Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weather / Patterns

rainy SFOn my way home from work today, I listened to people talking on the radio about record-breaking heat in places like Indiana, Arkansas, and Texas & how people are being warned to stay inside if at all possible due to heat advisories; my Facebook friends are posting sad things about broken air conditioners and outdoor activities; a couple of running sites are running articles about how to run safe in the heat and stay hydrated.

I, on the other hand, went to work today in a sweater, jeans, and a rain shell, and ran the heater in the car.

rainy KezarI also had a track workout scheduled for this afternoon, and let me tell you just how excited I was to get out there in the wind/cold/drizzle. (Alright, I know it's not real cold, but it's too cold for my preference, and the wind makes it worse.) It made me so incredibly sad to discover I'd already gone through my three pairs of running tights this week; instead, I made due with the longest pair of shorts I have and a long-sleeve tech shirt. Kezar Stadium has been a happier place to be, that is for certain.

soft paints and teaOn the other hand, there is a certain satisfaction to completing a run in nasty weather, then curling up inside on the couch for the rest of the day. Nothing follows a nasty weather workout better than soft pants and hot tea. :)

In addition to my soft pants and tea, I am treating myself to a couple of those freaky blue ice packs. A pattern seems to be developing, and it appears to involve track workouts.

My speed work has gone through a bit of evolution lately. In May and June, I was running a lot of hard 400 repeats, usually 10-12 at a time. A few weeks into that was when my shin splints started acting up again. I'd feel fine after a long run Sunday, take Monday off, run 10-12 x 400 on Tuesday, starting having med tib pain, take Wednesday off, and then end up either cutting my Thursday run short, feeling miserable after it, or just skipping it altogether and then trying to run Friday and Saturday if I could.

ice packsThis pattern went on for a few weeks. Then I basically took a week off while we were in Chicago. The week after that (last week) I did a track workout, but mile repeats at 5K pace instead of 400s, and felt great. (Slower pace = less pounding? A week of rest? Who can say?) Now I am changing things up again to better align with my 10K goals and alternating weeks between five-minute intervals at 5K pace and ten-minute intervals at 10K pace. Today I did the five-minutes, planning to do five, and knew after just a couple that I would need to cut back unless I wanted to ruin the rest of my training week. I did four, but I've been having mild shin AND Achilles tendon (!) pain in both legs since (ie, a couple of hours).

I don't think it's anything too serious; it's not the level of pain I was having a few weeks ago, and I've definitely become less hesitant about cutting things short as soon as I feel it, even if it's pretty mild. Since the 10Ks are really a means to an end, I'm trying to do my best to take the long view and invest in my fall half marathon by running less mileage and spending more time recovering when I need it so that I'll be stronger and able to run more later on. It's frustrating, but I think that if I'm conservative about my speed work, sandwich it between rest days, and ice both my shins and Achilles tendons consistently when I'm having pain, I'll end up having a better fall.

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