Yesterday I got the news I’ve been waiting for for several weeks – I’ve been officially cleared by my physical therapists to resume some light strength-training and elliptical work. Prior to this they told me not to do anything other than my prescribed exercises that used body weight and dynamic stretches only. I am now “allowed” to step foot in a gym. (Yes, jog-walking the Las Vegas Half was against their rules.) Based on how my muscles, joints, and pressure points are feeling, both as reported by me and as examined by them, they think I’m strong enough to ease back in.
And this time, as opposed to my ankle injury in the spring when “easing back in” was the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I really am going to ease back in. My first trip to the gym will be tonight. I’m using the hip abductor machine to strengthen my glutes, specifically my gluteus medius, with 15 sets of 10 reps on a very low weight. Then I’ll do 15-20 minutes of the elliptical, moving it backward to get more of a glute workout according to my PT. And that is all.
Then I will take tomorrow off because, according to my PT, any pain caused by a still pesky lingering injury may not set in for 24-48 hours. So I’ll see if I feel anything more than a little sore tomorrow and after that, Thursday, I have PT again where we are upping the challenge of my exercises. If all goes well, back to the gym on Friday for the same thing as tonight.
And if Saturday is pain-free, I’ll join my coworkers at a local 5K. PT told me if after two of my cross-training sessions I am pain-free, I can ease back into low mileage at a 2:1 run:walk interval. Depending on how I feel (and to be fair, I am nervous about doing more than a single mile to ease back in), I may just spectate and cheer on my coworkers.
From then on, for the rest of December, I plan to do 2 cross-training days, slowly building the time spent on the elliptical and the weight on the abductor, maybe even going back to a Body Pump class, and 2 running days, building slowly up to 4 miles at a time, with 3 days of rest per week. I may do an extra day of light-cross training and a single run:walk mile instead of a rest day if all keeps going well.
January 5 is the first day of my Spring Marathon training plan. That gives me over a month to build back up my base fitness and strength and be absolutely sure my injury is healed.
That’s my Spring training plan for the Country Music Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Nashville at the end of April. It’s a 16-week plan from Runkeeper that I tweaked a little. Knowing that my injury really started during my 16 miler, and then really made itself known during my 18 miler, I decided it would be better to be undertrained than to over-train and risk injury this cycle. I cut out the 18 miler between the 16 and 20 and gave myself plenty more time to recover between the 16 and the 20. My hope is that that will give my legs and hips more of a break than they got when I came back from Dumbo and went straight into my 16 miler weekend, then did a single 12 mile cutback week and straight into my 18 and then boom, things collapsed. I also hope it leaves me less tired (ergo the extra Monday rest days sprinkled throughout) so that I do go to cross-training. You’ll see certain weeks I opted to sacrifice a running day for either an extra rest day or an extra cross-training day.
That orange 13.1 mile Sunday signifies the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans half marathon! I wish I could get some speedwork in before the race but I know coming back from injury I’m not aiming to PR for myself. My goal for that race is sub-2:35, to give my race buddy Ali a nice PR from her first half marathon this past year, the NYC Half, and a solid improvement from Vegas and the half-marathon point for MCM (where I was at 2:45). I’m thinking of replacing one of those 14 or 15 milers with another half marathon race, especially some time in February when I really need a pick-me-up.
So that takes me to the end of April. I’m not going to be as stickler-stickler to this plan as I was to my first training plan, because I learned the hard way to listen to my body more.
Looking ahead, I’d like to do the following races next year:
-Either RnRDC or RnRDAL, depending on a few things
-Disneyland Half Marathon (again) for its 10th anniversary
-Wine & Dine Half Marathon in Orlando, preferably with a few certain buddies
-Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon, again
-RnR Chicago! Good mid-summer check-in point race and one of my best buds lives in Chitown
-Either the Baltimore 10 Miler or a certain 10 miler in another city that shall remain nameless pending further news (I’m so mysterioussss)
With the exception of W&D and possibly Dallas, that leaves few races I haven’t already done. But I’m also looking down the pike – I’d like to participate in runDisney Star Wars weekend in January 2016, Tinker Bell Half weekend in 2017 for its 5th anniversary, WDW Marathon and Princess Half weekends in 2018 for their 25th and 10th anniversaries respectively, and maybe Avengers Half in 2019 for its 5th anniversary if it lives that long (I didn’t hear very good things about it this year).
As for a fall 2015 marathon… we’re going to see how Country Music Marathon goes before we decide whether fall 2015 might just focus on 10K’s, 10 milers, and the half marathon.