So it's been another exciting week in the world of being a non-professional amateur runner who spends far too much money on clothes and travels excessively far for races. ;-)
This week I did 800's on da track. My favorite way to punish myself. But really.. I LOVE THEM. Can't wait until I'm hitting up 10 of them at pace (pace lately for me has been around 6:20 pace). I see ya, Bart Yasso. (Read up on the Yasso 800's and how they are supposed to be a predictor for your marathon time. i.e. you run 10 in 3:10- you should be able to do a 3:10 marathon- conservative people say- add 10 minutes to that time- so a 3:20 marathon). They felt pretty good this week but when push came to run- I didn't get the turnover and movement in these little legs to pull off a strong finish to my 6. Telling Suly that right after was a mistake (read- best mistake of my day) because he encouraged me to go out there and do another one- and that he would pace me. Easiest 800 to not have to think or stare at my watch but just to hold on while he ran the exact pace we needed for that half mile. Remind me to get more excited about running with people. The mental effort I expend for so many of my speed/tempo workouts alone is EXHAUSTING and evidently it doesn't have to be like this. WHO KNEW. ;-) I did that last 800 in 3:04. Nice end to the workout.
The next morning after those 800's felt like death. NO LIE. I hopped onto the treadmill and strugglefested my way through 5 miles- with some pauses for stretching everything out. The run on Thursday felt also tough- just when I hit the track hard, I feel it for a couple days after.
I was telling Tyler- I understand how people just do medium hard effort all the time- because they aren't doing max hard effort some of the times. I.e. if I went out and didn't do speed or tempos- I could run a lot faster and push harder on my daily runs. But that wouldn't equal the push and speed I get out of myself in those workouts. Better to focus quality on the days that you have speed being the focus- and then the other days you're FORCED into recovery because your body basically can't do anything else. There is absolutely ZERO danger of me going out too fast on Wednesday/Thursday after track (1. cause my treadmill is set at an abysmally slow pace, and 2. I'm lucky I'm even getting a run in cause I feel like I have been hit by a semi). Those forced recovery days are exactly what is supposed to happen. Give it everything on workout days- and the other days are shakeouts and just running maintenance days. But I mean, you can't push everyday. That's nuts. ;-)
I've been hitting up the Barre this week & I just finished up Week 11 of Kayla Itsines- so I've been sticking to my strength religiously. Like Steph Rothstein said- you don't get better at running by just running alone. Nice try, but doesn't work like that. So an aside on this- Tyler is committed to getting his miles in (usually around 100 a week) and I am committed to him getting his miles in too. But we realized that while we have taken scheduled runs as non-negotiables/absolute necessities- we haven't viewed his strength/stretching/recovery the same. He has had a couple things pop up that have made him realize that if you're doing 100 miles a week- you need to do 100 miles worth of extras to keep your body running smoothly. Haha. So just like scheduled runs are a non-negotiable thing- so are the recovery/strength aspects now.
So, I did my tempo this Saturday. GEEZ LOUISE. It was pouring and in the mid-50's on my way to the lake. Way to get a girl excited to run fast. I get there and the group I run with was whittled down to 3 brave souls (when it's usually more than a dozen). It was so miserable and my warmup was more like an icedown. My long sleeve instantly got soaked and just stayed wet and cold. On the schedule was 3 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile- a workout I had been mega excited about before. I still was excited when I started- but it was definitely tougher with the wind and rain. The rest portions in between just served to FREEZE ME UP. My first set of 3, I did in 7:13 avg pace. Respectable. My second set of 2 I did in 7:18 with the first mile and a good portion of second mile with LOTS of headwind. YES. 7:18 avg pace. Not bad, could have been worse. My third set actually WAS worse. HA. 7:30 for JUST A MILE. GEEZ. It was into the wind, I was freezing, it was my tenth mile of the day on a day that was already more miles than I have done since Tokyo- so maybe my body was like- Kim- you're not even used to running this distance right now- let alone a fast mile this late in the run. Who knows. I was SO annoyed though. Cold, grumpy, and wet. I started into cool down obviously beating myself up- since I can't let a workout JUST be a workout and drop it. I decided after a mile that I would give that last set another shot and see if I could do any better. I did that earlier this week with the 800's - so evidently the theme of the week is the Redemption Run. Ha. It wasn't windy for the first quarter of a mile and I saw a lot more normal times on my watch- then I turned into the wind but still managed a 7:10. SUCH a better ending to my day- and a good 12th mile. I finished up the day with 13.5 miles. My longest in over 2 months. Speaking of... May MAY be the time when I add back long runs. HAHA. But I have so enjoyed having a hiatus from them. We'll see.
So after my run I saw Tyler and ran with him for a bit. And he was like is your left side hurting cause you're limping as you're running. It was/is/always has lately. My left hamstring has been MEGAAA tight and like nothing I do helps it. And he noticed it then and has noticed it before. While I was getting ready for bed that night, I realized that after every workout my right calf is ridiculously tight and my left hamstring is tight and in pain. Like this is every time. So in talking to Tyler about it- and reading more on the internets - here is a REALLYYYY great article- I realized that because my left glute/hamstring is weaker- that my right side is overcompensating. I'm springing off of my right side a lot more- causing my right calf to do like double the work. I have already been doing some glute workouts to get my left glute to be a more active participant in this running thing- so looks like I need to be sticking with it and really working to get everything working correctly.
Here is an excerpt that I thought was really good- seriously though, this whole article is WORTH READING!
Compensation patterns will only work for so long before something breaks down. The weakest link in your kinetic chain often ends up suffering the injury. Your body usually tries to tell you that it is compensating. If you can listen to it, try to figure out what is going on, and correct it, you can help prevent injury and run stronger.
One of the most common examples of the body compensating is hamstring or low back pain while running. The gluteus maximus is the strongest extensor of our hip. Hip extension occurs when the foot is behind the body with the knee straight. The glute muscle must be firing properly in order for our hip to extend forcefully as in the push off phase of running. Many people have problems firing their glutes properly, which places added stress on the hamstring and the lower back extensors. These muscles compensate to get the job done, often resulting in a hamstring strain, chronic hamstring tightness, or lower back pain.
What are the four signs you are overcompensating??
1) Chronic muscle tightness no matter how much you stretch
2) Unusual tenderness in the same muscles over and over again when you perform your routine massage (foam rolling, etc)
3) That one muscle that always seem to get sore during or after your run
4) The same recurring injury
Isn't that good stuff? Let me know if you have noticed any of those things-if you can see any types of overcompensating in your running. It's crazy because I have noticed these things - like how overly tight my left hamstring is, how when I try to speed up it feels excessively stiff and like I'm a robot trying to accelerate, and how my right calf is always crazy tight- but I didn't know that someone could see this from the outside- that's why it's worth it to see a professional - or someone crazy detailed and analytical like Tyler to look at how you're running and give you a birds' eye view of what's happening and where the problem is.
I'll keep you posted on what I plan on doing to strengthen up that glute and eliminate this weakness leading to overcompensating. Hope I can nip this puppy in the bud soon.
Have a great run today! ;-)