It has been a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and my dear sweet couch. And though it has been exceedingly restful it has not been great for my running game.
After the Steamtown Marathon I had a case of ITBS (Illiotal Band Syndrome, not to be confused with IBS). After almost 3 months of light running I am finally starting to build my base back up and am excited to train again. In that time I have lost roughly 1:00 to 1:30 per mile off my paces, but really feel it in the endurance department. Being mentally used to knocking out 15, 20, 25 miles for a long, enjoyable run I now find that 10 miles puts the hurt on me.
Last Saturday the Steel City Road Runners put on their annual marathon training information session and run from UPMC’s Montefiore Hospital in Oakland. There were talks on injury prevention and nutrition, but me, I was there mostly for the run. My leg muscles really have tightened up from disuse so I opted to try and run with a faster pace group to stretch out. At least that was my poor justification. Really I was itching to run and to run hard. I ran the first six with the 8:00 min/mile group. This was my PR marathon pace just 3 months previous and on this day it had become a hard tempo run. Then De and I ran 2 more miles around the hospital and I tacked a little more on for 9.6 total. I felt great! It was easily the best run I’ve had in months. However, the next day my calves were mooing loudly at me. It is Thursday as I write this and they are still a bit sore.
I ran 4 miles of hills Tuesday. It was 60 degrees! Pain or not how couldn’t I? I had shorts and a short sleeve on and ran an easy zone 2 HR run with rain coming down. It was beautiful. If you skip your runs when it is raining you are missing out! Thunder and lightning are something else though. It is best to stay inside, but I have foolishly and happily ran in T-storms jumping and splashing through the puddles like a kid.
Let me tell you something…a secret…come in close….closer…..
Like a kid.
It is liberating and a great form of stress relief and fuel for the soul. Go and jump in that puddle. Have a snowball fight. Go sledding. Swing as high as you can on that swing set.
So here we are. This is a little later than I usually start training for Pittsburgh, but there is plenty of time. I am only running around 20 miles max a week so I need to get my base back up to 30-40. So that is the front end plan. Get that base up by slow incremental additions of mileage, 10-15% per week. That will be around 4 weeks to add 10 miles per week training load plus an additional 2 weeks plateauing mileage at the new base to allow body adaptations. Then targeted speedwork starting around 8-10 weeks before race day.
My sights are set on a sub 3:30 finish. That would be around 8 minutes off my current personal best at Steamtown. Arguably Pittsburgh isn’t the course for an attempt like this, but I’m not the smartest cookie sometimes. And sometimes that pays off big.
I hope to see you all out around the City of Champions in the coming months getting those miles in!