Saturday, March 7, 2015

Training Update: The Run

My run training has taken a little swerve since I’ve written my last post.

The weekend after I wrote my last post, I did a 2 hour tempo run. Post workout, I started to feel some pain in my big toe. Because a long career in triathlon depends upon a healthy body, I don’t mess around with this stuff, EVER, even if it feels like a little issue. From my own experience, I know that if I wait to deal with an oncoming injury, sometimes for only one more workout, my entire season can be put in jeopardy. I immediately started my injury recovery protocol which involves: 1.) immediately texting my coach about what I’m feeling and what happened; 2.) using ibuprofen to decrease any swelling in the area; 3.) foam rolling 4.) keeping my legs up even more than normal; 5.) making an appointment with Dr. AJ, my chiro who specializes in sports injury; 6.) not running until I’m completely confident that I can run injury free and not re-injure the issue. The rest of the afternoon involved the couch.  

Back to Running... in the Heat of Venice, FL!
The next day, I walked into Dr. AJ’s office. Before I continue, I should say that I’ve been working with Dr. AJ for over a year on injury prevention and, when I need it, injury rehabilitation. Over this time, he’s learned to know my body like a great jockey knows his race horse. AJ has an instinctual way of knowing when my training is easy and I’m working hard, when my body is ready to race and when it needs some work. Physically, he keeps me tuned up and ready to work hard. Mentally, he reminds me that training is hard and that I’m constantly breaking down and building up my muscles. He reminds me that I’m not a God and that my body needs continual maintenance in order for me to perform at my best. The relationship we’ve developed has been invaluable and proved to be again with this issue.  

As always, AJ listened attentively to my story about training, the emerging foot pain, and my concern that it might be a stress fracture. He explained to me that a lot of foot problems, especially when the pain is on the top of the foot, are often routed in tight calf’s. It never ceases to amaze me how often pain in one area is caused by a different area in the body. He ran some tests to check if that was the case. We found that my calf’s were tighter than normal and AJ reassured me that we could really improve the issue. He went to work. After a couple of sessions of Active Release Technique on my calf and Graston technique on my foot, the issue dissolved away.

At the same time I was working out the injury with AJ, I kept Cliff up to date so that he could make the proper modifications to my training schedule. He reassured me that I was doing all the right things and he backed off my run training for the following week. This, I think, is what great coaches do.  They know when and how to divert from the original plan. They also know how to keep an extremely motivated athlete at bay until the time is right to unleash him once again. As that extremely motivated athlete, I can say that it helps to have someone confirm that it is the right time to back off. I’m always removing myself from the pain involved with training hard and it’s often a mental challenge to back off, especially when I’m in a great rhythm and feel like I’m making big gains in training every single day. There may be a few circumstance where you push through an injury for a little while, but these cases are far and few between. This was certainly not the time in my season to push the limits. We backed off and took it one step at a time.  

More Running near the Condo in FL

For my first run back after about a week of no run training, Cliff suggested that I do a 5 minute warm up walk followed by 4x (5 minute jog, 2 minute walk). I got through the second 5 minute jog portion and felt good, but my confidence in my calf began to wane. I cut the workout there, believing that I’d rather play it safe and cut the workout when I was feeling good. This was a hard decision for me to make. In the past I would have just pushed on to avoid the guilt that comes with not completing a given workout, despite the knowledge that I could possibly re-injure myself. After that workout I had no pain, but I’m confident I made the right decision to cut that initial run short.

Lower Run Vol = Increased Swim Work!

Cliff began to build the run training up slowly over the course of two weeks and I’m almost back to my normal run volume again. I’m really happy with the way I took control of the situation and skirted the issue before it became a much bigger deal. 

I spent the last week in Davenport, FL with Amber's family, training, going to the beach, and visiting the parks. I’m looking forward to some longer runs in the next two weeks in Tuscan, AZ as I train at Cliff’s CEC pro camp!