A Quick Training Update … and a Hint About An Upcoming Post

Burke Gilman Trail

Back on November 24, I had an autologous blood injection in my right plantar fascia.  This followed four weeks after having the same procedure done on my left plantar fascia.  Being the impatient person that I am, I accelerated my rehab protocol a bit by starting my Alter-G rehab running on December 8.  All in all, my plantar fasciitis treatments have taken a good five or six weeks out of my training.  This post is a quick update on the road back to fitness– and some of my ideas for nailing 2015.

I have been running very slow but quickly building up volume.  This last week, I got up to six miles a day for six days a week (five days outdoor and one on the Alter-G), which isn’t bad at all.  I’m slowly feeling the toughness return to my legs.  To keep it going, I want to build to the following goals.

  • Volume Up to 50+ Miles a Week.  Before the cold weather set in and I subjected myself to the needle, I was really happy running around 50 miles a week.  At the time, this was done mostly on 8-9 miles runs for six days a week, but I was missing a slightly longer run.  A weekly long run used to be great for my running, but also left me trashed for at least a day or two afterwards.  Instead, I think Canute’s ideas on using Ed Whitlock’s 2-long-days-a-week has a lot of validity for me.  So that would mean keeping a base of seven miles a day for six days a week, but adding four extra miles (11 total) twice a week.  That might be a little short for a “long” run (certainly not the 2-3 hours of Ed Whitlock’s runs) but I’m a duathlete so it’s probably more than enough.  Five days a week, these would be super-slow runs with a my HR below 130 bpm.
  • Bike Five or Six Days a Week.  Polarized training works for cycling just as well as for running.  But for multisport, it serves an additional purpose– making the transition between sports easier.  If you run and bike just about every day of the week, your body gets used to doing both on the day.  This is critical to multisport– especially duathlon.
  • Speedwork One Day a Week– Starting with Mostly High-Intensity.  Back in September, I had an amazing workout that made me question my lactate-focused training.  It was probably the one event that started me thinking about polarized training– and it focused on short, high-intensity work to focus on MCT-1 and lactate clearance.  So this means lots of hard intervals of 1-6 minutes with nice long recoveries.  In running, this will mean building up to mile repeats and blend workouts.  For cycling, this will mean starting with full-out one-minute intervals on two minutes recovery.  As winter turns to spring, these intervals should get longer and become 4×8-minute intervals that are particularly effective in a polarized training plan.  I may violate the polarized training principles with a few short days of lactate threshold specific training before my key races– mostly to give myself the mental edge in knowing that I’ll be able to hold the right effort level.
  • Alter-G Speed Recovery.  Most of the stuff up to now aren’t new ideas– it’s just pulling together old ideas.  Now we’re getting into new stuff.  One day a week (preferably the day after my running speedwork), I’m going to spend on an Alter-G treadmill.  I’ve been using my rehab to play around with different training ideas on the Alter-G and I now think I’m ready to propose a few ideas.  While I’ll elaborate on this in a future post, I’m thinking about doing “overspeed” work (e.g. faster than maxVO2 speed) at a much lower gravity (e.g. below 85%) to build leg speed while also facilitating recovery.  Plus, the extra speed could reinforce the neurological pathways set from the hard fast running the day before.  Again, stay tuned for more ideas of how the pieces fit together.
  • Simplifying PT and Strength Training.  No matter what I do, I will always find an excuse to not do my PT routine.  Now, I’m keeping it super-simple– just TWO exercises a day.  A friend on Facebook reminded me of the importance of doing pistol squats– they are brutally hard muscularly and even harder in terms of balance and range of motion.  As I’ve been having balance/ROM issues of late, pistols are going back in the rotation.

Day 1: Pistol Squats & Banded Hip Extension Stretch

Day 2: Side Plank with Hip Drop and Leg Lift & Banded Calf Stretch

Day 3 (gym): Leg press/Squats & Owen Anderson’s Chinese Stabilizer planks

The banded hip extension stretch can be found in Kelly Starrett’s Becoming a Supple Leopard at page .  Similarly, the banded calf stretch is located at page 384.  Owen Anderson’s Chinese Stabilizer planks come out of a 1997 copy of Runner’s World (UK version) in which Owen describes this merciless version of a plank.

Lie on the ground or floor and stretch out in a prone position, face down.  Then lift your body so that your full weight is supported only by your forearms and toes, with your elbows on the ground almost directly below your shoulders.  Your forearms and hands are now resting on the ground, pointed straight ahead (parallel to the line made by your body) and your does are about shoulder-width apart.  In addition your pelvis is ‘tucked’ (i.e. the lower part of your pelvis is rotated towards the floor, while the upper part is rotated away form the floor).

(a) Hold this basic position and then lift your right arm off the ground, straighten it, and point it straight ahead, holding it in the air for 10 seconds.  (At this point, your body is supported only by your left forearm and the toes of your two feet).  After 10 seconds, return to the starting position.

(b) Next, lift your left arm off the ground, straighten it, and hold it parallel with the ground for 10 seconds.

(c) After returning to the starting position, left your right leg off the ground and hold it parallel with the ground.  (Your body will now be supported by your two forearms and the toes of your left foot).  After 10 seconds, return to the starting position.

(d) Lift your left leg in the air, hold it parallel with the ground for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position.

(e) Here’s a move you’ll always remember.  Form the basic Chinese-torture starting position, lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously, holding each of them parallel with the ground for 10 seconds. (Your body will now be supported only by your right toes and left forearm.)

(f) After returning to the starting position, lift your left arm and right leg simultaneously and hold them in the air for 10 seconds.

One other key point to Owen’s special planks– always keep a straight line between ankles, hips and shoulders.  No cheating by raising your butt!  The first time you try them, you’ll swear they are impossible.  But before you know it, you’ll be able to hold each position for 30 seconds or more.

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