Actually, this is kind of a fun time right now. Each time I run, I feel a little stronger, and I feel my body subtly adjusting to the reintroduction of running. My comeback has been slow, and I think that has made all the difference. However, while my muscles are adjusting to the pounding of running again, the biggest adjustment I have had to make is mental. For starters, I had to forget how I used to train--wipe the brain clean of all training memory. It was very difficult for me to think of 3 miles as a long run, but that was the longest I got for the first couple of weeks back. Here's what my training schedule has looked like for the last four weeks.
Cross training details: You'll notice a lot of yoga and core strengthening workouts these last couple of weeks. I am convinced that core work is the key to stronger running, and I am trying to fit a little in 4-5 times per week. The strength training routine is one that Coach Tom prescribed and includes exercises targeting the core but includes some good stretches too. Two of the yoga workouts are podcasts that I downloaded from yogadownloads.com. The short versions I use are free. They are called yoga for runners and core yoga #1. They are short and sweet, but very effective. The longer yoga routine I do is called Yoga Conditioning for Athletes with Rodney Yee. I have been using this video (3 separate workouts that take about 50 minutes) on and off for 4 years now, and it is still the best overall yoga routine I have found. I wore out the DVD actually, but was able to save it as an MPEG-4 file. I now play it on my iPad when I travel or through my Apple TV at home. Geek alert!
You might be thinking that it is killing me to run so little, but it really isn't. Once I got past the fear that I had lost my fitness forever, I was fine. Last winter, when I was injured, I was paranoid about losing fitness and my cross training workouts were very intense. I did intervals nearly every other day during my bike rides and pool runs to help maintain my fitness.
Coach Tom mentioned something to me a while back that has stuck with me. Back in December, he saw that I had done some crazy bike interval workout, a hold over from the last injury cycle, and he tried to explain to me that this was not necessary. He said, "there's a time for intensity, and it's not now." It struck me that I was used to training at that high-intensity level all year round. I would give myself a week off here and there, but most of the time I was doing something hard either on the roads or in the gym. I think Coach Tom is right. There is a time and place for intensity and too much of it is a recipe for (re)injury and/or burnout.
I ran 7 miles today, and it felt like a breeze. This week, I will run close to 40 miles in 6 days. I like the confidence in that statement I just made.
In other news, I was quite blessed to have a couple of fabulous photographers/videographers follow me around last week on a shoot that will highlight the work I do as well as my running. Ian Shive took some amazing stills that I thought I'd share with you here. Enjoy.
|Running amongst the majestic oaks along the American River Parkway.|
|Running along the American River Bike Trail in Folsom.|
|Me looking out at Lake Natoma.|
|Out standing in a vernal pool. My habitat of choice.|
|Staring at the fantastic critters swimming for their lives in the vernal pool.|
|Yes, I am using my iPad to record data, and Sara is using hair picks to sift through algae.|