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Monday, January 12, 2015

Training update: On the road to fitness

I am in my 5th month of a training cycle that is very new to me. My partial meniscectomy was in early August and I was allowed to start running mid-September. Given meniscus tears are common among runners, I thought I would update you on how my training post-procedure is going. If you are recovering from a similar procedure, feel free to contact me for more details.

As previous posts have noted, I have gradually increased my running mileage over the past few months. I still hope to be ready to run the Quintiles Marathon March 22 and my workouts are cautiously geared towards that goal. My highest mileage week thus far has been 54 miles; I have had four weeks over 40 miles. For those of you that know my past training, this is about half of where I would be at this point in marathon training. I have "replaced" that running with swimming and have been consistently swimming 20,000-24,000 yards per week since early September. Since I have been competing in a few meets, the swimming has been interval training, with repeats ranging from 25 to 1,000 yards. Just like running, there is a purpose for each session.

So how is this working out? Very well so far. While I am not setting any personal records yet, below are two recent running workouts that made me very happy:

December 30th (Wilmington, NC):
6 x mile with 1:30 rest @ 7:00 (odd on track, even on concrete loop), the first mile broken into 4x400 at pace
I did this workout with the Without Limits group in Wilmington and we were told that we could open it up a bit the last two, but to be mindful of form. We went  1:39-:43 on the first 400s, then 6:48, 6:42, 7:00 (Tom ordered a 7:00), 6:38, 6:10. I felt strong, powerful, and in control of this workout. It is a feeling that I have missed the last few years.

January 4 (Boston, MA):
My second long-run/workout combo of the training cycle. I was in Boston for the ASSA/AEA Annual Meetings and ran on the path following the Charles. A 30:00 warm-up was to be followed by 2 x 10:00 @ 7:00 (4:00 recovery), 2 x 7:00 @ 6:40 (3:00 recovery, 3 x 4:00 fast (2:00 recovery). I ran 6:53-6:56 pace for the 10:00, 6:35 pace for the 7:00 and 6:17-6:24 pace for the fasts. Again, not record breaking, but a breakthrough for me. The run totaled 15 miles.

Thus far, swimming is successfully replacing running in building my strength and endurance. As my mileage and intensity increase in running I need to be mindful of training "smart". While it is exciting to immediately follow a 3,500 yard sprint pool session with a 13 mile run, I cannot do this frequently without over training. I do not know how Ironman athletes do what they do. I have had several poor swim sessions since my mileage has gone over 50 miles, and I believe it is due to poorly timed swim/run sessions. I need to carefully plan each session and eat accordingly.

In sum, I am enjoying this training experiment of one and am getting good results. I will keep you updated as we move towards the marathon. Hopefully I will be ready to toe the line. If not, that is OK too. The most important thing is to be fit, have fun, and do everything that I can to ensure that I can do this for a long time.

See you on the road to fitness,


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