A Return to Form(at) – Training, November 19 - 25

I suppose it's about time to return to the weekly training format that I have previously used on this blog, now that I finally seem to be getting over my Achilles injury of the last 8+ months—the idea of sharing my training being that seeing workouts and races in context can help explain what I'm doing and why.  You often see a "key" workout that some elite runner will do or hear a mileage figure (say, Ritz's 45:00 10 miler or Cam Levins's 160 mpw), but without context, these mean essentially nothing (in terms of learning something).  Anyway, the training may be a bit boring for a while (not that it is riveting normally), because I'm out of shape and most of what I do for the next several months will just be geared toward getting a solid mileage and aerobic base under me again.

To briefly recap the injury situation, I injured my Achilles in a cycling accident in mid-March, in which I sustained a pretty significant blunt force straight to the back of my left Achilles tendon.  I didn't tear the tendon, but it was damaged, and then got stuck in a chronic inflammatory process.  After moving through a variety of treatment protocols, I seem to finally be moving in the right direction after some prolotherapy, administered by Dr. Terry Nicola at UIC.  I had my (hopefully) last appointment with Dr. Nicola on November 15; as long as my condition doesn't worsen, I am not supposed to see him again.  In addition to quite a bit of self-therapy (massage, stretching, ice, strengthening exercises), I am getting twice-weekly ART from Dr. Roy Settergren at Midwest Sport & Spine.

Over the course of the last 8 months, I've lost quite a lot of fitness.  There was a period of 6 weeks where I didn't run at all, and I averaged maybe 15-20 mpw of mostly easy mileage throughout the whole period.  In the last month or so, I've built up from running every other day (and only a few miles at first), to now running 5 or 6 days in a row.  I run about 10 miles most days now at a decent pace (6:00-7:30 pace depending on how tired I am), with a weekly long run that is now up to 15 miles (increasing one mile each week).  Based on this schedule, I should be back to about 100 miles a week by the start of 2013.  This past week playout out as follows:

Monday: 10 miles moderate; GS.

Tuesday: 10 miles moderate.

Wednesday: 8 miles easy (all soft surfaces) - tired from the previous two days' runs—a bit of a novel feeling at the moment.

Thursday: Off - Normally I try to get on the treadmill for some uphill hiking on my day off, but it being Thanksgiving, I wasn't able to pull it off.

Friday: 12 miles moderate.

Saturday: 10 miles easy.

Sunday: 15 miles moderate-plus - Brought it down to 6 flat pace by about three miles.  I only had splits in the middle miles (I now live about 3.5 miles from the lakefront path, and also, some of my old markers on the lake are messed up at the moment due to construction), but for miles 7 through 10, I hit 5:58, 5:54, 5:47, 5:48 without really pushing too hard.  I backed off just a touch from there and probably averaged 5:50-5:55 pace for the last segment.  

Summary: 65 miles, 1x GS

I was pretty pleased with the long run this week.  While my fitness isn't great, it isn't awful either.  While the pace I was running on Sunday was more aerobically challenging than it used to be, it wasn't awful.  The bigger issue at the moment seems to be muscular endurance; my legs just get tired after 6 or 8 miles at a solid pace.  That will come around in time, it's all about getting consistent now.  The ankle seemed to handle the volume alright, this being my highest mileage week yet.  It will be a bit stiff on some runs, but not really painful.  It's still pretty painful to the touch in a very focused area, which gives me some pause, but hopefully it's something that will just fade in time with continued rehab.