Here’s the 3rd part in Mike’s training, as he shares how to come back from running injuries:
Last week I took it back a notch, in prep for a small trail running 5k at the end of Week 2. High Frequency (HF) training is what I’m championing in this series - shorter distance runs that are done more frequently. But this time for Week 3, I only had 3 days of training.
In Week 2, I had 5 days of training. In Week 1, I had 6 days of training. So what gives? Why are we going backwards?
1 Step Backwards
A couple of reasons - racing, and a brief injury relapse. On Saturday, the final day of week 2, I competed in one of the last trail races of the year. It was a last chance to get a race in before the snow and ice gives us more limited options. I didn’t treat this trail race competitively, but I still treated it like a race. What’s the difference?
It means to use it as a gauge of progress, instead of setting out for a PB or the aim to win… 5k races are perfect for that! Actually, I could do a whole series on why racing middle distance is better for your running progress and more exciting, rather than simply joining the long distance marathon bandwagon that is so hot right now. But we’ll get to that another time.
For those that haven’t been exposed to the thrill but calm sensation of trail running amongst the trees, well, the disadvantage is that muscle soreness is more frequent. Running offroad is equivalent to running twice the distance on a paved surface.
Also, leading into the 5k trail race my left foot was already starting to feel the strain of a new running program. Because this was one of the main injuries that put me out of action this year, I’m now more in tune with a mere twang of sensitivity, rather than waiting for blatant pain. So I decided to take some consecutive rest days this week, seeing as rest is essentially the only thing to repair a stress fracture.
Ever feel the same way? Taking a whole rest week is the hardest thing to do! You instantly feel 20 pounds heavier than everybody else (even though you’re not putting on that much, or even any amount of weight in such a short amount of time).
So what did this mean for Week 3? Sweet, sweet, recovery. No interval training. No strength training. This is one of those things where we take 1 step backwards to take 2 steps forwards.
Originally I intended to take a whole week’s rest, to completely recharge the leg muscles and to remove any sign of inflammation in the foot at all. Only that I took a bigger step backwards than planned. That’s fine, we have to be flexible when coming back from injuries.
Week 3 Training
Enough of the excuses, here are my training logs from the past week of November 17-23:
- SUN: Long run - 12.5km
- MON: Rest
- TUE: Rest
- WED: Rest
- THU: Tempo run - 5k #Hope4Philippines5k virtual race, plus 3km warm up.
- FRI: Rest
- SAT: Trail run - 5k easy paced
I ended it with a mild trail run with Alison on Saturday. But it still knocked me out. Here’s before and after that mild run (the pink rug is not mine, I swear):
Minimal stuff for week 3. Ideally you should wait until the end of a typical 8-12 week cycle to reduce your training by so much. Luckily this is a blog on how to come back from injuries! :) By stripping back mid-program, I’m forcing you to always be flexible in your training. You should never blindly follow a training program, listen to your body…and your physio.
You might have noticed the #Hope4Philippines5k virtual race on Thursday. That was something for a good cause of raising money for the Philippines typhoon relief. I couldn’t ignore this. I didn’t run it as a race, but more of a tempo run with my wife Alison:
My legs have been starting to feel muscle soreness over the past week, for the first time in a few months. Massaging, icing, stretching, foam rolling, etc, will play a bigger part in our training from here on.
I don’t want to give the illusion that everything’s great, in the way that other blogs filter out the bad stuff that doesn’t make them look like superman. Everything isn’t great. My legs are sore way too early, and I don’t even know if I’ll get through the whole 8 weeks without getting injured again. Without making progress.
However, I’m a big believer that nothing is worth doing unless it’s done honestly, and this blog is a reflection of that. We’re kind of in an age of unconditional openness and transparency, embrace it.
In week 4, we are going to be stepping up the frequency of runs again!
- Mike Post