What to Work On

Coming back from injury means spending an awful lot of time doing rehab and strengthening and all kinds of things that I clearly wasn’t doing enough of before.  This has become absurdly evident with my new routine, which requires me to do these hip strengthening exercises and assorted recovery techniques DAILY, when I previously did half as much and only three times each week max.  I thought I was doing well, foam rolling after every run and incorporating core and hips two to three times each week, but clearly, it wasn’t enough.  I’ve learned it’s better to do a little every day to keep yourself consistently healthy and aside from those first few weeks, when it really felt like all I was doing was rehab, it really is manageable.  My routine is now so streamlined that it takes roughly 20-25 minutes to do the whole thing.  Twenty minutes out of my day is comparatively nothing.  And I’m still healing.  When I’m back to fitness, it will be more like 15 minutes.  Fifteen minutes to keep my body healthy and happy is a good deal, if you ask me.

 

But this whole comeback has me thinking.  I’m starting from scratch, so to speak, with my mileage currently at around 10 miles/week and (unbearably) slow.  It’s a unique opportunity to approach my running as trying to design the “perfect” version of my runner self.  One thing I have always been notoriously awful at is hitting negative splits.  Even in my best races, I have never hit them.  I’m an even-paced girl all around.  Almost every run is kind of ridiculously even paced, but I have had my share of positive splits in races (ahem, marathons).  One thing I’d really like to work on as I train is hitting negative splits in most of my speed workouts and doing progressive long runs.  I’ve failed those in the past,  somehow I could run at a faster pace for the entire length of a run but unable to start at a more moderate pace and finish fast.  It’s like my body doesn’t like to change speeds, which I’ve noticed in races if I get stuck behind a crowd and end up going slower, I can’t speed back up and hit my paces without blowing up.  It’s definitely something to work on.

 

Another thing that is high on my list of priorities is slowing way down on my easy runs.  I’m going to focus on nailing workout days (once I start those! base building for now), and running a true easy pace on easy days.  I’ve got a heart rate monitor that I don’t use nearly enough and I want to monitor my effort as I’m returning to fitness and make sure I’m not doing too much too soon on days that are supposed to be easy.  That way I can truly put 100% effort into the speed days.  I have been very guilty in the past of taking the easy day for granted.  Not that I tried to race my easy days, but I’d often run easy and start to get “bored,” especially on medium-long runs of 9 or 11 miles and I’d throw in pickups or end the last 2 miles at nearly tempo pace just to feel like I had some pop in my legs.  Ideal training means letting each run serve its purpose.

 

If you could had unlimited time/resources to incorporate an ideal element into your training or racing, what would it be?

Give me your favorite training advice!

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25 thoughts on “What to Work On

  1. HEY! Happy Thursday!! Hope your day is starting off with lots of happiness and love! This is a great post- filled with tons of awesome info and I completely agree with everything you said. Sometimes it’s hard to run easy on recovery days, but it’s definitely important. I need to keep this in mind, too. I get bored as well sometimes and find myself naturally speeding up my pace to finish. My favorite training advice? Yoga has helped my running so much. It has lengthened me out and improved my mental state while running (by practicing meditation/breathing techniques).
    Have a fabulous day!! You’re awesome!! xoxoxo

    • I really need to do more yoga! I’ve had such a hard time finding a practice I enjoy, what’s your favorite style or do you have any yoga resources you can recommend? Thanks beautiful!

  2. It’s interesting, in the summer, I technically have all the time in the world to devote to my training. But the only thing that changes is that I end up stretching/foam rolling probably 85% of the time, whereas during the school year I do it 75% of the time. Not a huge difference! Which just speaks to the fact that I either hate doing it or have poor time management skills… or a little of both!

    • I’ve always been the same, this injury forcing me to dedicate time to the little things really made me realize how much I’ve slacked on it all over the years, even when I had the time to do it.

  3. Loved this post! Mostly because I have barely run over the past 2 months. I think I’ll do just like you focus on things like achieving negative splits and distance when going on longer runs. I’m also more of an even-paced girl regradless the mileage I have to do. So yeah, I think like a good plan to me!

