schedule?  Ever heard of the KISS principle?  Keep-It-Simple-Stupid.  Since I referred to myself as stupid in a recent post ("I'm a Stupid Runner"), I figured I should develop a no-thinking easy plan for the next month.  Lots of simple 5 and 10 mile runs all within a certain HR zone.  I'm missing the true long runs, but that's OK.  I don't have time and I'm not going to jeopardize my recovery.  If needed, I can take extra time to finish the 50 miler...there is a concurrent 100 mile race so my "cut-off" time for the 50 miles is 34 hours.  I could take a nap and still finish the 50 within race limits!  The key to this plan working is to hold-back on every run and keep below target heart rate limits.  I need to run and recover.  Run and recover. Run and recover.  If the weather warms up, I'll get in some barefoot walking too.  That'll strengthen my feet and let me feel connected to the trails.

3 comments:

Michael said...

Chris, Welcome back, and I enjoy reading your posts as well as sympathize with you. I train exactly as you do, and my MEP is just slightly lower than yours. I do feel the temptation to run faster, only because I feel most runners run only by pace, and I feel I'm in the minority with what I do. However, I have never been injured, and my ability to run greater distances within the same time frame and hr constantly improves. Keep posting.

jeff said...

nice simple program....maybe barefoot walk/run a couple miles on monday and friday (when warmer, if that ever happens) what's your pace at your high end aerobic rate of 145??...as you know I've found it hard to stay under the max HR, it takes great patience

Chris said...

Michael,
Good to have a fellow HR enthusiast that works with the Maffetone (and/or Mittleman) plans. I'll keep posting if you keep reading!

Jeff,
I'll do a MAF test soon and that will give me a good idea of my "maximum aerobic function pace." It'll be _much_ higher than yours, buddy! I need to hold back on my runs and keep to this pan all spring. I've enjoyed my runs lately and my pace isn't that slow...and it'll keep getting faster. I'll incorporate barefoot walking and running when the weather warms up.