W01D01 #HHR2016 Training Begins!

I’m excited to have been asked back as a Hospital Hill Run Ambassador this year. I love the race, and I want you to love it too!

Training has begun – I just finished off week one of sixteen leading up to the race. My approach this year is going to be a bit different. Due to an injury last fall, I’m going to be building up to the race with the goal of significantly improving the fitness level I’m at right now.

Check the HHR website for training plans and tips – they should be kicking that off any time now! I highly recommend finding a training plan appropriate to your fitness level and goals for the race.

I’ve come into HHR in years past with some lofty aspirations (ok, just one, sub 1:30) but I’ve never achieved them. Last year, I shot myself in the foot with some beet juice and DNF’d – my first ever race DNF and one of the most disappointing running-related things I’ve done. I was undoubtedly in better shape for that race than any other. Here’s a nice humbling shot of me just before I shut it down:

race_1264_photo_19605753

That old tip “nothing new on race day” is one you really should listen to… (however, the lawyer in me wishes to point out that I had tried the beet juice a couple of days before!)

My blogging frequency seems to be directly proportional to how much I am running. An August injury led to a long layoff, commencing in October and ending (finally!) in January. I’ve been taking baby steps back into running, and I just finished off my first week of a training plan.

It’s been hard holding back as my heel heals, but it is continuing to improve, ever so slowly. The last month has been low mileage, but that’s better than no mileage. I ran 1 mile at a time on a treadmill the first week, 2 miles at a time the second and third week, and this week I capped off a 17 mile week with a 6.5 mile “long run” on the treadmill. Or, as I used to call it, an EZ day.

I’m on a plan where I run 4x per week, with one cross-training session and two total rest days. It’s a heart rate based plan that tracks time, not mileage. I resolved to use the heart rate monitor on my newish Garmin Fenix 3 for two reasons: (1) my fitness is nowhere near what it was in the fall, despite cardio on machines over the winter, so I am trying not to let my brain get ahead of my heart; and (2) there are some really cool features of the HRM chest strap beyond heart rate monitoring that will help me monitor for signs I need to back off.

For instance, I took a look at my Ground Contact Time (GCT) Balance stats this week. This is a measure of how often each foot is on the ground. A perfect 50.0%-50.0% indicates a completely symmetrical gait. Anything else and you are “favoring” a side. Of course, all kinds of things can affect this – perhaps one of your legs is longer than the other, for instance. The acceptable range seems to be defined as anything 50.7% or under. My averages have been below that, which is good, but I do tend to creep up out of the acceptable zone on occasion, favoring the side of my injured foot. I’m going to keep an eye on those averages to make sure I’m improving, not regressing.

Otherwise, I am going back to the podiatrist this week. After a month of naproxen sodium and heel cups, I’m better but not all better. Both the podiatrist, “Dr. Brenda” (my sister-in-law, who really should be granted a license to practice medicine), and others all advised a cortisone shot if I wasn’t 100% by now, so I’m going to do it. I think it is a “break the cycle” thing. I’m ready for that bursa sac to quiet down for good.

I’m going to stay optimistic – I’m not happy with where I’m at, but I’m looking forward to getting back to where I’ve been – and beyond. Happy training!

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