Sunday, July 22, 2012

Getting back to marathon shape! And other random running thoughts

As I'm getting back into running regularly again in the marathon train-up, I felt the urge to share some random thoughts...

Yesterday I ran a little over twelve miles for the first time since the marathon I ran in April.  Training back up again has been a rough road.  And I certainly don't like the stage of getting back into shape after I've been out of shape.  It's slightly depressing to have twelve miles as my longest run and actually be SORE when a few months ago, twelve miles might have been a part of a step-back week.  And those twelve miles weren't particularly fast either!  Part of that was because of the type of terrain I was on.  This one was mostly trail, and the trails weren't graceful dirt paths either, they were bumpy, muddy type trails.  Perhaps that's why my legs felt it more :)  However, I WILL say that this was the first longer run where I felt good.  My legs were getting tired at the end, but it wasn't my breathing, or injury that was hard on this one.  It was normal muscle pain that people get when they run for long periods of time.

That's another difficult thing... getting back into the distance-running mindset withOUT getting hurt again.  It seems to be one extreme or the other.  Either I am too careful and make no gains because I'm afraid every little ache/pain is an oncoming injury, or I just ignore the pain until I can no longer ignore it.  I am actually still dealing with some remnants of my ITBS (Illiotibial Band Syndrome... i.e., pain the a** injury that affects the outside of my knee... it's the first real injury I'd had back my freshman year at West Point, and it's come and gone several times since then), and some tendinitis in my right foot.  The ITBS comes and goes as it pleases, and as I learned while I was at West Point, even taking months off doesn't seem to make it better, so I've learned to deal with it, and it's actually getting better.  I've been good about doing my physical therapy exercises (I wasn't so good about it the first time I got this injury because I didn't understand all of the biomechanical stuff that went along with that injury), and I take time off if it seems to be getting worse.  More than a couple of days doesn't seem to help much though...  I also got some Pennsaid from my doctor - it's a topical anti-inflammatory that is usually prescribed for Osteoarthritis of the knee, but can be used for other things too!  It seems to be working well.  Anyway, I digress.  Getting back into the distance mindset... I've found it really hard for me to want to keep going when I start getting tired.  Part of it IS me being cautious and trying to just build a base back up again (which should be mostly easy miles) and part of it is being unaccustomed to the pain that does come with distance running.  No matter how fit you are, when you push your body, it's going to hurt.  It's a good kind of hurt if it's just your muscles and maybe your breathing if your cardio system isn't in great shape yet (that's where walking a little comes in if you're really out of shape!)  Fortunately, I've been through all of this before and know that it does get better.  I like wearing my heart rate monitor and seeing how my average heart rate is dropping during my runs.  It's always a little high, but it's getting lower on my regular runs - hooray for progress! :)

This next week is going to be a step-back week for me, unless I feel really amazing next weekend, I don't plan on doing a long run.  I only did 27 miles this week (so far... I may go for a walk or bike ride later), but that's more than I've done since I did my marathon.  My cardio system is starting to respond better again, and I don't feel so out of breath anymore.  My runs are getting enjoyable again, so it's hard for me to "step back."  BUT, I have to keep reminding myself that it's always around the times I feel best that I get hurt because I tend to want to keep going.  And I DID feel some foot/knee pain yesterday.  It all went away when I was done, but it was definitely there more than some of the other days, which tells me that this next week should be a recovery week to let my muscles recover before I start building up again :)  If I wasn't so injury-prone I'd probably do more, but I'd rather be able to comfortably run this next marathon (as comfortable as a marathon is, anyways) than have to stop every half a mile to stretch out my IT Band.  I'd also like to be able to run the marathon in decent shape, not after having to stop for weeks at a time because I'm hurt.  I think I'll probably go into this one in better shape if I don't push too hard and can train consistently as opposed to pushing too hard and having to take a bunch of time off (I had to stop running for 2-3 weeks at a time twice in my last training cycle and only got in one 20 miler because of it).

Another random thought: running shoes!  I was thinking about how I used to sprain my ankles a LOT and I don't anymore.  Very very rarely do I hurt my ankles, even with trail running.  There are times that I will twist them, yes.  I did yesterday, and had to walk for a short period of time, but it wasn't a sprain, just some mild discomfort that went away.  That's normal on trails.  I think it has to do with the lower shoes that I wear now.  I realized that my shoes make a difference when I ran in more "traditional" higher-off-the-ground shoes a year or so ago and almost immediately hurt my ankle.  I tend to supinate (opposite of over-pronate), though it's funny because for years I wore shoes for over-pronation and was always hurting my ankles.  This, of course, was when someone would look at your arch height and say what type of shoes you need  based on your arch.  Of course I sprained my ankles on a regular basis - I had something on the inside of my ankles pushing my ankle out more than I all ready was naturally.  Even with completely neutral/no support shoes, all the wear on my shoes is on the outside portion near my forefoot (yay, no heel striking!)  Of course, over-supination isn't good either... I'm sure it has something to do with my constant knee issues, and that's where the physical therapy comes in to strengthen those weak muscles that aren't doing a good job controlling what my legs are doing.  I've also been working a lot on getting my "pose" technique down.  I've found I'm good at it for short distances, but once I move to longer distances, my form gets really sloppy.  I like the technique though, because it emphasizes a very quick turnover rate, and the quicker my legs turnover, the less time I spend on the ground, and the less things hurt.  That's how I overcame my tendinitis last year when I got the injury in my right foot... I focused a lot on keeping my feet off the ground, and it worked pretty well.  I do it now, too.  When I feel my tendinitis acting up, I focus on getting my feet off the ground quickly, and the pain goes away pretty quick.  It also helps with my IT band pain.  Though the ITBS is more related to motion than it is to impact (hence why I need to be careful with what types of cross training I do when I'm having an ITBS flare-up).

Anyways, another rambling post from the mind of me :)  I should probably do something productive now....


No comments:

Post a Comment