Remake the body. These three simple words continue to mean a lot to me as I forge ahead into spring-time. Remake what? Well – for much of 2011 and 2012 I found myself plodding along down the trail with poor mechanics, on beat-up legs – all while carrying too much weight. I was heavy, tired, slow, and sloppy. So – as I launched into training at the end of November, I set the goal of increasing my running efficiency through a more structured approach to intensity. I also dedicated myself to a thorough stretching and foam-rolling routine. Most importantly though, I recognized the need to lose weight. I identified weight-loss as the most important factor that would help my performance and longevity. On New Years Day, 2013 – just 2 short months ago – I weighed in at a hefty 175.8 pounds. The shocking thing about this figure? It came at the end of a 5-week period of training in which I amassed 500 miles of running. That same day, I ran 29 miles at 8:00 minute/mile pace and felt fantastic doing it. Three days later, I was sidelined with a glute/hamstring injury, which led to two weeks of intermittent training until I eventually decided to take four weeks completely off. Man – I needed the rest. Throughout this time, I was able to really focus on my nutritional intake – and this has led to my new-found leaner body. Through diligently recording my dietary intake, sleeping more, and actually giving my body the rest it needed – I have dropped 16 pounds, and now weigh-in at 159.8 pounds. Of course, quite a bit of this weight reduction can be attributed to a loss of muscle-mass – both in the upper body and lower body – but this was most definitely needed as well. I feel substantially better on a daily basis now, and as I start running again I am very excited to feel the benefits of a lighter, leaner, and svelter body. I can’t help but think how cool it is that an injury that wiped out nearly 2 months of training is seemingly exactly what I needed to further Remake the body. A snapshot from the past two weeks:
Summary – Week of 2/11/13 – 2/17/13 –
I invested considerable time, effort, and energy on dialing in my nutrition this week. I continued to record absolutely everything that I ate or drank, and was able to identify several trends. During this 7 day window, I consumed 3200 calories per day on average – with 20% from carbohydrates, 25% from protein, and 55% from fat. My lowest daily carb intake was a mere 22g, as I was attempting to enter nutritional ketosis. Eating ‘clean’ and extremely low-carb has its benefits – namely appetite control – but, eating this way is definitely easier when not training. Speaking of training, this week I focused on several muscle activation exercises to engage my glutes and hamstrings. In addition, I added a bit more rolling and stretching to the mix, and by Friday I was feeling ‘loose’ and free in the previously-afflicted area. Once again, I found myself spending a considerable amount of time walking – and feel as though I’ve rekindled my desire to be outside. Week totals – 4 hours training. 0 hour running. 0 miles running. PT/Stretching/Rolling/AIS.
Monday – 2/18/13
AM: From 5:30am to 6:30am I did my PT/Rolling/Stretching/AIS routine. This included a total of 6 different muscle activation exercises, some great foam rolling, rolling-pin rolling, golf ball rolling on my feet, and spiky-ball rolling. Also, some AIS stretches and a few static stretches. Making progress.
AM: Headed out for my first run in almost a month! Nothing fancy – just a 33-minute jog on the short 3-mile Van Tuyl Loop out our back door. Beautiful morning. Felt great to get out and breathe again, although 11-minute pace didn’t generate any sweat! Not much to report here other than I was not really encouraged during or after this jaunt. My glute and hamstring were really tight for most of the outing, with some pain starting to creep in by the end. Crunches and pushups.
Tuesday – 2/19/13
AM: My energy is higher than it has been in quite some time. Same PT/Stretching/Rolling/AIS routine. It feels as though the biggest difference is coming from stretching and rolling my hip flexors. Interesting. I was also able to get some deep rolling with a golf-ball on my left foot. Feeling very positive about this routine. Focused on continuing this.
AM: Went out and did another 3-mile run on the Van Tuyl Loop. MUCH BETTER than yesterday. The hips, glutes, and hamstrings are all feeling better – on both sides of the body – and my range of motion is better than it has been in quite some time. Ran this loop 3 minutes faster than yesterday. Having the hankering to run/train at a high level again.
Wednesday – 2/20/13
AM: PT/Stretching/Rolling/AIS routine again. I spent 90 minutes on the routine this morning and really focused on rolling my entire lower body. Actually made my quads and it-bands sore today. Crunches and pushups too.
PM: Ran the 3-mile Van Tuyl Loop with Annie and Jordan in a snow storm! I pushed Jordan in the stroller. Nice to run with the whole family. Had some minor pain in the glute and significant hamstring tightness.
Thursday – 2/21/13
AM: Had a great stretching and rolling session this morning. PT/Stretching/Rolling/AIS routine. Feeling like I am really getting into a groove with this routine and my daily energy. Positive. Momentum. I focused on two piriformis-specific stretches, and this seemed to help dramatically. Crunches and pushups. Then I got ready to run.
AM: Breakthrough! Pain-free 30-minute run out on the 3-mile Van Tuyl Loop! I managed to run this loop in just over 25 minutes! (8:30 min/mile pace!) I had no pain or significant tightness in the glute or hamstring. 3 miles of running!
Friday – 2/22/13
AM: PT/Stretching/Rolling/AIS. Opted to spend quite a bit more time in this routine this morning with the hope that it will pay off over the weekend. Feeling free, loose, ‘springy’, and alive. The major focus this morning was with the muscle activation exercises for the glutes. (prone leg-raises, clamshells, bridges, etc). Things are firing well.
PM: Headed out for a 4-mile lunch-time run on the Airport Road. Beautiful day. Psyched to run during the middle of the day. Ended up being turbo-charged and energized for the rest of my afternoon at work. (I forgot how much I missed these short, mid-day runs!) No issues at all during this run. By the end of the day though, I could feel more tightness.
Saturday – 2/23/13
AM: Off. Opted to take today off. Energy was lagging quite a bit. Ate well. Napped. Hung out with the family. Good day.
Sunday – 2/24/13
AM: New-found energy and resolve. 1 hour session of PT/Stretching/Rolling/AIS this morning. Feeling great. I did spend more time with muscle activation again, as well as AIS stretching – so, I cut out the static stretching and piriformis-specific stretches. Rolling went fairly well. Finished this and rushed to meet Parr for a 1 hour run!
AM: Ran a super-slow 6 miles with Tim Parr this morning. Great to be back to running with Timmy. (We had not run together since January 1st!). Beautiful morning. Town Loop. 6 miles. 10 minute/mile pace jogging. Crunches and pushups.
Totals – Week of 2/18/13 – 2/24/13
9 hours training. 3.5 hours running. 22 miles running. Making my return to running. Strong focus still on nutrition. Significant emphasis on PT/Stretching/Rolling/AIS.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out Roopstigo.com yet, make sure to click this link and take a look. Selena Roberts does an amazing job with this site. I am a big fan of sports in general, but I do tend to get sick of the standard/main-stream sports media (except Colin Cowherd of course!) Roopstigo.com and Grantland.com are two sites that provide more depth, narrative, and insight than your typical sports-media sources. In particular, Roopstigo has had several fantastic articles on the whole Lance Armstrong story. In other news, the US XC Ski Team won gold at the World Championships in Italy this weekend! Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins made it to the top of the podium in the Freestyle Team Sprint! Check out the video below of Kikkan Randall winning a sprint race earlier in the season – very inspiring. Here’s to building fitness. Live well. Train well. Eat well. DC.