Week 2

SecondGuess

The theme of this week has been all about second-guessing.  It started on Monday when I decided to reread the cross-training section of RLRF in the hopes of figuring out how hard I was supposed to be doing those sessions.  I soon realized that I own the first edition of the book, and the app is apparently based on a more recent edition.  The book advocates mostly hour-long, lower-intensity aerobic workouts.  The app, on the other hand, has me doing 20 or 30-minute workouts with frequent, short bursts of high intensity.  I’ve read the studies on the effectiveness of this type of training, so I’m fine with the theory behind the change.  My concern, however, was that at the intensity I was doing the cross-training, my poor undertrained non-running muscles were going to end up chronically sore or injured.  Since the book was no help, I then searched for “Run Less Run Faster cross train intensity,” thinking that Google would surely know what to do.  What I found was a number of articles and blog posts dissecting the ways in which the RLRF cross-training approach is flawed, and advising runners to use the program as I had been all year–substituting easy runs for the XT days.

That, of course, had me at hello.  The only thing keeping me from swearing off the spin bike in perpetuity is that my SI joint had started to ache after last week’s long run, and I’m worried that I could be starting down the path to another IT band injury.  In any case, I now had competing theories that 1) Cross-training prevents injury caused by excessive running mileage and allows greater aerobic training volume overall, or 2) Cross-training causes injury by replacing necessary ‘time on the legs’ with sessions that overwork under-developed muscles.  I ran my best season ever this year by going with door #2, but I do need to seriously consider the risk of injury if I increase my mileage.  It was quite the quandary.  Luckily, I didn’t have to figure it out until Wednesday.

Tuesday I did the 4×800 intervals at pace and was happy that they were way less difficult than the 16’s last week.  My SI joint continued to ache a bit after the speedwork, though, which was how it had all started last time as well.  I’ve been doing a strength training routine that’s supposed to prevent IT-band injuries every day since the Brooklyn Half, but since the problem seems to be rooted in my SI joint, I decided to research exercises for SI-joint stability as well.  I found what seems to be a solid routine here, which I’ll now be alternating with the IT-band days.  My hope is that strengthening the area will take care of the problem altogether, but I don’t want to exacerbate things before I’m able to build strength. On Wednesday morning I was still unsure whether to run or cross train when I left for the gym.  In the end I decided to run easy until I felt any sort of twinge, which took about 3 miles.  At that point I switched to the bike and did the 20 post-warm-up minutes of the XT workout.  (Either best or worst of both worlds, depending on how you look at it.)

Thursday’s tempo went well, particularly since the paces are much slower than I was used to in the half marathon training.  After 7 miles, though, my SI joint was definitely aching and a few hours later my glute on that side felt sore and a bit tender.  I decided that this morning’s session would definitely be on the rowing machine, which would hopefully give me fresher legs for Sunday’s long run and also give the SI a break.  (Oddly, as sore as it was yesterday, it felt 100% fine today, which is strange, but somewhat encouraging.)

I’m still not completely sure what to do about the cross-training.  I’m leaning toward eliminating one day of it in favor of an easy run, or I may just keep it flexible, and just decide based on how I’m feeling.  I’m also thinking that since it seems to be the speedwork intervals that particularly set off the SI, I may rework the schedule a bit to compensate.  I’ll need to really look at the tables to judge, but the marathon plan seems to preference faster interval sessions and slower tempos that run closer to race pace.  I’ve always found faster tempos to be hugely beneficial, so I may change it up so that those are more in line with half marathon paces, and then take the intervals down to a less punishing level.  On the up side, next week the Caveboy and I are running the Queens 10K, so I’ve made the weekday training essentially a repeat of this week, with the race instead of a long run.  That gives me the option for a break after the 15 miler this weekend if I need it, and I’m going to book a massage right now.

-ModC

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