After being able to run more than 50 kilometres in a single week a while back, I felt enthusiastic. The knee pain that effectively ended my hopes of a spring marathon was on the mend. I seemed set for a comeback, but I knew that not overdoing it would be the key at this stage of my recovery back to full training.
My recovery plan was nothing too advanced. If I were able to do two weeks at a certain mileage without worsening knee pain, I would increase the weekly distance run another notch. Last week, I ran over 75 kilometres (almost 50 miles) without deteriorating the knee. If the knee held up with the same load this week, the next step in my recovery would be getting back into my regular training schedule.
Distance Run: 72 kilometres (45 miles)
Running Elevation Gain: 139 metres (456 feet)
Time Running: 5 hours 39 minutes
Time Cross Training: n/a
AM: 8.8 km (5.5 miles) treadmill recovery run (45 minutes)
The week started with the usual Monday morning recovery session. I felt quite tired after a very hectic weekend.
AM: 16.3 km (10 miles) treadmill threshold interval session (1 hour 15 minutes)
The threshold intervals have been a staple in my weekly schedule since the turn of the year. I believe these to be an integral part of marathon training, and I will continue to do it every week in the coming months as I try to get ready for another full marathon training cycle.
This week I opted for a relatively soft session structure, consisting of four times 2000 metres at 3:43 min/km (5:59 min/mile) with a two-minute shuffle between intervals. I was in control throughout the entire workout. My legs felt good, and my heart rate never came close to the upper limits for threshold work. All in all, this was a very positive training session, and proof that my injury has not set me back as much as I had feared.
Between sorting out all the formalities of buying a new house, and getting our current house ready for a sale, I woke up exhausted this morning. The words “stress is stress” from Brad Croker of the Inside Running Podcast were in my mind as I decided to make this an unplanned rest day.
AM: 16.2 km (10 miles) treadmill medium long run (1 hour 15 minutes)
One of the defining characteristics of my Pfitzinger-inspired marathon training philosophy is the weekly medium long run. Therefore, adding this back into my schedule has been a priority. This particular morning I felt quite heavy and sluggish, despite the rest day. Still, it was encouraging to get in 75 minutes at a moderate pace without feeling the knee.
Vary of overdoing it still; I decided to make this another rest day.
AM: 12.7 km (7.9 miles) easy run (1 hour 2 minutes)
Winter has finally loosened its grip on the southern part of Norway, and I ventured back outside to run once more. It felt great to run on clear sidewalks, and I was sincerely hoping that I had done my last treadmill run for the season.
AM: 18.1 km (11.2 miles) treadmill long run w/ some threshold work (1 hour 20 minutes)
Mother nature did not heed my calls, and winter returned overnight, and I was back inside on the treadmill for my Sunday long. A friend and I had initially planned a long run outside this morning, but fresh and wet snow forced us inside. To spice up the session a bit, we opted to add an alternating pace segment to the run.
After a 5k warmup, we did 10k with 1k on at 3:45 min/km (6:02 min/mile) and 1k off at 4:35 min/km (7:23 min/mile) before ending with a couple of kilometres cooldown. Continuing the positive experience from earlier in the week, I felt good throughout this run. The quicker pace felt comfortable, and I recovered quickly at a decent clip between the high-intensity efforts.
It is tempting to declare myself fully fit at this point. I have put together two consecutive weeks with more than 70 kilometres of running. My fitness is at a higher level than expected. Yet, I know that I am not out of the woods. The temptation to overdo it is real, but I need to hold back.
With this in mind, the fact that I have been slacking on my supplemental rehab work is very disappointing. My physio has said in no uncertain terms that I need to keep up with the strength work despite feeling better. Because I have not, it feels disingenuous to complain if I do end up reinjuring myself.
My focus in the upcoming weeks, therefore, can be summed up succinctly as such: Don’t run too much, and don’t skip the strength work. If I can do that through the last two weeks of the month, I will be in an excellent position to make April a great month for training.