I spent second half of 2013 salvaging my tired, depleted body from various mysterious overuse injuries. I think I subjected my body to way more than it could handle during spring/summer of 2013 and predictably it started to revolt against every form of workout. My legs and core clearly had no strength to support continued pounding of long runs over 10 miles. For the past six months my emphasis has been on strength and cross training. I honestly believe these two activities have restored my body and saved me from becoming a total couch potato.
I have spent lot many hours in the gym spinning bikes, swimming, climbing stair master and Elliptical machines. Religiously spent one to two hours on Pilates, weights, balancing, yoga and strength training per week. My body started to respond to running since November 2013 and I have been slowly building mileage since then. I could muster about 50 running miles each on November and December. Had an ankle sprain during a trail 5k in January and suffered a minor setback for couple of weeks. I backed off again and after few weeks of rest I was back out running again. Thanks to rest and strength training I managed to run about 75 miles in February and wrapped up March with 92 miles. I did a 5-mile trail race at Chimney Rock Park in NJ today. This was a ridiculously technical trail with elevation changes of about 2000 feet within 5 miles. Trail was muddy, insanely rocky and tree roots coming out randomly at places I’m pleased to have finished this without breaking any part of my body LOL.
All my runs have become time based as opposed to distance-based training I was doing in the past. I have been learning to run at targeted heart rate zones, which I never did in the past. I have even signed up for the RVRR speed sessions on Tuesdays. I have no expectations about what my pace should be. Plan is to just show up at the track and do what super coach Pete tells me to do. I’m alternating my long runs between roads and trail to teach my body to land properly on rocky trails. Hope is that trail & hilly runs will improve additional muscle groups that doesn't happen purely with road running. My long runs have gotten up to half marathon distance but I’m in no hurry to race at this point. I have a spot for NYC marathon in November but will not think about it till July. I yet do not have the confidence my body can cope with marathon training. My goal is to build an endurance base and get my body ready enough to survive marathon training. We’ll see how I feel by July and then decide whether or not to pursue the marathon training. So for now my mantra is “Train more, Race less”. Or at least stop daydreaming about races until I get used to consistent running and recover well from longer runs.