After being restricted mainly to cross-training for over a month, last week seemed like I had turned a corner. Because of this, I was excited to see if my knee would handle more running this week. Of course, I am acutely aware that in my original marathon training plan, this was supposed to be peak week. However, instead of running 130 kilometres, I was cautiously attempting to run four times. And cross my fingers hoping that my body would hold up doing it. Running injury recovery is a tedious process, as I am learning.
Distance Run: 48 kilometres (30 miles)
Running Elevation Gain: 0 metres (0 feet)
Time Running: 4 hours 10 minutes
Time Cross Training: 2 hours 43 minutes
I opted for what has become my standard cross-training routine to start the week. That means 45 easy minutes on the elliptical machine. This session inspired the article on elliptical cross-training for improving running fitness.
My workout for the week was a threshold session consisting of 3 times 8 minutes separated by 2 minutes quick walk. I ran the intervals at 5:00 min/km (8:03 min/mile) with 7% incline on the treadmill. Overall, I felt good throughout, and I am getting closer to being in shape to do continuous threshold sessions.
My knee seems to have no trouble with these hard sessions, as long as I do them at a significant incline. I suspect this is because I activate my glutes more when running uphill. In turn, this alleviates the load on my quad, which is causing the pain in my knee.
In the evening, I did 25 minutes of body weight and rehab exercises to aid with my running injury recovery.
Nothing exciting to report here, just another 45 minutes easy on the elliptical.
I was happy to switch out the elliptical for the treadmill this morning. The run of the day was a 60-minute general aerobic, for a total of 12.1 kilometres (7.5 miles). After doing about 10 minutes easy to warm up, I progressed the pace lightly.
For the first time in over a month, I ran two days in a row! I only ran 45 minutes at recovery pace in the morning. It still felt good to put two days together. My quad was a bit tender after being treated with needles the day before, but I felt fine otherwise.
I completely forgot to do my strength and rehab exercises the day before, so I spent 20 minutes getting them in this evening instead.
Full rest day.
Finally, it was time to give the knee a real test. I ended up doing a 75-minute progression run, with the pace topping out at 4:20 min/km (6:58 min/mile). Not only was this the first time in over a month I ran at that pace, but also my longest run since getting injured.
All in all, I got some answers, but not necessarily the ones I wanted. I had no trouble with the knee while I ran. However, the knee felt noticeably strained in the 12 to 36 hours after the run.
Not a bad week, but I am still some way from getting back to full training. It is clear that around 75 minutes of continuous running is the most my knee can handle at the moment. On the bright side, adding back shorter easy runs seems viable without interfering with my running injury recovery.
After a week of warmer weather, the local roads have more or less cleared up. If this persists in the coming week, I will be doing one or two of my runs outside. I am excited about the fresh air and changing scenery, but a little worried about how my knee will react to downhills.
You can follow me on Strava to see all the details from every training session.