    Also as you have seen, I’ve been incorporating lots of yoga and strength training in my routine. It’s a big adjustment, but I love it. I find that my core became much stronger. I’ve also been curious about trying out kick-boxing and maybe sigining up to a swimming pool. What do you think? xoxo

    • Your yoga is beautiful!! I think swimming is super helpful to running and overall fitness but also easy on the body…it’s a great workout! I have a hard time dragging myself to the pool in cold weather though 😦 I loooove kickboxing! If you sign up, tell me all about it! Boxing/kickboxing are some of my favorite workouts and they totally kick my ass every time which I love haha 🙂

  4. What kind of hip exercises are you doing? That’s one thing I’m starting to focus on is really strengthening my hips/core before I get really deep into my training.

  5. My “injury” (I use that term loosely just as you do) has been great at getting me to slow down on all of my runs that aren’t speed workouts. It has made a huge difference and on race day’s I’ve seen no loss in speed – I actually recover quicker from those fast races too. I’ve been approaching things the same way as you, taking it as an opportunity to tweak how I train and recover. My recovery takes about 20-25 minutes now as well and it really is worth it. I am looking forward to taking some time off from running after my upcoming half and focusing on cross and strength training to get into better habits before my next training cycle comes up. I am actually thankful that this happened now so I can get into better habits before training for my first full. Hope you have a speedy recovery!

  6. I’ve just started reading Pftzinge’rs “Advanced Marathon Training” – not because I think I’m advanced or anything but in it he explains all the different workouts you need to do to get better at speed/endurance. There’s a lot of actual science behind it and so far it’s pretty interesting. His main point is to keep your easy runs super easy and save it for the hard tempo/lactate threshold/track workouts. This has always been a struggle for me because I want to be getting faster but he argues that unless you take real recovery days you are going to overtrain and burn out. What I would also like to work on is fast finish long runs but first I’m going to take some time off!

    • I’ve read it! And I’ve read it so many other places too and I think it’s something I’ve always known, but I definitely let it get away from me and convince myself that I’ll improve faster by speeding up. Fast finish long runs are a great thing to work on in your next training cycle!

  7. This is the best building-back-up perspective I have ever heard. When I’m injured, I usually complain until I can run again, and then I run until I get injured from making the same mistakes, and then I complain again, haha! I need to add more stretching, foam rolling, and hip strength into my routine. I agree with what you said about making easy days easy…I could work on that too

  8. I know it’s frustrating, but it seems like you have the right attitude! How exciting you kind of get to do a reset. I’m with you, I sometimes go too fast on easy runs. It’s hard not to. It’s much better to do negative splits – I only did a couple races 2 years ago, and it was glorious. I pr’d both races and felt fresh at the end.
    Unlimited resources for training….Um, where do I start? On call babysitter to start with I guess. Personal masseuse. Personal chef. This could be a long list.

  9. I think I would want to be able to keep my muscles loose and mobile (like from massage/ART type work) and also strong through focused hip and core work- but I would probably need someone to figure out exactly what I should be doing and then make sure I am doing the exercises correctly!

  10. ” It’s a unique opportunity to approach my running as trying to design the “perfect” version of my runner self. ” there’s always a bright side and you’d nailed it! you could be the perfect running machine!

  11. Sorry to hear you’re dealing with an injury, but I love that you are going to learn from it and improve on your training! (So many times I really don’t learn from my mistakes…)
    I’m really good with my physio exercises, but I would definitely incorporate speed work into training next time I train for something! I haven’t done speed work since I ran track over 13 years ago! I’m sure it would help a ton!

  12. I LOVE your perspective on using your comeback as an opportunity to build stellar habits!
    When I came back from my stress fracture, I used it as an opportunity to truly focus on strength frequently throughout the week. I WISH I was better about and always plan to be better about doing the small things like clam shells and such.

    What has been very good is now, if I feel the slightest onset of pain, I STOP exercising asap and have been able to quickly stave off some potentially serious injuries quickly!

  13. I can relate to SO MUCH of this. Especially the fact that I need to keep my easy run days slow and the fact that I get bored on those longer runs. I do have a lot of time restrictions though so often I feel like I have to rush things in order to be home at a certain time when really I should be taking it easy. I just don’t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over again though. I’m so tired of injuries.

    It sounds like you have a really great plan in place. It’s going to be great for you. 🙂 (I can definitely learn some lessons from this!)

  14. I’d practice downhill running. I think it’s definitely my biggest weakness. My quads are always shot late in races and I think a little practice would definitely help me out!

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