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Mid-Year Review – June 2019

Since this is the half-way point of 2019, I get look at how my running has gone so far this year.

During January through the end of May, my running had been going fantastic!

Getting good mileage, running injury-free and feeling tired a lot, but I thought it was a good tired, but looking back it might have been a bit of a harbinger of things to come. Especially, when I came down with a bad cold just before I got injured that just lingered and lingered.

The other good thing was that I was also running regularly with some other runners down at Planet Fitness, which was a nice change of pace. It was getting to the point where I even thinking about getting into a couple of races.

Injured Again

Then I came back to reality.

On June 5th, while running, I heard a loud snap and felt pain in my left lower leg. It didn’t get any better and the following Monday, the Doc agreed that I had probably had a stress fracture. While she didn’t require me to wear a boot, I was told to not run for 6-8 weeks and to stop what I was doing when it started to hurt.

Okay, everyone you all get to yell at me all you want and I still get to smile – because I am running again. Yes, I know it is at least 2-3 weeks ahead of what the docs, experts and Dr. Google explained to me when I screwed up my leg on June 5th. However, my body has given me the green light to do easy running at this point and who am I to argue with it.

This last week has been a week of experimenting and seeing what the leg tolerates and what it complains loudly about.

After a few runs and bike rides, the body agrees with the old brain that about 3.0 miles is a pretty nice distance to stop at and as long as I don’t attempt to break any land speed records things will go along nicely.

Post Injury

As a result of my latest injury, I have really taken a look at things that I can do to keep moving towards returning to training, versus the usual 2 steps forward, 3 steps backwards that seems to be my lot in running.

I have been re-reading my running books, researching and reflecting a LOT on how I got injured, what I want from running going forward and the steps I can do right now to make changes that will make a difference in my running.

Training

I love, love the Hansons Training Methods, but at the same time I have a feeling that those same methods are a bit too intense for the old, injury prone runner that I am. At this point in my life is maybe a bit too aggressive of a training program and probably my time goals that I am basing my training on are not realistic.

Even so, I followed the Hanson Half Marathon Method fairly closely for most of the Winter and Spring, at least until I got injured again. It gave me some pretty good guiderails to bounce off and stay within, but at the same time I was starting to feel tired all the time and the injury gave me a chance to really think about my running.

It is a great way to train…if you can stay healthy on it. If I ever plan to really train for a fast half marathon or to finish a full marathon, I have a feeling that I will be using the Hanson Method to get me there.

However, at this time neither one of those distances are my priorities.

After giving it a LOT of thought though, I am going back to running more by feel with my training based more on a weekly routine than a training plan. I have been re-reading Run – The Mind-Body Method of Running By Feel by Matt Fitzgerald – again, to remind me of what I need/want to do.

I want to enjoy my running more and not worry so much about meeting planned daily mileage or paces. I can see me staying between 25-35 miles most weeks, since that seems to be my sweet spot now as far as remaining relatively injury-free.

The biggest thing is that I need to get back to running because I want to run, not because I have to train for something.

That old saying – “I don’t have to run, I get to run,” attitude that has been missing lately.

Running Shoes

I have run in a few shoes this year, but not as many as usual and have been very lucky with my choices. The Adidas Tempo 9s (both pair) have been rock solid and can still be run in. New Balance Beacons were fantastic treadmill shoes and did fine outside for over 300 miles.

Other shoes did well by me, but those two really were the highlight of my running shoes earlier this year.

The other shoe that worked too well for me were the Nike Zoom Fly v1.

Unfortunately, I loved my Nike Zoom Fly v1 and used them beyond their original purpose in my rotation – fast or race day shoes. My running in them too much played a large part of the injury in my opinion.

Why?

The Nike Zoom Flys changed my running form (for the better), unfortunately the old body was not ready for the changes they brought to my running. Then I got greedy about how fast and well I was running, therefore it was my fault that I used them more as daily trainers, which resulted in my injury.

