Well, here we are: 11 weeks until Boston, so I guess now I’m officially “training for the Boston Marathon.”
Flights have been booked, stay with friends arranged – all I’ve got to do, really, is run.
And try not to get injured.
Oh wait, I already did. Let me tell you about that first.
It’s “just” an ankle sprain — except it happened three times in the past five weeks, on the same ankle. The first was a couple of days before Christmas, during my cool-down jog home after a hill repeat workout. It was mild; I had no pain and almost no swelling a day later, so after a pre-scheduled day off of running and a couple of shorter, easy pace “test” runs, I went back to normal.
Except two weeks later, two miles into a 6-mile tempo run (I did a 1.5-mile slow warmup, then picked up the pace, hoping to gradually descend it to 7:20-ish over the first three miles and try to keep it there) – BAM. Twisted that same ankle on what I could swear was flat asphalt. Since that was pretty much in the middle of my out-and-back route, I had to cover three miles back to the car one of two ways: limp slowly and be in pain longer, or continue the tempo effort and save myself a few minutes of pain. I chose to try and keep the pace as best as I could:
But there was no doubt this time that the sprain was worse, so I took five days off running — with a short, easy-run test (10 minutes) on the fifth. Things looked and felt in order, so on Day 6, I knocked out a 12-mile run, descending my pace from an easy warmup (9:00-ish) down to 8:00 for the last mile. It felt great — obviously, a week off of running doesn’t have to ruin your fitness, especially if you can stay on top of things, like your bike trainer. (Not joking: riding was not bothering my ankle at all, so my coach made me do some pretty nasty trainer interval workouts that kept my quads burning!)
The last sprain came another two weeks later, as I was walking down a hill in the recovery portion of a warmup hill repeat. It wasn’t a bad sprain, and I went on my trail run as planned — good thing, too, because otherwise I’d have missed this amazing rainbow:
But. The sprain was at the exact same spot as the other two and I’m not deluding myself: even though it is now visibly recovered and I am back to running with no pain at any sort of pace, I know there is a weakness there that needs to be addressed. On Coach’s orders, I am doing ankle strengthening exercises daily: lots of eccentric calf drops, calf raises, one-foot standing balance with eyes closed, and what not.
OK… are you bored yet? Here is what my last week-and-a-half of training looked like:
Week 1: 12 weeks to Boston
Monday: swimming, 2500 yards. Rest day from running.
Tuesday: 6.2 run around a dirt-road surface track during kid’s soccer practice. Turned it into a fartlek to test out the ankle at different paces. After a mile warmup (9:06), I ran one mile fast (7:41), then 0.25 easy + 0.75 fast (7:39); then 0.5 easy + 0.5 fast (7:16); then 0.75 easy + 0.25 fast (6:41), and a one-mile cooldown at 8:50. All “easy” intervals were around 9:30 pace.
Wednesday: Morning swim (2300 yards); afternoon easy run – 5 miles at 9:21 avg pace.
Thursday: 9 miles: first three at a faster pace (7:57-7:53-7:31), followed by 6 easy miles with a friend. Well, the Super Bowl is in town and the San Tomas Aquino bike “trail” that goes right to Levi’s Stadium has become quite the popular destination for runners. I have to say, that “trail” (I use the quotes because there’s nothing trail-y about it) is not pleasant. But – how often do you get to check out a stadium all decked-out for the Super Bowl?
Friday: Morning swim (2400 yards); afternoon run: 6 miles at an easy pace (9:33 avg).
Saturday: Trail run, 8.2 miles on a somewhat hilly terrain (790 feet total elevation gain, so OK – not that hilly). Pick up the pace for the last three miles, to 8:05/ mile.
Sunday: Morning ride: 21.5 miles with one little climb (just under 1000 ft total elevation gain); it was rainy and really not that pleasant to be out in the chilly morning. Afternoon run: 5.4 easy-pace run at around 9 min/ mile pace.
Total run mileage: 40
Training phase: Volume.
And that was my “12 weeks to go” Boston Marathon training. I’ve also started reading more about the course and what to expect. It’s not flat!
Any advice from past Boston Marathon runners?