Sunday, August 1, 2021

I've come back!

I think I am at a point where I can say I am "back" as opposed to "coming back" from an injury. June was all about re-introducing running with run/walk intervals. July was about gradually ramping up the mileage without any speed work. I ran 40 miles last week, and I think that's a solid base to begin training for a marathon. My goal is still the Richmond Marathon in mid-November, so I have plenty of time.

I've gotten my long run up to 11.5 miles (yesterday) and I've started including some 20-second strides inmy runs to get my legs used to faster stuff. I want to make sure I peak at the right time. With the Two Rivers Marathon, I think I peaked about two weeks before the race. By the time race day came, I wasn't feeling fully recovered and peppy. My originally scheduled marathon was three weeks prior, but then was canceled- so much of this was out of my control. I think my coach did a great job with my program despite the change of race date, the training cycle was simply too long.

I mentioned in my previous post that I switched coaches within the McMillan family so that I am using the same person for both strength training and running. So there are a bunch of new variables now:

  • New coach
  • New and improved running form
  • Increased emphasis on strength training and drills
  • Running 6 days a week instead of 7 (although I might run seven later in the program)
As for my form, I've really made great "strides" there. My cadence for most runs used to be around 195-200. Now it's around 180-185. This morning I ran a recovery run at an average pace of 9:09, and my average cadence was 182. I compared it to a recovery run in January that was a similar pace, but my cadence was 199.  My cadence on long runs has also decreased.

I'm picking up my feet and using my glutes to power my stride. Previously I was shuffling a long and taking loads of steps, but the steps were super short and close to the ground. I was relying too much on my adductors which is partially how I got injured. Most runners strive to increase their cadence to get closer to 180. A faster turnover logically leads to faster running. But in my case, slowing down the cadence has allowed me to run with more power. This video shows the difference before and after the injury.

Thankfully this summer has not been as hot/humid as most summers here in the Washington DC area. I've been using my treadmill about once a week, but most days running outdoors has been manageable. It took me longer to acclimate this year because I began my comeback with very short run/walks which don't really work towards acclimation. I started running again in early June but it wasn't until mid July that I felt like I was acclimated. Usually I loathe summer running and I count down the days until the fall. But this summer I have embraced it because I generally enjoy warm weather for everything else. Just not running.

I feel ready to tackle August and the marathon training that lies ahead. I'm committed to doing my strength and stability exercises multiple times a week and focusing on my form on every single run.

Longer stride, forward lean, more stable


  1. Woo-hoo welcome back! I'm excited to see how this training cycle pans out for you - just sayin' that I think it's going to be a good one;-)

    Gah summer running - like you say, I absolutely adore warm weather...just not for running.

  2. Excited to hear you feel all the way back. I was looking at the videos and I still think there's some things that can be improved upon but I'm not the expert so I'll leave it to them.

    I've counted my cadence and I think on my stronger days I'm slightly over 200 myself so it's something I probably should work on. I don't use coaches though so I'll have to figure it out on my own I guess.

    Great photo shot though of leaning more forward. I've seen that lean back in a lot of runners and it's not good. So you're making strides and hopefully we see that 3:09:59 come Richmond if the weather allows!!

    As for the humidity. Well I beg to differ. I mean we're both on the east coast and nothing was better than 2014 where I has 0 runs with a dewpoint of 70 degrees. I've had 11 this year and the worst year 2018, I had 9 at this point and had 24 that year, maybe 25 if I include Steamtown Marathon but I think the dewpoint was 69 that morning so I can't count it even though that's awful too.

    I don't mind warm weather, I just hate the humidity that is the east coast!

    But keep striving, stay healthy (not referring to delta variant but what heat does to you.) And I can't wait to read more positive blogposts!! Good is coming your direction, I'm so impressed by you!!

  3. Wow, that's really a big difference. The picture from 2017 shows you were actually leaning backward. And the videos show a big change as well. In retrospect it's amazing you were able to run so fast before! It will be exciting to see what you can do now.

  4. Super Smart philosophy and approach to rehabbing from that injury. The video is impressive to say the least. Definitely big improvements in form/gait, especially with near perfect slight forward lean. Very smart approach just to build mileage base 1st with no speedwork. I have rarely come to that standard cadence of 180, maybe close in the hey-days of my Boston running. But currently I tend to be 10 steps less. You have inspired me to start paying more attention to gait and cadence. But not training these days anything serious - just run and finish Chicago this October. Keep up the great things you doing, including the blog!

  5. Super interesting post. I am happy to see you back running! I am also working on improving my stride. My cadence is fine, but I definitely don't have enough forward lean or knee drive. Did you do drills as well as increased strength training? Always love following your journey.

    1. Yes, drills are a must. I am still working on it and I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement, but I am making strides, so to speak!