There comes a time in every runner’s yearly training cycle when making the decision to improve fitness becomes absolutely necessary. For me, that time came 6 weeks ago – immediately following Thanksgiving week. At that time, I made the decision to beef up my running volume again, add in structured core-strength training, and sprinkle in a small amount of running intensity as well. In short, I dedicated myself to a year-long process of re-making my body. Purposeful training has once again become an anchor of my daily-life.
I made one more subtle tweak during this past week (first week of 2013) that has now set me back a bit. Since Thursday (January 3rd) I’ve been struggling with severe pain and tightness in my right glute/upper hamstring area. The day prior, I added box step-ups w/ weight to my strength training routine – and promptly overdid it. I ignored the lingering tightness and ended up severely straining the muscles in this area. I’m on the mend now, but elliptical machine training and slow jogs on the treadmill sure aren’t as fun as running outside on these crisp mornings. The running streak is alive and I’m still elbow-deep in the process of transformation, but this has clearly been a set-back. Check out the details from the week that was:
Monday – 12/31/12
AM: Started running at 7:00am and felt more snappy and awake compared to my early morning outings. Very positive run. Ran a total of 12 miles in 1.5 hours, including 5 x 1 minute hard surges during the second half. Felt great. SU. 1.5 hours running. 12 miles running.
PM: Core Strength Training Routine at the EFC: 10 minute running warm-up on the treadmill, pull-ups, walking lunges w/ weight, thera-band lateral walks, calves, more pull-ups, tele-jumps, back-ups, obliques, bridges, thera-band clamshells, 8-minute abs, and some stretching. The stretching was a mix of AIS and static. Good session. .5 hours training. Solid strength.
Tuesday – 1/1/13
AM: HAPPY NEW YEAR – ‘Back to the Future’ Run. This is now a yearly tradition with Parr. Started the run at 4:30am – ran for 4 hours – and covered 29 miles. We went out-and-back on Gold Basin Road – all the way to the top. Energy levels were solid and legs felt fantastic all the way. Felt better than Saturday’s run. 4 hours running. 29 miles running. Solid.
Wednesday – 1/2/13
AM: Super cold morning. Started running at 5:00am and ran out-and-back on Lost Canyon Road for a slow-ish 14 miles. Beautiful morning. Could tell that I was recovering from yesterday’s long run – so I took it very mellow today. 2 hours running. 14 miles running. SU.
PM: Core Strength Training Routine at the EFC: 10-minute running warm-up on the treadmill, pull-ups, calves, walking lunges w/ weight, thera-band lateral walks, box step-ups w/ weight, more pull-ups, tele-jumps, thera-band clamshells, bridges, back-ups, obliques, and 8-minute abs. Also, about 15 minutes of AIS and Static stretching. Felt awesome after this session. .5 hours training. Added the box step-ups w/ weight today.
Thursday – 1/3/13
AM: Our home thermometer read NEGATIVE 30 degrees (-30 degrees!) – I believe the official low temperature though was only -27. Went out at 5:00am for an out-and-back run on McCabe’s Lane. I was planning on repeat miles today – but because of the cold temps and the amount of clothing covering my body – I opted out. I felt absolutely fantastic for the first 14 miles of this run – no problems whatsoever. Over the last two miles though – my right hamstring and glute both began to tighten up a ton. I made it through the rest of the run, but by the time I was taking off my pants at home, I was hobbled. Super painful in the upper leg region. Did some light stretching. 2 hours training. 2 hours running. 16 miles running. SU.
AM/PM: Headed out for a long XC ski tour at Harman Rocks with two fine people that I work with at WSCU. Beautiful ski from 10:30am – 1:00pm. Cold temps and bright sunshine. Glorious. So nice to be outside for an extended period of time during the middle of the day. My right leg was bothering me a bit, but I managed to not have a significant flare-up while skiing.
Friday – 1/4/13
AM: I was absolutely determined to run this morning – marking the first major ‘bonehead’ decision of this whole leg pain ordeal. I made it about 3 miles before things really tightened up. At that point, I finished by merely shuffling around the town loop for a total of 6.5 miles. Yikes. SU. Some light stretching after this run seemed to help loosen the area. 1 hour running. 6 miles running. SU.
PM: 1 hour session of stretching and foam-rolling. Wow – I needed this. I can barely walk up-and-down stairs at this point, my normal flat-ground walk is a pathetic display, and balancing on my right leg has proven to be very painful. I spent this session focusing on the hips, quads, hamstrings, and hip-flexors. Felt much better immediately following this session.
Saturday – 1/5/13
AM: Whoa. Not good. Went out for another running attempt. Felt okay-ish until mile 3 – then things really locked up. It was all I could do to scamper home and not freeze to death. Trying to run this morning was a ridiculous mistake. 1 hour running. 6 miles running. SU.
AM: Had the good fortune of teaching a beginner-level XC Ski Skate Clinic for the good folks of Gunnison Nordic. I managed to poke my way through this without further irritating my leg injury – and I think I did a pretty darn good job teaching too! (Meaning only that my leg issue did not hamper my instruction). Beautiful day.
Sunday – 1/6/13
PM: Decided to take my training indoors this afternoon and see how the leg would respond to the elliptical and the treadmill. I figured that if I could control my footing, then things might be better. This turned out okay. I did 30 hard minutes on the elliptical machine and sweat a ton. I love to sweat this much! My leg tightened up some, but did not hurt. I then made the decision to try out jogging on the treadmill. This, too, turned out okay. I made it through a 30 minute ‘run’ and covered a bit over 3 miles. So – not ideal – but good to be working out still. After this cardio session, I did a 20 minute stretching routine. 1 hour training. .5 hours running. 3 miles running. SU.
Week totals –
15 hours training. 12 hours running. 86 miles running. Good early part of the week. Glute/Hamstring issue later in week.
I love celebrating the New Year with a period of reflection, followed by spending some time sketching out a plan for the next 365 days. This year, more than ever, I’ve enjoyed that process – especially because I’m still planning my running calendar for 2013. At this point, I have yet to fully commit to any race, but I am on the verge of announcing my 2013 race calendar. Undoubtedly, all 4 of you are anxious to hear where I’ll be competing this year. Sorry for the delay in posting my schedule – more detail on this by the end of the month. In the mean-time, once I’m fully healthy again, I will be re-incorporating Coach Jay Johnson‘s Lunge Matrix into my pre-run routine. For a thorough walk-through of the routine, check out the video below. Thanks for reading. Live well. Train well. DC