Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Less than 7 weeks to the Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

I hope everyone is taking advantage of the Holidays to get some extra mileage in, especially those of you in the Northeast enjoying record breaking December temperatures. In Portland we have been experiencing record amounts of December rainfall. Rain in December feels relentless on a normal year, so this has been particularly dreary, and I've only been here for half of it. Sun is in the forecast for the next week, however, and it will feel incredible! I only have to make it a few more weeks before heading down to Chula Vista for what will hopefully be nearly ideal training weather.

I am continuing to progress at a fairly rapid pace with another step up in volume and intensity last week. I was able to cross the 100 mile barrier for the first time in many months, and I did it over the course of 6 days. It is still a far cry from my 150 mile weeks in the past, but my daily average is approaching solid marathon training. With such a short build-up and a long ways to go in terms of fitness following the injury setbacks, the focus is on quality long runs at this point rather than overall volume. Last week saw two runs at 18+ miles, and that will continue in the coming weeks as well. I was particularly happy with my Sunday 20 mile effort as I was able to average in the 5:30s, feeling smooth, with a rain/snow mix and gusty winds. It was as close as I've been to my pre-injury self since the summer; I felt like Forest Gump busting free from his braces!

With only 6 and a half weeks to go until the trials, I still have a lot of ground to make up, but I am seeing tangible progress every week, and my confidence continues to grow. Even though I am feeling pressured by the lack of time, I am enjoying training more than ever after being stuck on the sidelines with back to back bone injuries. Thanks again for reading, and all the best in 2016!

Week 5 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 9 + drills and strides 5 40 minutes 14
Tuesday 6 x 2km w/2 min rest starting @ 4:54 pace down to 4:38 pace 4.5 18
Wednesday 10 6 1 hour 16
Thursday 12.5 + drills and strides 4.5 17
Friday 9.5 mile moderate run, 4 mile tempo @ 19:21, 4.5 mi moderate run off 40 minutes 18
Saturday XC skiing cross training off 0
Sunday 20 mile run in 1:52, 4 mile push from 13-17 @ 19:48 off 20

Friday, December 25, 2015

Less than 8 weeks to the Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

I got a little behind on my weekly blog with the holidays this week, but the training is below. The week was another step in the right direction, and most importantly, I'm still healthy. I have still been waiting for the day that I am going to wake up and have my sacrum or navicular start hurting again, but that day hasn't come even as my volume starts to jump back towards normal levels and the intensity is returning along with it. Last week consisted of my first measured threshold style effort with a 4 mile tempo coming after 40 minutes of moderate running. While 19:34 for 4 miles is not particularly fast for me in this type of workout, I am still pleased given it came during my 4th week back to ground running. The goal will be to get to 2 x 4 mile tempos under 19:00 about a month out from the race. I think I can get there.

I'm going to keep this update short as I am just finishing off my coffee and getting ready to head out for a long Christmas Day workout! Happy Holidays and Run Happy!

Week 4 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday aqua jog 75 minutes 70 minute run 1 hour 11
Tuesday Fartlek: (5 min, 4,3)(4,3,2)(3,2,1) w/equal recovery jog off - travel to PDX 14
Wednesday 9 miles + drills and strides 5 miles 14
Thursday 9 miles 5 miles 1 hour 14
Friday Aqua jog 90 minutes off 0
Saturday 40 min run, 4 mi tempo @ 19:34, 30 min run off 17
Sunday 10 aqua jog 1 hour 40 minutes 10

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Less than 9 weeks to the Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

We're less than two months away from the Olympic Marathon Trials, and I am starting to feel my fitness return. I still have a long way to go, and I don't know if I have enough time to get to where I need to be by February 13th, but this past week of training has left me optimistic. In my first timed workout back on the ground, I put together a 10-mile tempo at 5:16 pace with 25-30 mph winds on a soft surface. That is not an impressive workout, but I am surprised considering I have been back to running for less than 4 weeks. It is not unreasonable to think that in another 4 weeks I will be doing longer tempos at marathon pace.

It's easy to get excited and ambitious now that running is starting to click again, but I know it is very important to remain vigilant in my strength exercises, cross training, and awareness of my body in order to avoid another injury. I have put my body in a vulnerable situation by coming back so fast after back to back bone injuries, and I need to remain aware of the risks I'm facing. I will move forward with aggressive patience.

I picked the perfect time to train in Stillwater as I was running shirtless most days in December and skipping the flooding going on in the Pacific Northwest. I am now back in Portland, and the rain persists, but to a manageable degree. I'm looking forward to getting a solid 6 weeks of training at home before I head to Chula Vista in late January to acclimate to the potentially warm weather at the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles. It may end up in the upper 60s to low 70s by the end of the race, and if I'm coming from a wet 40 degrees, that will add a degree of stress to my body. It may well be cooler than that, but at this point I need everything to go perfectly, and heat acclimatization is an easy way to manage risk. Plus, who doesn't want to spend a couple weeks running in southern California mid-winter?

