Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A running update and a few random running thoughts

I can't believe that June is over. I ran my second Rock-N-Roll Marathon a month ago. It seems like longer. For the month of June, I ran 97 miles . Not bad, considering a) I didn't run at all the first week of the month b) I am not training for a marathon and c) I ran only a mile more in May, which included a marathon, a twenty-two miler and a sixteen miler.

My new training perspective focuses on a lot more miles at a slower pace. I think one of the mistakes I made during my marathon training was putting so much emphasis on the long runs each week and not enough on the midweek runs. What I learned in my training was that the more your weekly base miles, the better your body recovers after a long, hard run. I was only running three days a week and I often substituted bike riding for one of those runs. I figured that as long as I had a good long run on the weekend, I would be fine. I didn't realize that my body wasn't recovering properly. If you look at the chart below, you'll see that your midweek base miles really do affect recovery.
During my marathon training cycle, my long runs were often more than 50% of my total mileage (especially my twenty and twenty-two milers). That is probably one reason I suffered with the shin splints. You don't prepare your body for the rigors of a marathon by running twice a week!

My half marathon training involves running five days a week--quite a change for me. However, my long runs of twelve or thirteen miles are less than 30% of my total mileage, giving me ample opportunity to recover. As I go into my "sharpening" phase of my training plan in the next couple of weeks, I should be well prepared for tough speedwork and hill training. In theory, my fitness will be at a higher level. I am excited to see how it all plays out.

Today I went out to run seven or eight miles. It was late in the morning and starting to get hot. It has been tropically humid here lately and I knew it would be a sweaty run. I didn't bring my hydration belt because, frankly, it seemed like overkill. However, I soon learned that seven miles is just a bit too long to go without water. I should have learned. Even on Friday's relatively cool run with Jill, I stopped at a drinking fountain to take a sip.* On Sunday's thirteen mile run, I carried two ten ounce bottles and filled one up around mile eight. Why would I be able to run seven without anything??

Jill had a handy hand held bottle. I think it is the perfect thing for shortish runs that are longer than an hour. Heck, as the summer hits us, it might be the perfect thing for all runs. She has the Amphipod and really likes it. She has the twenty ounce bottle. I am wondering if I just want the twelve ounce one. If I am running long enough to need twenty ounces, I will probably just pack two bottles on my hydration belt (10 oz of water and 10 oz of sports drink). I love the idea of this brand because of the low profile and the pocket. It also seemed to fit nice and snug on Jill's hand. Hmmm.... Do any of you use a hand held bottle? If so, which one do you like?

Finally, I have a health/injury question. On Friday I woke up with a little tightness in my chest on the left side. I didn't think much of it and it didn't bother me at all on my seven mile run. Later that night, it was really uncomfortable. Every time I moved, it hurt. I had to sleep on my right side with my left arm propped up on a pillow. Saturday, it was bothering me and I was pretty grumpy about it. I figured that I pulled a muscle water skiing or something. I went on my thirteen mile run on Sunday as planned. The first few miles bothered me. As I was running, it hurt especially as I breathed out. I stopped noticing it around mile five or six. Once again that night it bothered me a bit more. It is pain that is preceded by an awkward movement, so I am convinced that it is nothing internal (like my heart). On Monday, I taught a Stroller Strides class. My chest bothered me, but I was able to demonstrate a pushup, so I know it is not my pectoral muscle. It hurt when I did things like lifting my arm back and behind me. Fast forward to today. My chest was still bothering me when I woke up. VERY annoying. I went for my run and it bothered me for all seven miles. I felt like it hurt worse when I was increasing my effort (breathing harder). Now, for the rest of the day, it is worse than it has been the last four days. I can not get comfortable and no matter what I do, it hurts.

If I had pulled a muscle, it should be feeling better four days later, not worse, right? I took quite a forward fall on Thursday while water skiing (in fact, it was my last run of the week). It was one of those falls that rings your bell. BUT, I didn't feel pain in my chest, ribs etc. If I bruised my ribs or something, wouldn't I have felt it Thursday?? Have any of you fitness folks felt pain like this? I am thinking of calling the doctor, but if it is a bruised rib or pulled muscle, he can't do anything about it. I am definitely going to take tomorrow off from running or working out. Hopefully rest is what I need.

So that is my update. Thanks for getting through all the randomness.

Happy running.

*I hate drinking from drinking fountains! You barely get enough to quench your thirst. In order to get enough water, you are bending over the stupid thing for what seems like forever (especially when you are running with a friend). And there is always the ick factor. Who else just drank from that fountain? What else has that fountain been used for?? No thanks! I would rather carry my own!


AKA Alice said...

That's so awesome that you got to run with Jill. I always enjoy reading her blog (and yours).

I completely agree with you regarding the drinking fountain thing...ick.

You probably pulled something, or overstretched it while water skiing. Take it from me...if it hurts, take it easy!

Anonymous said...

I know Chris has that same bottle as Jill. That seems to fit your hand better than mine, although mine has the bite valve thing going on, which I prefer. I'd tell you the name of it, but it's in my dishwasher right now, which is running. :-(

I don't know what that is that is hurting you, sorry! But I would think that yes, if it was a pulled muscle, it should be feeling better by now. You guys have health insurance, right? I'd have it checked out if it continues to hurt. And yeah, 7 miles is too far without water, especially since it's so humid out. (We've had the same problem lately.)

Oz Runner said...

i'm no doctor, but i would definitely suggest taking a few days off and seeing if the pain diminishes...continuing to run could prolong the healing process...

i looked at getting the amphipod, but went with the ultimate direction bottle, which i absolutely love...it's 20oz here's a link to it -- http://www.rei.com/product/752160

Irene said...

The hand held seems really practical. I'd go for the 20 oz version. I see it as a future purchase for myself. I have the hydration belt, but sometimes it just bugs me.

Get checked out by a doctor. True, they may not be able to do anything to help the situation, but at least you can get some advice. Sounds like you need some rest. Take care!

Mama said...

I had one of my frequent marathoner friends tell me the same thing - that I needed another longish run each week.

I've been thinking about a handheld as well, but haven't ever used one.

No idea on the pain, but I'd try to rest it for a couple of days.

MCM Mama

Janet B. said...

Lisa... what sort of pain is it? Is it sharp or an ache? How long does it last once it flairs up? I wouldn't think it's muscle since it's getting worse and not better. Perhaps you've stretched a tendon/ligament between those ribs. Try icing and advil or BromInj for a few days and see what happens. From what you are describing, it sounds like an inflammatory response to me.

Anonymous said...

Since it's getting worse, it does seem that it's not a muscle pull. I would take a couple days of rest and see how you feel. If the pain is still there, get it checked. You'll get peace of mind, at least!

aron said...

sounds like you have some great changes to your training program! i think that during my last training cycle even though i was running my long runs hard, i recovered so well because i was running so much during the week. having a ML run (11-13) miles mid week really seems to help me with recovery and endurance. cant wait to follow along and see how your training changes go!

Amanda said...

I definitely think you're right about how important the midweek runs are, but they are the first ones to get cut back on when I'm busy or tired. And water fountains are so icky!

Irish Cream said...

I am toying with the idea of throwing in a longer mid-week run during training for Chicago, and I am seriously excited to see how it helps ... thanks for explaining why it's so important!

Regarding your chest, ouch! I'm not sure what that could be, but definitely take it easy and go see the doctor if it doesn't seem to be getting better! Hope it eases up soon!

HEATHER said...

hi there! I have the tiniest hands, and I just bought the 20 oz amphipod and i LOVE it!! it really isn't too bulky or heavy.


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