Sunday, June 1, 2008

Come What May

May has been quite a unique month for me. There was no single big "event" but rather a lot of changes and adjustments.

Injury Recovery
Instead of my traditional "running" training, I have been training for overall fitness this month. My main focus has been injury recovery and prevention.
Injury recovery (from patellar tendonitis) has involved cutting way back on my mileage and slowing down the speed of my runs. Additionally, I have been icing my knee several times a day and going to physical therapy weekly. As for prevention, I have been stretching every day, and doing a lot of strengthening exercise. It's possible that weak quad muscles caused my injury, so I have been doing a lot of exercises for my quads.  My recovery is coming along well. I would say that my knee is about 90% healed, with some days being better than others.

Strength Training
To prevent other kinds of injuries, I have also been doing a lot of lower body strengthing, with a major focus on the abs, lower back, glutes, inner/outter thighs, calves, and hamstrings. After a month of hard work, I think I have established the strength needed to begin marathon training in June. My hope is that my strength training will also result in the ability to run faster. It will be a challenge to maintain this strength as a pack on the miles, mainly because I only have a limited number of hours in the day to dedicate towards working out-- but I need to make it a priority.

Cardio/Endurance Training
On top of all of this, I have been swimming and biking (stationery bike). Due to "plica" I discovered during last summer's bike ride in Italy, I know that my maximum bike ride is about 20 minutes. Otherwise, the inside of my knee hurts. I have mainly been using biking to warm up prior to my stretching and strengthening. The bulk of my cardio has come from swimming. It was amazing to see myself improve so quickly with the swimming! Back in April, I could only swim for about 15-20 minutes before I needed to stop and take a break. And now I can go for nearly 45 minutes non-stop. I've also increased swimming speed. My waterproof iPod case and headphones have really helped make swimming more enjoyable, as well. Here are the monthly totals:

Miles Swum: 14.7
Miles Biked: 33
Miles Run: 39.2
Strength training sessions: 17

It's been disheartening to watch my mileage go from 91 in March, down to 66 in April, and now 39 in May. My monthly totals for last year were all well above 100! (I typically average around 150).  Anyway, I do feel really good about what I have accomplished this month in terms of balancing my workouts. I really, really hope my knee is ready for the rigorous training program I have planned for it. I guess that all serious runners need some down time and these past three months have been mine. True-- I did run two marathons. But only one of them was at full effort, and my monthly mileage has been an all-time low. 

June, here I come!

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