June 9, 2018. The beginning of my journey through separation, divorce, healing, and rediscovery. At age 55, still young, and a long journey still ahead with many goals and possibilities to be dreamed, explored and achieved. Running has always been an important part of my life, more than a sport, really more like a lifestyle and a way of being. To help me through the painful part of my journey, and to rediscover what I missed during my long marriage, I started to re-integrate running as an important part of my life. First I wanted to create a baseline, to be able to look back during my journey and know where I started.
On June 9, I ran a 1600-meter (mile) solo time trial on a local high school track. I was humbled to finish in 6:48. For a former Division I college runner, and having completed the Fairfield CT half-marathon (without specific training) in my 40’s in 1:29 (about 6:50 pace for 13.1 miles), it was both humbling and also motivational. I was on my way.
Fast forward to today (November 30, 2018). I’m 72 hours into recovery from laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery at Stamford Hospital. The hernia has been progressively worsening for about a year, and looking at myself holistically, the condition was affecting me physically, mentally and emotionally. It had to be addressed. Coincidentally, and unrelated, I experienced a stress reaction (less severe than a stress fracture) in my right metatarsals about 3 weeks ago. Prior to the hernia surgery, I had stopped running due to the stress reaction, and now the expected 2-week recovery from the surgery would enable me to rest for a total of 5 weeks. December 11, 2018 is my target date to start light jogging again, before ramping up slowly and conservatively to where I was before having to stop due to injuries.
Now let’s play back the past 6 months since I started this journey. My running goals comprised a reasonable foundational training period (and intentionally not competing in any fall 2018 road races), with a few mid-distance indoor track races in winter 2018/19, but the key focus would be on outdoor track in spring/summer 2019, and longer road races in the summer/fall 2019 (5K and leading up to a half-marathon, possibly a marathon).
Overall, I was able to build a foundation over 22 weeks (before my stress reaction, and then hernia surgery, required a 5-week rest/recovery period) with almost 500 miles (471 miles to be exact), usually running 5-6 days per week. Focusing on building both my engine (cardiovascular system) as well as the chassis (bones and connective tissue) and control center (brain and nervous system), I would incorporate medium to long runs, tempo and progression runs, hill work, track workouts, strides on grass, active isolated flexibility exercises, core and mobility exercises, strength training (both body weight and free weights). Equally important was nutrition, hydration, sleep and stress management. All of that would help improve and manage my physical, mental and emotional being.
- Training: 22 weeks (June 9 – November 5, 2018)
- Volume: Almost 500 miles (471)
- Density: 120 days running (78%), 34 days off (22%) [note: most weeks run 6 of 7 days, some additional days off when I felt banged up or injured]
- Weekly mileage: 16 of 22 weeks consisted of 20 or more miles, including 4 weeks of 30 or more miles (max. 37 miles)
- Long runs: 10 runs of 6 or more miles (longest run 11 miles)
- Quality: 28 workouts (aerobic threshold workouts on the track, tempo runs, hill repeats)
- Best workouts: 3 mile tempo in Waveny Park (trails) in 21:45 (about 90% effort); 10 x 200 on track in sub-40 with 200 jog; 6 x 400 on track in 87 with 60 second rest; 6 x 300 hill repeats (7% grade) in 75 with 300 jog; 10 mile long run in Waveny Park (trails) in 78:15.
Would love to hear your comments about your experiences starting a new journey, hitting the re-set button, ramping up a major activity! Let’s start a conversation. Thanks!