Four weeks of cross-training

In the last two posts, I described how the tibialis posterior tendon near my ankle had started to bother me while running and after repeated attempts at resting (one week cross-training, then one week off, then two weeks off) and failing to come back to running without pain, I resigned myself to four weeks of no running. This would take me through September and leave insufficient time to get back to running for most of the fall races.

With racing off the table until later this year, my plan for cross-training was a workout on the bike on Monday and Thursday; bike/elliptical doubles on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; a long bike ride on Saturday; and elliptical on Sunday. In addition, I would sprinkle some core and weight routines in a couple times each week.

I started out using my wife’s hybrid bike and put about 400 km on it before I borrowed a real road bike from my buddy Taylor. That thing was a lot of fun to ride and by the end of the four weeks, I found myself googling crazy things like gear ratios and window shopping for a bike. That quickly came to a halt when I saw the $4000 price tags! I’d love to get my hands on a road bike that I can put some time on in addition to running but I’d be looking for something barebones, likely a little beat up, and 1/20th of the price. We had a couple days of 30-40 km/h wind and it was a rush to be flying down a country road on a bicycle at 50+ km/h!

My legs have been pretty sore from all the cross-training so I take that as a sign that I’ve been working hard and stressing myself in new ways. I noticed it was much harder to get my heart rate up on the bike while doing intervals as my legs seemed to be the limiting factor. Hopefully that has built some strength that will help keep me healthy as I ramp up my running but it’s hard to predict how the tendon will react once I start putting some stress on it. I need to take things day-by-day for a bit until I’m sure this injury is behind me. So far, I’m up to 12 km without too much trouble so… I’m cautiously optimistic.

Anyway, here’s a recap of the work I put in since my last post:

Week of 2015-09-07

  • M: 60′ bike + 45′ elliptical + 30′ core.
  • T: 75′ bike with 3×10’/3′ intervals + 30′ weights.
  • W: 60′ bike + 45′ elliptical.
  • Th: 75′ bike with 30′ tempo + 30′ core.
  • F: 60′ bike + 45′ elliptical.
  • S: 2.25 hour bike.
  • Su: 45′ elliptical + 30′ core.
  • Total: 12.75 hours.

Week of 2015-09-14

  • M: 80′ bike with 4×10′ intervals + 30′ weights.
  • T: 75′ bike + 45′ elliptical.
  • W: 60′ bike + 45′ elliptical.
  • Th: 90′ bike with 10×3’/2′ intervals.
  • F: 60′ bike + 60′ elliptical with 10×2’/1′ intervals + 30′ core.
  • S: 45′ elliptical.
  • Su: 2 hour bike + 30′ elliptical.
  • Total: ~13 hours.

Week of 2015-09-21

  • M: 90′ bike with 4×12’/3′ intervals + 30′ core.
  • T: 60′ elliptical + 70′ bike.
  • W: 90′ bike with 8×4’/2′ intervals.
  • Th: 50′ elliptical + 35′ bike + 5×1’/1′ jog/walk.
  • F: 5×2’/1′ jog/walk.
  • S: Rest.
  • Su: 80′ bike + 30′ core.
  • Total: 9.33 hours. I was up north for the weekend and didn’t have access to fitness equipment nor much free time so I lost a few hours of work here.

Week of 2015-09-28

  • M: 5×3’/1′ jog/walk + 30′ elliptical + 60′ bike + 30′ weights.
  • T: 3 km jog + 90′ bike with 3×7′ intervals + 30′ core.
  • W: 4 km jog + 45′ elliptical + 60′ bike with 2×3’@50+km/h (30-40 km/h wind)!
  • Th: 5 km jog + 105′ bike with 20×2’/1′ fartlek.
  • F: 45′ bike + 30′ elliptical + 30′ core.
  • S: 6 km jog + 60′ elliptical with 15×1’/1′ fartlek + 30′ weights
  • Su: 8 km run + 85′ bike (2 hours planned, but got a flat tire).
  • Total: 13.75 hours.

Fall Marathons: Berlin, Chicago, STWM, Niagara, Hamilton

Even though I won’t be racing, I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone does through the fall marathon season. Reid Coolsaet improved upon his Olympic qualifying time, running 2:10:28 in Berlin and registering the second fastest time in history by a Canadian. One of these days he’s going to break that 40 year old Canadian record but it seems his focus is on the Olympics from now until August.

Rob Watson is running Chicago this coming weekend so I’ll be watching that as he’s hoping to go under 2:12:50 for an Olympic qualifier. His PB came a couple years ago when he ran a 2:13 in Toronto so he’s close but he also tried for the standard back in May (Ottawa) and blew up, running 2:18-ish. I’ve heard the weather isn’t looking too great for Chicago so that could be a factor.

A number of guys (Eric Gillis, Kip Kangogo, Sami Jibril, and Matt Loiselle) are running the Toronto Waterfront marathon on the 18th. All of those guys are said to be chasing the standard but only Eric has run that quick in the past. I expect him to run something around 2:11-2:12. Kip ran 2:19 in Vancouver earlier this year but then won the Canadian Half Marathon champs with a time of 1:05:02 (edging out Reid, in Edmonton with some altitude) so I’ve got him at 2:16. Sami finished about 45 seconds behind Eric at the Yonge St 10K and Ottawa 10K this year and this will be his marathon debut so my guess is a 2:16 for him as well. Matt is out with an injury from what I hear.

The other guys that I figure are closest to the Olympic standard are Dylan Wykes and Kelly Wiebe. Dylan hasn’t announced any racing plans as far as I’m aware but he ran a half in 1:05:02 about a week ago. I’d imagine he wants to try for the standard this fall so that he doesn’t leave it to the last opportunity next spring. Kelly DNF’d Toronto last fall and has said he’s running the Canadian XC championship this fall so I don’t expect we’ll see him running a marathon this year.

Outside of the Canadian elites, I’m particularly interested in seeing how my buddy Taylor Kraayenbrink does at Niagara on the 25th. He ran 2:31 at Hamilton last fall and then 1:11:19 at the Springbank Half a few weeks ago. He’s been killing his workouts and should have an easy time improving his PB. And on Nov 1, my friend/coworker Mitch Free is running Hamilton and his training has been very impressive since he ran 2:46 on Waterloo’s tough, hilly course this past spring and then 1:13 at the Springbank Half. I’m expecting big PBs for both of those guys.

Good luck to everyone else who is racing in the come weeks! I’m extremely jealous!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave Freake says:

    I’ve long awaited this post my friend! Glad to see you are back at it. You’ve no doubt held onto your fitness with such a rigorous cross training routine. I think you’ll be able to transition right back into it after you work the mileage back up. It’s not a matter of if you can get back and try to run some fast times just a matter of when. You have the ability to be running some incredible times man and I’m confident it’ll start this fall and you’ll rewrite your PB’s from top to bottom by next spring.

    Keep it going pal!


    1. Aaron Cooper says:

      Thanks man! Gotta power through the setbacks and stay positive. Hopefully I’ll be able to jump into a couple races before the snow falls to god out where I’m at… We’ll see!

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