Post-Hamilton Offseason

It’s been over two weeks since I bailed on the Hamilton marathon due to injury trouble. I saw a sports physician on October 29 who thought it was pretty likely I had a stress fracture in my left tibia close to my knee based on how I described the pain while trying to run or pressing on the bone. I had an X-ray on October 30 and the results came back clean which meant we were going to try an MRI. I first had to get a blood test to check that my kidneys were healthy and eventually I had an MRI scheduled for December 8. That was three-and-a-half weeks out and I had hoped to be back running by then since I was under the impression a stress fracture would typically take 4-6 weeks to heal.

From the time that I stopped running to the scheduled MRI date, it would have been eight weeks off in total. Given the expected healing time, even if there was a stress fracture it could be healed by the time I get the MRI done. After about five weeks off, my legs were feeling great and the specific spot that we thought might have been a stress fracture didn’t hurt to press on. I confirmed with the sports physician that I could start jogging again, building up slowly, to see how things felt and I could cancel the MRI if all was going well after a couple weeks. I’ve been running for five days now and so far (knock on wood) there have been no issues! I’m not sure what happened to my leg this past fall but it’s very likely that over-training was the root cause. I may keep the MRI regardless just to make sure that everything’s in good working order before I transition into longer runs and workouts.

With my time off, I’ve been looking forward to my next marathon cycle and trying to craft a training plan that will help me build toward my goals while keeping me injury-free. I’ve had some really helpful guidance and input from a fellow runner from the Sarnia area, Cal Schram, who coaches with Renegade Runners. I’ve incorporated lots of things into my spring plan, including a modest mileage progression (no more 100 mile weeks in my immediate future or even for the rest of the year), recovery weeks with no workouts (instead of 18 weeks straight of workouts), and lots of cross training (strength work, a core routine, and a mobility routine).

Over the next six weeks, I’m hoping to build my mileage back up to about 60 miles/week. From there, I’ll be doing mini-cycles that are 4-weeks-long with three weeks of workouts and one week of just easy, distance running. Each 4-week period will increase mileage slightly from 58 miles/week to 62, to 66, to 70, and back to 66 before tapering for my goal race in May, the Ottawa Marathon. Each period will have 6 workouts or races and this time around I’ll actually be subbing out workouts during weeks that I have a race.

I’m hopeful that this next cycle will go smoothly and I’ll be back in the groove pretty soon. Nothing exciting planned for the next few weeks… Just easy miles until my first planned workout on New Year’s Eve.

Here’s how the past week went after about four weeks off:

M: Rest
Tu: 30′ elliptical + 15′ core + 30′ strength
W: 30′ elliptical + 3 miles easy
Th: 5′ core + 20′ mobility + 3 miles easy
F: 30′ strength + 4 miles easy
Sa: 10′ core + 5 miles easy
Su: 20′ mobility + 6 miles easy

I’ve got five more weeks of base mileage building planned before the fun stuff starts in preparation for Ottawa!

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