Pushing On Through HM Training
Monday, February 18, 2013
Last week I was a little concerned as I strained a calf muscle where it connects to the back of the knee. Every time I would stand up after sitting for a while, it hurt enough that I had to limp the first few steps. Once I would walk a few steps it felt fine, but a little tight. Running didn’t seem to make it worse and I was trying to decide whether or not I should continue to run on it. Since running didn't make it worse, I thought I would push it a little to see what would happen afterward, but if it gave me any trouble I would stop, or if it got worse, I would lay off of it for a few days.
I was scheduled to do speedwork on Tuesday – 1 mile of warm up, 3 x 1 mile sprints, followed by 1 mile cool down. I decided to scrap the idea of any speed and just go out and run easy for no more than 4 miles. It turns out that I only had about 2 miles in me, which had me pretty discouraged. However, when I woke up on Wednesday, the knee felt much better! I figured doing a little was better than doing nothing at all or doing too much. I had a tempo run scheduled for Thursday, but decided to put it off until Friday to give it a little more rest.
By Friday it was probably 95% better, but I decided that since I had 10 miles scheduled for Sunday with only 1 day of rest in between, that I would only do 3 miles. My 3 miles were slower than I wanted them to be, but that was fine. I did them and my time wasn’t horrible either. I had a nice run along the waterfront, and even though it was a little warm and humid, there was a light spritzy rain that kept things a little cooler than they would have been.
Usually the day before a long run of more than 10 miles, I like to take it easy and make sure I eat well. Well that didn’t happen as we had an underwater hockey party Saturday afternoon, and I indulged in a small cheeseburger, some cheesy potatoes, 2 beers, a few chips and salsa a few bites of venison steak, sausage, and jerky (I like venison but I don’t get it often), tossed salad, and fruit. I left the party around 5:00, and I knew I would be hungry later since I really didn’t eat a lot, but the stuff I ate wasn’t very healthy. On the way home I picked up a bunch of veggies and made a delicious vegetable soup that hit the spot later in the evening.
Living in Florida, I am used to running in 70+ degree weather and anything below that and I feel cold. As luck would have it, a cold front moved in Saturday evening, and I woke up to temps in the low 40s with a nice stiff wind and higher gusts. I putzed around for a couple of hours, not wanting to go out until the sun rose and warmed things up a bit, so it wasn’t until after 10:00 that I left the house wearing 3 layers of clothes (a sleeveless tech shirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, and a windbreaker vest. I tied a knit ski cap with ear flaps on my head (and of course a pom pom on the top) and donned my fleece gloves. I had on long running pants (I wear these maybe 3 or 4 times a year). It was about 50 degrees. I laughed at myself because I thought if any of my family from Michigan saw me, they would think I was crazy for putting so many clothes on.
Regardless, the wind was biting and blew right through the clothes. The good thing was that the wind was coming from the north/northwest, and I my route had me going east for 5 miles and then back west. The first 2.5 miles wasn’t bad because I had woods to my left which blocked most of the wind. The bad news was that I was sweating, and once I was running along the main road, there was nothing blocking the wind. But at least it was mostly at my back. The halfway point on this route is a grocery store, so I went in to fill up the water bottle and take a GU. The next 2.5 miles was tough as I had been sweating and was now running directly into the cold wind. I was chilled for about a mile but the wind was drying me off to some degree and it actually felt pretty good.
I did this run with a friend who is training for his first HM, and since I am pretty much starting over training myself, I wanted to keep it to no faster than a 12:00-11:30 pace. We started off at 12:30 which was good, and after a couple of miles we picked it up a bit. Coming back was a little slower at first, but we wound up with negative splits. I have been trying to teach my friend that he needs to slow down at the beginning of a distance race, because he will need something for the end. This was the longest he has ever run, and for most of the other distances longer than 3 or 4 miles he takes walk breaks. He usually runs those alone so it’s easier for him to walk.
I usually like doing my long runs alone because I like the time to myself. However, I wanted to run this one with him because I wanted him to get a sense of what it’s like to run a long distance without walk breaks and also what controlling your pace at the start will give you at the end. I knew he would pace me, and as long as he wasn’t hurting I knew he wouldn’t stop as long as I kept running. After the run he commented that he was glad he took it easier at the beginning. From his perspective he felt that the payoff would be that during the HM he would still be running in the higher miles as others started walking. I told him that it didn’t matter what others were doing, just that he kept moving, but I guess if your goal is to run when others are walking that’s as good any goal!
I was pretty sore after the run, especially my right hip. I have had problems with it in the past, but this was pretty bad. Other parts of my legs were also hurting, so I think it’s time for new shoes. I am only mildly sore today, but I haven’t run 10 miles in over 6 months so some soreness is expected.
A couple of weeks earlier my friend learned the importance of fueling during long runs. He was doing an 8 mile run and only took a 16 oz bottle of water with him. I knew the run would take him over 1.5 hours and it was a warm and humid morning. Since he ocean swims every morning with his buddies, and didn’t want to give that up, he left the house at 7:00 and ate a granola bar on the way to the beach. He then did a 1 mile swim, got a coffee, and drove back to the house and then started his run. He ate nothing else!
That morning I started my run while he was out swimming, and was almost done when I passed him as he was heading out. I saw that he didn’t have much water and I felt concerned. I finished up my run, showered, and then grabbed a power bar and a bottle of water. I drove along the route and found him about 2 miles from home with barely a swig of water left and sweating profusely. He ate the bar and drank some water and said he couldn’t believe how much better he felt. Since then he is more cognizant about fueling properly and taking enough water. I suspect the whole “I don’t need food or water” to be a macho thing, but I think he’s getting over that and becoming more sensible.
We talked a little bit about fueling and I told him that most people will take a gel at about the 6 mile mark and that's it. I pointed out to him that he is a calorie burning machine, so he may need to fuel around 4 miles and again around 8 or 9, but that's something that he needs to experiment around with during training. He IS listening and finally taking the training seriously, so I think he will have a good HM experience.