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Week 3 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 75 minutes aqua jogging 7 miles 7
Tuesday 80 minutes aqua jogging 9.5 miles + strides 1 hour 10
Wednesday Fartlek: 6 x 2 min on, 2 min off 1 hour elliptical 11
Thursday 11 miles off 1 hour 11
Friday 10 mile tempo @ 5:16 pace 1 hour aqua jogging 15
Saturday 90 minutes aqua jogging 1 hour elliptical 40 minutes 0
Sunday 16 off 16

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Less than 10 weeks to the Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

With the trials already so close, it's a challenge to stay patient and methodical in my comeback. With so much uncertainty and a short time frame, I am forced into a different state of mind that I haven't had to endure in the past. Numerous other athletes have been put in the exact same situation, so I certainly don't want to sound like a martyr, but I do want to share the road back to fitness as I have heard some heroic efforts from other athletes that have motivated me.

My running took a step forward this past week, not with a great deal of mileage, but I was able to extend my longest ground run to 83 minutes. I am very close to being in a place where I am confident that the healing process is complete and that my body is ready for some added intensity. This current week may represent on opportunity for my first workout if all goes well over the next couple of days. From there, it's full steam ahead.

This has been a great time to be back in Stillwater. Being around my coach has been a big mental relief as I can turn my brain off and simply do as I'm told rather than overthinking every single run and cross training session. It has also been fun to see the OSU team start to gear up for their ambitious 2016 goals after coming off the cross country season. I truly miss the team atmosphere and collective goals of NCAA cross country and track and field. It's energizing to be around even though I haven't been a part of it for quite some time now.

With the next 9 and a half weeks mapped out, I'm looking forward to getting aggressive with the long runs in the near future. I know I won't be able to safely return to the big volume weeks that have typically defined my marathon blocks, but I think with an emphasis on quality long runs every week, I can get myself where I need to be by February.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Week 2 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 70 min Alter-G 60 min elliptical N/A
Tuesday 60 min run 90 min aqua jog 30 min
Wednesday 20 min ground running, 10 mi tempo Alter G @ 4:50 pace, 75% body weight, 20 min ground running off
Thursday 70 minute run 70 minute aqua jog 1 hour
Friday 60 minutes Alter-G + 35 minutes running 60 minutes aqua jogging
Saturday 2 hours aqua jogging off 45 minutes
Sunday 83 minute run + 8 miles Alter-G including 5 miles @ 4:50 w/ 3% incline, 75% body weight

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Less than 11 weeks to the Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

It’s been quite a while since my last training post, and unfortunately the reason for that has been another injury set back.  After healing from a navicular stress reaction over the summer, my return to running lasted about 7 weeks before suffering a completely different stress fracture.  What started as mild back tightness quickly turned into stabbing pain that left me barely able to walk, and I soon discovered with an MRI that I had a sacral stress fracture.  The most likely explanation seems to be the weakness in my foot from being in a boot for a month with the navicular stress reaction changed my gate just enough to put more pressure on the opposite side of my body.  I wasn’t pushing off fully, and the result was another bone injury. After being healthy for most of the last decade, this has been a difficult time for me, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The last 8 weeks have consisted mostly of a great deal of cross training. I’ve been putting 2 – 2.5 hours a day between the Alter-G, elliptical, and aqua jogging. Fortunately I was able to start ground running a couple of weeks ago, and so far things are progressing well. I am forced to push the envelope a bit with the Olympic Marathon Trials coming up in February.  This time around, I have been able to cross train with much greater intensity as the sacrum is low-risk compared to the navicular. The month of Alter-G running before I took my first steps at full body weight on the ground has helped ease the transition greatly. I already feel fairly fit and natural early on in my return.

I will have a 12 week build-up to the Olympic Marathon Trials, but it will be much different than the past.  At the 12 week mark this time around, I was doing my first few minutes of running on a turf field. The scenario is far from ideal, but I have to give it a shot. I expect to have about 8 weeks of solid training heading into the race. I am hoping deep down that time off has been beneficial, and that fitness will return very quickly. This will have to be a much lower volume training block than the past, but if I focus on getting the quality long run in every week, I’m confident that my last 10 years of 100+ miles a week will continue to serve as a base.

My training log moving forward will look a bit different for a while as I will continue mixing cross training in. I’m not going to count the total miles at this point as I don’t want to pressure myself into coming back too fast. The log below is from last week, and I’ll be putting out another post on Tuesday with this week’s training, which has taken a significant step forward. I’m heading into unknown territory, but I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by a great support group of coaches, athletes, and doctors sharing their wisdom and expertise.  I just arrived in Stillwater last night in order to take advantage of the cross training facilities here, spend time with my coach, and put myself into training camp mode.

Thank you for following my training, and thanks to all those who reached out to me during my long period of silence. I’m very happy to be back in training mode, and I’m going to do everything I can to get to the line on February 13th in Los Angeles. with a shot to make the 2016 US Marathon Team. 

Week 1 AM PM Strength/Drills
Monday 80 min alter g 70 minutes aqua jog
Tuesday 75 min alter g 1 hour aqua jog 1 hour
Wednesday 30 minute jog 95 minutes aqua jogging
Thursday 40 minute jog 90 minutes Zero Runner 1 hour
Friday off off 30 minutes
Saturday 50 minutes jog 75 minutes elliptical
Sunday 40 minutes jog 80 minutes ellipitical 30 minutes