As part of my obsession with qualifying for Boston, I became convinced that moving my weekly mileage from the 40 to 50 mile range into the 60+ range was required to have any shot at a BQ. I began the process of increasing my mileage in mid-2011, and cranked this up even more in mid-2012 after my 3:12 finish in New Orleans. I doubt it is a big coincidence that this also marked the beginning of the stress fracture cycle I’m currently battling.
With this in mind, I have begun the process of re-evaluating my training plan, schedule, and equipment by looking back at my running and equipment logs from the past several years. There were several things that immediately jumped out at me, and I have decided on at least three changes I plan to make for the remainder of 2013 once I am back from the injury:
- Run no more than 3 consecutive days without taking a full day of rest, and no more than 5 total days in a single week. Since mid-2011, my typical pattern has been to run 6 consecutive days each week, and only take Sunday as a rest day from running. While I wish that my body could handle 6 straight days, I’m thinking that adding one extra rest day per week would greatly reduce my risk of developing another stress fracture. I know that bones need time to recover from repeated impact, and I have not been putting enough emphasis on rest days in my schedule.
- Aim for no more than 1,500 to 1,750 total miles in 2013. Implementing item #1 above should automatically take care of my total yearly mileage, but I want to make sure and keep an eye on it anyway. Back when I was running an average of 4 marathons per year, without injury, my yearly mileage was in this range. It has only been since jumping up to 2000+ miles per year that the injury cycle has started. Maybe someday I can get back to 2000+ miles per year, but right now I need to be smarter about how much my body can handle.
- Utilize shoes with maximum cushioning for training runs of 10 miles or greater. My shoe of choice for almost any type of run has been the Saucony Kinvara. However, prior to 2012, I would almost always use the very cushy Nike Vomero for my Saturday long runs. I transitioned to using the less-cushioned Kinvara for all training runs in January 2012, and again 2012 was when the injury cycle got started. I don’t really want to go back to the Vomero, but am greatly intrigued by the new Adidas Energy Boost, which has an incredible amount of cushioning in a fairly light-weight shoe.
I’m sure there will be other changes to make, but I feel pretty good about this as a start. I just can’t wait to get back out there on the road and start working toward a great rest of 2013.