After writing yesterday’s post about my 2015 goals, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what my next steps will be. Should I sign up for a half marathon? A full marathon? Wait a bit longer and continue on as I’ve been doing for a little while? How will I make sure that I can take what I have learned over the past 6 months and use it to my advantage in my future training?
I’m starting this post without knowing exactly where I will be going with it; hence, a perfect opportunity to think out loud for a minute!
If you were to ask me what led to my injury earlier this year, I wouldn’t quite know how to respond. I don’t even have an easy way to explain what my injury actually was! (A mild left hip flexor and adductor strain and a tight right piriformis with some SI joint issues mixed in there?) Over the past few months I think I have figured out what happened, and how to prevent it from happening again, but there’s no way to really know for sure.
I’ve been in this situation before. I recovered from an injury and swore that I would never let it happen again. I thought I was doing everything right the next time, yet something else would eventually come up. How will I do things differently this time around as to not continue the cycle?
Know my own weaknesses and what I need to do to address them
I can easily point out the areas of my body that are the most likely to get tight. These are the areas I need to really focus on my with foam rolling and such, and have my chiro check in on those spots when I go in for tune-ups. I also know that I need to keep up with my strength training, specifically my postural muscles, glutes, and core.
The tight spots/weak spots are very much connected. When my stability is off, I use the wrong muscles. Those muscles get tight, pull things out of alignment, and its a recipe for disaster.
Here’s the tricky part- when my right piriformis get’s tight it reduces my glute function on that side, which makes my left hip flexor work harder. So it become a vicious cycle!
Don’t overdo the recovery
You may be wondering what the heck I am talking about with this, but let me explain. In the past when my pirformis got tight I would stretch it all the time and foam roll it like crazy. That was what I was told to do by my PT (who was very knowledgeable and meant well, I would like to add, but my situation was really confusing). When I was evaluated by a different PT in the same clinic he suspected that the tight muscles on my left side were pulling my SI joint out of alignment, and that was causing my right piriformis to tighten up in an effort to balance things out. When I kept stretching it I was just pulling myself more out of alignment. Now, when I notice any signs that those things are happening again I focus on relaxing my left hip muscles, and do some light foam rolling for the right side. This usually gets things to balance out on their own pretty quickly.
Too much of anything is rarely a good thing.
Also, this is a good read about foam rolling.
Take things one day at a time, but keep the big picture in mind
It’s so tempting to find or create a training plan, and want to follow it EXACTLY how it’s written. I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I can check all prescribed workouts off my list. I have found that lately I am still doing workouts and alternating hard and easy days and keeping up with a solid plan, but it’s not something I write down in the beginning of the week. I come up with an idea of what days I will probably run, but nothing is carved in stone. I move things around based on weather, traveling, how I am feeling etc.
The tricky part will be doing this while actually training for a race. But the more I think about it the more I know it can be done. I just need to be patient and remember that I can still train sufficiently even when I don’t get in all the workouts I planned.
Don’t worry about what other people think, and be willing to make changes
When people learn that I am training for a marathon, or any race, they often ask questions about my training and how much I am running and stuff like that. There are a few coworkers who every day would ask how many miles I ran that morning. I may even talk about having a 20 miler coming up that weekend, and then they ask about how it went the following Monday. It’s great to have that kind of support, but there is also a feeling of letting people down if I don’t do what I say I’m going to do. This can even be said for blogging. We don’t want to let our blog friends/readers down if we don’t do the workout we planned.
This may mean that I will be more vague about my training and plans (both in real life and on the blog)…which will also be due to not having a definite plan anyway! It will also mean being willing to change race plans if necessary. Flexibility is not my strong suit, but it is a key piece to this puzzle.
Be willing to give up miles for some other stuff
Now that I no longer have a gym membership, my cross-training options will be extremely limited. However, I don’t think I benefited all that much from biking or using the elliptical. I think if I opt for an extra rest day if I need it, or use that time to strength train or do yoga, I will be even better off. Those things will be important in staying healthy. If my body is telling me is needs some downward dog time, then that will be more beneficial than doing a few extra miles.
So, what’s the plan?
I’m not sure if I mentioned this yet, but Rob is already signed up for the Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa on November 22nd. We are planning to coordinate it with a trip to see his sister’s family in Arkansas. So the question for me is, will I do the half or the full (or neither)? Well, as of right now I am going to give myself some more time to decide about that. I hope to decide by early August so I will have enough time to train.
I am also planning to sign up for the Baltimore half-marathon on October 17th. I won’t follow a specific plan for this race, but I think if I keep doing what I am doing and build my mileage a bit more I will be ready for this.
Prior to that, I have 2 other races already on the calendar: The Dreaded Druid Hills 10k at the end of August and the Charles St 12 at the beginning of September. Again, I don’t think I necessarily need to “train” for these races but continue with what I am doing and build up my long run so I can comfortably complete 12 miles. (There may also be another 5k next weekend but we are still deciding if we are up for suffering through the heat like last time.)
Lately, my weeks have involved 1 rest day, 1-2 strength days, 1 longer run, 1 harder run, and 2-3 easy runs. Also a few sessions of core work and a yoga class every 1-2 weeks. I think I will be able to take that plan and modify it each week based on my goals and how I am feeling. I have also been running a lot more hills now that I moved, and I think that is helping my strength quite a bit too, so I will be keeping that up.
Thanks to all of you (and Amanda, of course!) for allowing me to think out loud about that!
How have you learned from the past with your running and training?
Have you found yourself making the same mistakes over and over?