Friday, April 23, 2010

Slow and Low, That is the Tempo

After missing my long run last Sunday I've stayed true to my intention to "listen to my body" for all of 2010 and did not try and make up for the lost mileage this week. Instead I picked up the training plan during what was supposed to be, and continues to be, a recovery week.

On Wednesday I walked a couple of kilometres and then ran (and I use the term loosely) the rest of the way to work. It was a slow and easy 4km during which I kept the heart rate under 130bpm and pretty much did not even break a sweat.

On the way home I once again started off with a bit of a walk and then ran the rest of the 6.75km nice and easy. The left Achilles was definitely still tender, but it didn't get any worse during the run and felt no worse for wear afterwards. The totals for the Wednesday were 10.75km, if my elementary school math is correct.

Today I took advantage of the beautiful weather and got outside at lunch. I ran around downtown and through the UofT campus for a total of 10.25km. The Achilles was not so bad, though a couple of times I'd feel it coming on and then the discomfort would miraculously disappear. Just have to keep it slow and low for a bit, but I think as long as I continue to stick to this plan I will give myself the best chance to not miss any more training runs on account of this pain.

Next up is a slightly longer run on Sunday in the 12-15km range. I will definitely miss my monthly mileage goal for April, but such is life.

On the runner's knee side of things my leg is all of a sudden showing signs of improvement. I have been diligently doing leg weights a couple of times each week and recently added another exercise that I do every evening when I am stretching. I sit on the floor with my good leg bent at the knee, foot resting flat on the floor, and then tighten the quad muscles of my right leg to make sure it's as straight as possible. This is actually where I find a lot of the pain comes from, when my quads are engaged and the kneecap is pulled up as a result. I've also noticed that in my bad leg (the right one), when I do tighten the quad, my heel does not come up off the floor nearly as much as when I do the same thing with my left leg. I've been working to improve the range of motion and that, too, is getting better. Anyway, once my leg is straight I lift it up off the floor slowly about six inches and lower it back down slowly for a total of ten repetitions. This definitely works out parts of the quad that the exercises at the gym do not isolate as well. The Vastus Medialist and Vastus Intermedius definitely get worked. I do a couple of sets of this each time and afterwards, when I tighten the quad, the pain in the kneecap is much much less and I'm able to list my heel off the ground a lot higher. Also, I've stopped wearing the patellar strap when running and it seems to be fine. Someday my legs will be strong enough and my runner's knee will finally be a thing of the past. At least that is my hope.

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