When Recovery Breeds Optimism

This month has been all about recovery. My summer vacation and the Bronx 10 Miler left me hobbled, and it was time to get back to basics.

After the Bronx 10 Miler I took 10 days off, and then eased back in with a couple short runs. I started my build up the week of October 10th with 23 miles over five runs, and following a strict 10 percent rule from there, with three weeks of 100 percent easy running.

On top of that, I’ve been focusing on rebuilding my strength and on increasing mobility. That means barre class about twice per week through my gym, the Myrtl routine after most runs and eccentric heel drops for my Achilles’ tendon.

It’s only been a couple weeks, but I can already feel the difference. My Achilles’ seems to be holding up. My balance is better and running form feels smoother. I’m going to continue with that routine – even though it takes a lot of extra time – for a while. Perhaps in a few weeks I can cut back on the heel drops, but I think I particularly want to aim to make it to two barre classes a week.

With the progress I’ve made, I’m starting to feel optimistic about running for the first time in months. I think I needed the opportunity to take time off, take a step back and to essentially start over.

Now, I’ve put together a training plan that takes me into June (ha!) and have an outline in my head for what I was the final months of 2017 to look like. Of course, life never goes according to plan, but I think I stay healthier when I stick to a plan. After all, my fitness and health began to unravel this spring, after my disappointing race in Boston left me feeling unenthusiastic and directionless. Without a plan, I stopped doing the important ancillary work to keep my running form strong.

Of course, I’ll need to make changes and adjustments throughout the plan. I’ll get sick, need to travel for work or the weddings of friends, but the outline is all there, and I think that’s key.

So what does my crazy nine-month training plan look like?

To start, we’ve got my recovery and build up. That’s this month. All easy miles, five days of running, one day with a spin class, two barre classes and a steady build up from 23 miles to 28 miles.

Next, in November, I start to reincorporate workouts and start a 10-week half marathon training plan. In this phase, I run one day of hard effort in accordance with the 80-20 rule, continue with five days of running, one day of spin class with two barre classes during the week. By the end of the month, I’ll be up to 35 miles a week and get back to racing with a low-key 5K Turkey Trot.

In December, I’ll get back into the 40+ mile per week range, increasing to six days a week of running. I’ll likely drop back to a spin class once every other week, but stick with barre twice a week. The workouts will get longer, and maybe I’ll race a more serious 15K. In an ideal world, my fitness would be good enough at that point to run the 15K at PR half-marathon pace.

I’d kick off the New Year with a taper, and then a girls’ weekend in Charleston, where I’d race the Charleston Half Marathon, before transitioning into a four-week recovery cycle. The plan is to use those four weeks to take a step back and recover from not just the race, but the entire build up so I’m ready to handle the transition back to higher mileage from there.

In February, I’ll launch into an 18-week training plan for Grandma’s Marathon in mid-June, following a similar plan to what I followed leading up to both the Philadelphia Marathon and Boston Marathon.

As for my longer-term plan through the end of next year, if all goes well, I’d like to roll out of Grandma’s into a five week recovery schedule, three week build up, and then a 12-week training plan for the New York Marathon.

But we’ll see. The New York part of the plan depends on whether they accept my “half” marathon time from the spring on a course that was later measured long. It also depends on how I feel later about training and running around wedding planning. We are getting married seven weeks before New York, and tentatively leaving on our honeymoon two to three weeks after New York.

Anyway, stay tuned. I’m hoping this comeback looks more like my training leading up to and through Philly than the training ending in Boston. Fingers crossed.

PS – I’ve been bad about taking pictures lately, so with this post, you get a sneak peak at my favorite shot from our engagement photos with the featured image 🙂

3 thoughts on “When Recovery Breeds Optimism

  1. I love the engagement picture and it’s totally fine to use it :).

    It sounds like you have a great long-term plan set. Of course, things always get crazy but at least you are thinking about more than just the next race or this week like some people get into the habit of doing (hey, I can be this way!).

    Glad to hear you’re still planning to race Charleston! It will be great to meet in person and I will get you and your friends a code for Charleston (just let me know before you register so I can get it from my contact). I do hope you can get back to 100% and I am sure you can, especially since things are going well so far.

    I have been considering trying barre myself as a form of cross training because I can tell I need to get back into it. Sometimes I feel like that is more important than just logging more miles if it keeps us injury-free and running longer in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I already registered for Charleston unfortunately, and I think the others all have as well, but thanks for the offer of a code ! Even if things don’t go well that weekend, it will be a fun trip, and worth it to get to meet you in person!

      I 100% recommend barre! I think it is so important in keeping me healthy. I was afraid of it at first because I have no coordination and less flexibility, but that ended up not being an issue. Also, beyond helping strengthen my core and glutes, it also works a lot of ancillary quad muscles — you know, the ones your body starts relying on late in a race when the big muscles are tired. I think that helps contribute to strong finishes.


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