Sunday, September 26, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 12

Week 12 is complete. And this week it was all about the shoes! After my recovery week of yoga classes and a deep tissue massage, my knee was still bugging me. That is when I decided to take a look at the bottom of my shoes. I was shocked. I have only been running in them for four months. Of course, I do have 300+ miles on them. Take a look. The pink shoe is my old one. The blue is my new pair.

Now, I will be honest. The shoes were not some miracle cure. I am still a little sore when I run. But the shoes do help keep everything in better alignment and support my legs. It is a big difference. I was able to complete my long run - 10 miles. There was a little pain, but nothing too unbearable. I will say the IT compression band and taking brief walking breaks every two miles has helped. I never thought I would be the kind of runner who could stop and start during a run. However, this practice has not only made my running times faster, it has also helped give me knee some much need rest mid run.

I am looking forward to getting back on track this week and start adding some more miles. If all goes well, I will be back where I was before my knee started bothering me three weeks ago. I just have to be much better about taking care of myself. That means more yoga, ice packs, foam roller and hot baths. I think I can handle that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 11

Another week down and I think I am getting out of the funk from last week. I am happy to report that my IT bands are finally cooperating. Doubling up on yoga classes this week worked wonders. I needed to get down and dirty and stretch everything out. Cutting down on miles and practicing water stops helped too.

Now to further help my physical and mental state, I am getting a deep tissue massage and taking the weekend off from running. I have only had one massage in my life. So I am really looking forward to this and hope it helps work out the tension and tightness of my leg muscles.

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of me the past few weeks. I had this "whoa is me" type attitude and thought there was no way I could continue with my training or run a marathon. I do still have some doubts, but the positive attitude is back and I know I can keep on running and closer to the goal of finishing 26.2. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Time For A Reset

The first 10 weeks of training were good. Ok, let's be honest. Nine of the weeks were great. The tenth was so so. That is why it is time for a reset. Thankfully, I started early with my training. Of course, that is good and bad. The good: I am still 17 weeks from race weekend. Plenty of time to train. The bad: my IT bands are causing some pain in my right knee. For those who have talked to me lately, you know this has taken the wind out of my sails. I was really concerned I would not be able to do this marathon and doubted myself tremendous. But now it is time to put on the big girl panties, shake it off and come up with a new plan of attack.

Step 1: New training schedule. That is right. I have thrown out my old training schedule and have adopted a plan similar to one of Hal Higdon's beginner marathon plans. Most marathon training plans are 18 weeks. And since I am already up to 12 mile long runs, missing week one of the new plan isn't really going to hurt me. This works out great because the first few weeks include runs that are much shorter than I have been running. This will give my IT band / knee time to heal. I also plan to take brief walking stops every few miles to simulate walking through water stops on race day. I am told this will be my saving grace on race day; giving me a short break to rest my knees and hydrate. But the best part of this plan is that it is almost identical to plan of my magical marathon mate. It will make it much easier to support one another and know where we are during training because we will be running the same mileage amounts and long runs each week.

Step 2: Fix the IT band issue. Of course, this is easier said than done. IT band irritation isn't really an injury. It is more of a stretching issue. Some may say it is the amount of miles I have been running that caused this. But I didn't start having problems with my IT bands until I skipped yoga three weeks in a row. I already know I am bad at stretching before and after running. I do it, but apparently not well. I guess yoga served as a weekly rehab session for my tight leg muscles. So this week, I am going to double up on yoga and also get a deep tissue massage to work out the leg muscle issues. Then it is back to weekly yoga sessions until race day. I also bought an IT band compression wrap. I will let you know if it helps. I tried it during my 4 mile run this morning and didn't really notice a different. My right knee still felt weird. Who knows? Maybe it is just a gimmick. Concentrate on the tight  IT band wrap on your thigh instead of the pain in your knee. I will give it a couple more runs.

I think this IT band / knee thing has served as a wake up call to me. While my running routine was set and I was just plugging along, I stopped taking care of myself. I need to drink more water. Stretch more. Get to yoga class. Eat better. I have never thought of myself as much of an athlete, but I guess now I am. At least until I cross the finishing line after 26.2 magical miles at Walt Disney World.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 9

Another week complete and this was a rough one! It started with the 8 mile knee fiasco in Tallahassee; followed by a pesky cold. I thought this was suppose to be any easy recovery week! Despite the mini-obstacles, I powered through and finished all 4 runs. I am still battling the sniffles, but my knee feels much better.

I have to say I was pretty scared Saturday when I couldn't bend my knee after my run. I thought this was an injury that would keep me from running for weeks. But there was no swelling and after a few hours I could bend it and walk. So this week, even though I still ran, I took much better care of my legs. First, I pulled out the foam roller every night this week, focusing on my IT bands. Damn, that thing is painful. Second, I returned to yoga. I was really shocked at how much flexibility you lose after skipping class for three weeks. Regardless of the tight muscles, it felt great to stretch everything out. Very therapeutic and calming.

So now it is on to week 10. I am definitely a little nervous about this. Not only is my knee still getting back to normal, I also kick things off with a 14 mile run. It will be the longest distance I have ever finished. I am pretty sure I can do it though. Let's face it. It's not even a full mile longer than a half marathon and I have run one of those. I think it will be more difficult when I hit the 16, 18, 20 and 22 mile runs. Of course, it's really all mental. As my magical marathon mate always tells me, positive thoughts!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Trouble in Tally

Recovery week started out rough. I thought running less miles this week would give my already sore knees and IT bands a break, but then I decided to run in Tallahassee. I have been told several times that people from all over the world travel to Tally to train for races. I can believe it. The area is beautiful and the weather is usually reasonable, excluding the summer months, of course.

But after running 8 miles in the Capital City, I feel like a wimp. At one point I was running up hill and felt like I was barely walking, let alone running. However, my trusty Garmin said I was at the same pace I usually run. Weird, right? I know running hills helps with training, especially when it comes to strength and speed. Let's just say, I am thankful Tampa is pretty flat. I could barely walk or bend my left knee after running in Tally. Of course, I sucked it up and slowly made my way to Doak Campbell Stadium to see the Seminoles kick some butt. Go Noles!

Hopefully, after two or three days of rest, my knees will be good for a few five milers. Now if I could just get rid of this pesky cold. :(

Friday, September 03, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 8

It is hard to believe that two months of training have already flown by. So far, so good. Although, I will say this week has been a bit tougher than the rest. I started with a 12 mile run, which surprisingly went pretty well. But my runs since then have been a little tough. The reason: IT band irritation. My lack of stretching and yoga the past couple weeks has finally caught up to me and my knees are paying the price. Thankfully, week 9 is a recovery week. Shorter running lengths and some intense stretching should help correct this issue.

I have a secret weapon to help with all the stretching. Well, it really isn't a secret. I have mentioned it on my blog before. The foam roller (a.k.a torture device) is a miracle worker. Think of it as a rolling pin for your muscles. A deep tissue massage using your own body weight and a foam cylinder.


The foam roller stretches muscles and tendons, breaks down any knots and increases blood flow and circulation. Sure, the pain you feel while doing it makes you want to tear up, but it is well worth it in the end. I spent a couple nights this week with my foam roller and I can feel the difference. I am not 100% just yet, but I am getting there. I am ready to tackle recovery week (8,5,6,5) and then begin adding on the miles again.