Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Boring Routine

The whole fam damily.
I am looking forward to getting back to my boring routine after two weeks spent traveling for work.  I wouldn't call my work strenuous.  However, there's just something about being away from home, sitting for 8-10 hours per day, eating out every meal and trying to fit workouts into an unfamiliar schedule that I find exhausting.  While I did get to see my family this last week while working in Seattle, I am happy to be home again staring at a few weeks of normality ahead.

I saw Dr. Lau last Monday, the first visit in over a month, and he found some good stuff to work on in my glutes and back.  My body is holding up fine with the increased mileage, but it is still trying to stabilize itself by tightening up my left side.  I have felt this off and on as tightness in my left IT band without any associated pain.  It is something I haven't worried much about because it feels like my body adjusting to the increased mileage more than an outright rebellion for the pounding it's taking.  I say this because the tightness has come on late in each run since I started back.

For example, when I ran 5 miles for the first time, it came on at about 4-4.5 miles into the run.  The next time I ran 5 miles, I didn't feel it.  When I ran 7 miles, it came on at 6-6.5 miles and then not again.  Yesterday, I ran the Lake Natoma Loop (11.7 miles) and it came on at 9-10 miles.  The longest run I had done before then was 9 miles, so this seemed to follow the same pattern.  I think I am doing everything right to keep this in check, but I also plan to see Dr. Lau regularly as I continue increasing mileage and intensity over the next few months.

This is the nerve-wracking balancing act that we crazy runners face.  When we train hard, our bodies get sore.  But, when is the soreness normal and when is it a prelude to an injury?  That's what each of us has to divine for ourselves.  We'd clearly never train if we backed off every time we became sore.  I have my little high-wire shoes and a bright pink tutu on right now and am working hard to stay firmly planted on that wire.

This week I ran 52 miles in 6 days of running.  I had one workout of 9 miles with 30 minutes at about 6:52 pace, and that felt easy.  My next "workout" was a tempo effort on Friday where I ran 8 miles total with 4 miles at 6:19 pace.  It was humbling to run my marathon pace from Chicago for the first time since October and have it feel "comfortably hard".  Rather than mourn my lost fitness, I decided to record this as a baseline condition that I can use to compare my progress over the next few weeks--a trick I learned during my brain training extravaganza last year.

Next week, I have a real track workout on Tuesday: 7 x 1000m repeats!  I also have a tempo run again on Friday followed by a long run on Saturday.  This will also be my first 7-day running week.  Bring on the boring!


  1. There's a lot to be said for normality. That fine line between injury and running well is one most runners struggle with. Just the other day Benita Willis came up with a stress fracture of the foot when a few weeks earlier she was closing in on career best form.

    Anyway, hope your improvement back to Chicago or better form continues smoothly. 7 x 1000 is getting serious! Take care.

  2. A balancing act for sure. But one reserved for those who are pushing the limits of strength and edurance. What a great way to spend our days!

    Wouldn't it be cool for you to PR in the OT?