So good news and bad news.
The good news is my foot has healed and I've been able to jump right back into running. The foot thing was probably a Peroneus Longus tendon irritation due to a lack of strength of the PL and the Posterior Tibialis muscle (leading to very weak arches). I plan to continue my rehab program for those muscles just as a precaution and I'll stick to training in shoes with some amount of support. I've been running all my recovery miles in the Altra Repetition which has been a great shoe so far. The zero drop with a wide toe box, cushion and support have been really nice, but we'll see how long my Achilles tendon lasts. I guess I need to keep hammering those eccentric heel drops.
The bad news is that this blog is going to be very quite for a while. School is beating the crap out of me and is taking almost all of my time. I have to study constantly and my only real break is when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning to get 10-12 miles out on a bunch of trails I just discovered near my location in Pomona, CA. Or a workout. So yeah. I'll do my best to update how I'm doing and what my thoughts are, but know that school and running comes first before the blog. Someday I'll have more time to really keep this thing up.
As for a return to racing, I decided to get out for a little bit during the last weekend of my spring break and race at the Anaheim Angels 5k. Which I won in 15:31. It was a great race. I went through the first mile in 4:48, then slowed down a bunch because the police bike left me right before mile 2. Really it was more that I haven't been doing 5k specific workouts... mostly because I've been injured. My foot held up well and was only a little sore after the race.
This last week I managed to get 87 miles in on singles only. My one hard workout was a 6 mile tempo run averaging 5:22 pace. I found a great flat two mile loop that I'll be using for tempo runs from 4-10 miles. Those tempos will be a staple of my workouts the next month as I prepare for my next set of races. I thought I might want to do some half marathons... but maybe I'll just bypass those and go right to trail ultra races. Other than that I've been doing those 10-12 mile runs on trails that have very steep elevation gains every morning. So low key hill workouts.
I got excited last weekend after the Angels 5k and wanted to race again. So I signed up for the Derby Day 5k in Santa Anita. Which was stupid. I really shouldn't be racing every week. Oh well. I placed 6th in 15:52 and felt like crap. I did not taper at all for this race as I ran 9 miles averaging 6:10 pace the day before. After the race I cooled down for a few minutes, then launched right into a 30 minute farltek. It started a bit slow as I was stiff from the race, but after 5 minutes got myself down into the 4:45 to 5:00 minute per mile pace. After the fartlek I kept going until my mileage totaled to 17 miles. Because... #tackon. That's why. So a nice tempo/fartlek/long run combination.
I really can't be surprised by the Derby Day 5k result. I haven't done any 5K specific work since the injury (although it's only been two weeks) and have been focusing on longer workouts and runs. So I guess that is to be expected. Combine that with the rigors of DPT school and a lack of sleep. It all makes sense.
For the time being with school taking so much of my time I'm going to focus on consistency over the next few months. I think I'll look into getting some 10k races in, so I'll be sure to get some longer tempo runs in. I'll also make sure I get some speed stuff in like my favorite 10x400 with one minute rest workout. Hopefully that speed stuff will help get my 5k wheels back. Most of my training will just consist of those 10-12 mile trail runs in the early morning before class (in addition to a 18-20 mile long run on Sunday). Hopefully the hills will build a great deal of strength.
I know nothing comes quickly, so I have to keep reminding myself that the most effective way to become a better athlete is to be patient and work on long term development. I know I was complaining about not being selected for various sponsorship programs, but the truth is that I am not even close to those levels. I'm going to back off on racing, focus on school and workouts and just do my best.
So for the future? I'll probably move up to doing more 10ks and maybe ultramarathons. Why? Because I like long slow distance, but want to keep my speed up. I've always wanted to dabble in ultras, so maybe I'll jump into a random 50k and see how I do.
Those are my plans. We'll see how they work out.
Thanks for reading!
As always, my opinions are my own!
Matthew Klein, SPT
-On a side note, I'm also really working on my flexibility and strength right now. Mostly through eccentric range of motion exercises. I'm been seeing a few articles pop up in the Physical Therapy world about eccentric exercises through the full range of motion doing as well as static stretching for increasing flexibility. Plus they build a ton of strength. Why am I focusing on that? Because my hamstrings are insanely tight, I am lacking in the hip extension department and my form looks like crap because I've been neglecting my flexibility work. The article can be found here. Interesting stuff. I'm curious to see how this affects my running.