They are not a shoe I can use as my daily trainers. The Zoom Fly v1 and SPs need to be saved and savored as my go fast shoes.

Going forward my daily trainers will be the Salomon RA Max v1 for a while.

The Vibe technology that is supposed to dampen the Tibial vibration, seems to be working well with my left leg and I can feel the difference between them and other shoes I have in the house.

I also plan to start trail running a bit more and have the Salomon Sense Ride v1 that also have the Vibe technology in them. I plan to use these shoes for walking down back and when we go for our day hikes.

All the other shoes that I have hanging around will be retired to the back of the garage, given away or be turned into walking shoes.

Technology – Over the past couple of days I really thought about going back to my old Timex Ironman watch. As much as I might look back and think about how much simpler things used to be, there are good reasons why I adopted or is that adapted to using the newer tech available to me.

I even wrote a long draft blog post about how I was going to get rid of most of the technology during my running, but after the fourth re-write of that post, I finally figured out that technology is not the real issue.

It is me.

Technology can be distracting, but only if I let it be. During a run, I can turn off most of the distractions or at least tone them down to tolerable levels. I don’t need to track multiple data points while I am running, what I do need to do is focus on the running.

So I have gone back to my Garmin 230 watch, which I have a bit more control of what data is collected and when/how I see it, than I do with the FR 35.

Also, I figured out that I really do not need the heart rate monitor during runs, especially since the wrist models are notoriously inaccurate and in my mind that makes it rather useless. I also found that running by heart-rate is not something I enjoy and many of the other metrics that are part of the heart-rate monitoring are more fluff than what I need to track to improve my running.

Speaking of data, this is part of the problem and I think that Steve Magness’ tweet the other day, really says it better than I ever could.

I have collected all sorts of data over the last 10 years and to be quite blunt, I don’t have the skill, expertise, training or background to actually translate all those data points into something that I can actually use that benefits my running.

Especially, since even with my best efforts to manipulate, chart, graph and attempts to interpret all that data, I continue to be injured at about the same rates and have seen minimal improvements in my running, even when I take into consideration that I am becoming an old fart.

Which means when I am honest with myself that I can cut down on the amount of data that I collect moving forward. One of the big things is that I have retired my Milestone App/Pod, since it doesn’t really give me a lot of data that I actually can use to improve my running.

Even though this is not what most runners consider technology, I plan on using calf sleeves quite a bit going forward. My legs (yes, both of them) feel better when I wear the calf sleeves regularly during my runs. Although I did get kidded about them by Ray C on Facebook, when he asked why I was wearing calf panties, so much. If I believe they work, even if it is the placebo effect – it is something that seems to working just fine for me.

The Reality is that

I am going to be 62 years old in just over 5 weeks and I have to work on becoming a more injury proof runner, if I want to still be running 20 years from now. That means playing with weights a bit more, not worrying as much about running as fast as I did once upon a time and get realistic about my running goals.

My training is going back to focusing more on enjoying my running and listening to the body and how it feels versus – the idea that I have to do this distance or pace in a certain way. After the leg is healed and the body ready, I will get into a weekly routine where I do a faster workout of some sort and a few days later a longer run. The other runs will be according to how I feel that day.

The running shoe rotation is turning more into a Salomon focused one, since their Vibe technology is making a noticeable difference in my ability to run or not with my leg right now. When I get back to running my faster runs or races, I can still see the Nike Zoom Fly on my feet for those.

If all else fails I know that I can run comfortably in the Tempo 9 (I have two more new pair waiting in the closet) or I can find another pair of Beacons without too many issues.

Technology has its place in my running, but not to the point where it becomes a distraction during a run and then after, all the data points that were collected on the run need to be stuff that is actually useful to me. As a result of what I really need I have gone backwards a little and decided to use my Garmin 230 instead of the FR35. I just don’t believe that the wrist-based heart rate monitors are accurate enough to be all that helpful.

Now if I could only solve my biggest problem.

Me.

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