I Can’t Believe I am Writing This

I don’t just mean that in the sense of I can’t believe that this is my story to tell; I also mean it in the sense that I am embarrassed about what took place this morning and can’t believe that I am willing to share it.

So let’s just say that this is one of those posts that is more for me than for you.  They come up from time to time, and here is another one.

Based on the rough training plan that I posted yesterday, today was supposed to be Day 3.  Day 3 is the day that I am allowed to go all out with running.  I can run long or do some speed training.  That is what I had discussed with my physical therapist.

So my plan for today was to run down the east side to the Greenmarket in Union Square.  The run should have been just under five miles and I was planning to throw 4×400 in somewhere after mile 2.

But I awoke to an overcast and generally dreary day and thought maybe I should save that run for a nice sunny day when it will be more enjoyable.  I felt kind of stiff, too.  My mid and upper back were kind of tight this morning and I could feel that my right glute med and left piriformis were still inflamed.  In fact, they actually felt more uncomfortable than yesterday — yesterday, when I did a pretty basic gym workout on the elliptical, rowing machine and some upper body strength with free weights — when I did absolutely nothing to aggravate them.

So I ate breakfast and thought about how to tackle today’s run.  It was going to be an easy one, sure.  I opted for the park because I could hear the birds chirping through my open window, and they seemed to be beckoning me out.  I thought briefly about getting on an elliptical for 10-20 minutes first, but that seemed like it would turn today’s run in to more of a workout than I wanted it to be, so I opted for a walk to the park followed by an extended warm-up of dynamic stretches once I got there.

I did all of that, and then a few minutes in to my run I stopped for some water because I was feeling pretty parched (and I add that here because I am not ruling out dehydration as part of the problem).  I noticed at that point that my body hadn’t really loosened up.  It was early in the run, so that was to be expected, but I was really feeling my glute med and my piriformis.  I stretched some more and then decided to just walk back.  I walked back on a single track alongside the bridle path in Central Park.  It was beautiful and maybe I was hoping it would inspire me to continue my run, but it didn’t.  I didn’t want to go from feeling sore to feeling injured, so I just decided to call today an unplanned rest day.

I will start a new four-day training cycle tomorrow.

But here is the thing that I noticed:  when my physical therapist and I first talked about building a 3 day on, 1 day off training plan, we discussed it presuming that my delayed onset muscle soreness from the PT exercises (lower body and core strength training), presuming they were performed on Day 1, would be on Day 2.  But the truth is that if PT exercises are performed on Day 1, I am noticing that Day 3 is actually my most sore day.  Given that, Day 3 should in fact be my rest day.

Also, in past training cycles, I have typically had a rest day before a hard effort day, rather than after it.  I have typically taken my rest days on the day preceding a long run or hard tempo.  That works for me (most of the time), so it is probably what I should be doing now, too.

This means that, my eight-day training cycle should probably look something more like this:

Day 1 – run, hard effort (speed training)

Day 2 – PT exercises (core + lower body strength); shake-out run

Day 3 – mini strength session (upper body + core); swim

Day 4 – rest

Day 5 – run, hard effort (long run)

Day 6 – PT exercises (core + lower body strength); swim or shake-out run

Day 7 – mini strength session (upper body + core); run (tempo) and/or swim

Day 8 – rest

Again, I need the input of my physical therapist and do not specifically recommend this plan for anyone other than myself.  I just think that there is a benefit for me to diary the evolution of a fitness plan that will help put me on the course to where I want to be — to heal and improve as a runner and athlete overall.

Right now, I am still in my running clothes and not entirely ruling out the possibility of attempting a run later today.  But this new plan feels right and I want to give it a try.

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