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.