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Rehab Musings

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The past week, I got in two sessions of walk/run intervals, as recommended by my physical therapist a week ago. Because my feet don't feel totally healthy, I tried to work more on running form than on speed. That resulted in intervals that were probably run too fast, and possibly somewhat improved form. There are lots of aspects to good form, described in different ways depending on who is writing about it. I can't concentrate on all the parts of good form at once, so this week I concentrated on having a shorter stride, and on having a foot strike that doesn't hurt. I have been running in my lightweight shoes, Saucony Mirages. (The guy at the local running store described them as a transitional shoe between a traditional running shoe like the Brooks Adrenaline and a minimalist shoe. For now, they're light enough for me.)

Today is Tuesday, a work from home day. After PT in the morning, I decided that I not only felt good enough to do walk/run intervals at noon, but I would try expanding the running intervals from one minute to a minute and a half. Once more, I concentrated on keeping a short stride and a foot strike that doesn't hurt.

I completed 7 cycles of walk 3, run 1.5 for a total distance of 3.17 miles and an average pace of 9:58 per mile. Got my stretching done, and the feet weren't immediately demanding ice; I gave them some ice later on anyway. So far, so good. Tomorrow I'll find out if I have a bad day after reaction to 10.5 minutes of running, up from 8 minutes of running on Sunday.

I've noticed a few things this week about rehab. In no particular order:

It has been my custom to do light jogging in my hallway while breakfast is in the microwave. That's one minute for the scrambled egg, and 2.5 minutes for the first shot at the steel cut oats. I've done this barefoot, except when the feet hurt too much to do it. This week, I discovered that I can do the hallway jogging in the light shoes sometimes when I can't barefoot. It's a minor nuisance to get shoes on that early, but if it helps me not aggravate the feet, it's worth it.

Right now, walk/run intervals are working better for me that run/walk intervals. Start the cycle walking, end it running. This puts a running interval at the end of the workout, which makes the wimpy intervals feel more like running. I get an untimed walking cooldown, and it's natural to go into my stretching afterward. When I had the running interval first and finished walking, the workout felt more like walking and there was the temptation to skip the stretches. Yeah, it's a stupid mind trick; but if it works, I'm not ashamed to use it.

Rehab is reminding me of a bull market on Wall Street. The saying is that a bull market climbs a wall of worry, and that's exactly what rehab feels like. If I look back, there is slow, up and down progress. But at any given time, the current state looks worrisome.

Strength training is important, but it's easy for me to overdo things. I can lift three days a week for two weeks. By the third week, my body starts telling me that's too much. Absent other fitness priorities, I think my body would like lifting every third day; but that doesn't work well on a seven day schedule. I think I'm going to be struggling with weight lifting scheduling for quite a while, dancing between not doing enough and doing too much. I hope I can figure out how much is enough without being too much.

Life happens. The past week, much of my focus has been in areas other than fitness and nutrition. I've been able to eat to plan anyway, and I think I've got enough activity in; but fitness is something I'll need to pay some attention to, even when my major attention is elsewhere. Blogging on SparkPeople can take a back seat to other stuff, but I can't let myself become sedentary.

The Rochester Marathon is September 22. There's no way I'll be ready for even the half marathon on that date. I might not even be ready for a 5K by then. But the possibility is there that I could be ready for a 5K by mid October, and a 10K by Thanksgiving. That gives me something to hope for, while I'm busy worrying about doing too much and setting my progress back.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALDEBARANIAN 9/4/2013 9:53PM

    Keep up the good work. :)

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MEXGAL1 9/4/2013 7:40PM

    rehab can be so slow..finding that out with my FIL and his back surgery recovery. Sending lots of positive thoughts for a quick recovery.

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PLMITCH 9/4/2013 3:16PM

    Good luck with the process. I'm thinking 5K for October as well, but it depends on what the Orthopedic Dr says next Tuesday.

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SPINNINGJW 9/4/2013 8:27AM

    Hang in there, Kevin. You let the problem fester for some time before seeking professional help. Now you need to have the patience to give it the time it needs to be back where you want it. You are doing what you can, and you are listening to your body and the PT, so you are on the right track.
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OPTIMIST1948 9/3/2013 10:11PM

    Listen to your body! If 3x week weight lifting is too much, then plan on taking that 4th week (when you are starting to hear from your body) as a rest week and only go 2x times. Progress is incremental.

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MJREIMERS 9/3/2013 9:57PM

    Rehab can be "painfully" slow, but is necessary. I'm glad you are listening to your body and doing what is right for it.

You sound a bit like me. We have to modify our running style if we want to keep running at all. I still have to walk the hills, but if it keeps me running, I'll gladly power walk them every time!

Hang in there and keep at it. Slow and steady makes a successful recovery!

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/3/2013 9:46PM

    What the DogLady said, rehab has been a long and arduous process for you. But you have a level of determination and never give up in you that serves you well, whatever the project! Well done... and keep on keeping on!

Your "little" big sis, in the meantime, is about as pumped as pumped could be for that Double Half Mary, a short four days away... I figure if I can hold myself to 12 minute miles on average the first day, I'll have the gas to finish the second day. That's about a 2:37 half marathon, which I've done twice, once with 1:1 intervals. I'm thinking that might be how I go about it... try to stick to the 1:1's.

Wish me luck. This is DOABLE. I can't wait for your joyful blog the next time you're rehabbed enough to sign up for an official event again!

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DOGLADY13 9/3/2013 9:32PM

    Wow. A lot in this blog.

My husband switched a few years ago to lightweight shoes. He wasn't ready to go all the way to the vibram soled shoes. He stayed with lightweight and hasn't had an achilles injury since. With the more traditional shoes, he was constantly injuring his achilles.

The podiatrist has been on me about not being barefoot or in flip flops. I'm not one to walk around barefoot, but flip flops and slippers are my go-to shoes around the house. I have to say, my feet feel better when I wear a shoe with a slight heel. So wearing your shoes for the hallway jog may be beneficial.

I feel for you. Rehab has been a long, arduous process for you.



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