12.75 MILE WORKOUT

The capitalization of the subject represents my absolute JOY behind today's workout.

But, before we get to that, let's back up a few days. I did a 7.5 mile run late last week where tightness crept into the Achilles at 4.5 miles. The pain didn’t worsen, so I kept running, gauging the tightness/pain level the entire way. Is this a good thing? Can I keep going? My mind was completely wrapped up in the injury – not a fun way to run.

Walking back into work, I tested the Achilles on a step. It did okay for about 80% of the heel lift, but close to my tip-toes, it couldn’t hold my weight. A sharper pain came on, but quickly disappeared. Sigh.

But, I told myself that this was progress. Previously, I couldn’t lift myself more than an inch without pain (and definitely not after running 7.5 miles). I promptly emailed Jerry and told him, planning to “test” the area again tomorrow.

Before I got a response, my good friend John Miller (the reason I sought coaching & found Jerry) came to visit in my oh-so-awesome cubicle. He patiently listened to my injury reports, and crossed his arms. “I think you need to take another week or two off”. WHAT?!? I exclaimed back? The trials are just 5 weeks away. That would leave 3 weeks left to train. We talked though how it would still be possible with just 3 weeks, but both recognized that that was just about the time it would take my body to remember HOW to run, let alone run fast. His argument was that I wasn’t fully healed yet – any pain is not a good sign.

I realized, albeit grudgingly, that he was absolutely right. I promptly emailed Jerry again, saying that I thought I needed a few days of cross training. I know that if I just cross train, the Achilles feels great – so hopefully some more time doing that would lead to me being able to run for consecutive days or more miles per day.

He emailed back (on his way to Mexico!) with a plan – cross train until next week, and then let’s try to string a few (if not an entire week’s worth) days of training together, adding in some speed. So that’s exactly what I planned to do. I did another hard workout on the elliptical on Saturday (2 hours on the elliptical which included 50 minutes of threshold work, 30 of which I had my HR above 190). As hard as that was, it’s just not the same. You don’t get that “my legs are exhausted” feeling :(. I miss that.

Fast forward to today (Tuesday). Jerry had my first “hard” workout scheduled. He scaled back the original plan to accommodate for the fact that I haven’t run more than 8 miles at a time for the last 2.5 weeks. I prayed about the workout the night before. Please, God, allow me to get through this. I think I’ve prayed more in the last week during my running miles (carry me through this!) and just in general than I have in a while… I was so worried about testing it with a longer/up tempo workout & knew I needed to be carried through it.

And He did. Seriously. NO PAIN, no real soreness afterwards. Just a little tight during the CD, which I needed to quit early anyway (darn work getting in the way). And the best part (other than the fact that I was RUNNING, didn’t have to entirely concentrate on the injury, enjoying the sunshine, etc!!)?? I wasn’t as slow as I expected!!! My lungs are strong as an ox, seriously. My legs have some work to do, but hopefully they remember how to run efficiently & strong soon.

Workout stats:
2.5 WU
4 miles at MP (averaged 6:12)
.3 miles rest (~3:30)
1 mile Tempo (5:53)
.12 rest (~2:30)
2 miles MP (averaged 6:14)
.3 miles rest (~3:30)
1 mile Tempo (6:00)
1 mile MP (6:07)
.5 mile CD, had to get back to work :(.

Very proud of myself, and this gives me hope that there might be a chance I could still race fast at the Trials. Guess we’ll have to see when I’m back up to full speed, though – I know I’m not completely out of this yet.

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

2 comments:

  1. Here's the tricky part... don't reinjure yourself. It's great that you're on the mend, but the time crunch tends to make athletes try to cram too much into the last few weeks. You're already in PR shape; the rest is just confidence building.

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  2. great to see you're back on your feet, literally! i look forward to meeting you in just four short weeks!

    p.s. i might even bring you a present...size 6.5?

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