Saturday, April 12, 2008

Taking a month off from running to let my leg heal

I decided I'd better what I probably should have done when my accident first occurred last November: stop running to let my leg heal.

After my accident, I had to decide whether I would continue running or would stop running and let the leg heal. I reduced my running from 4 days per week to 3 days per week and my mileage from 33 miles per week to 15 miles per week. Running that reduced mileage didn't seem to make the injury worse. I monitored my leg and knee every day to see if the symptoms became worse. The symptoms didn't become worse, so I continued running. In fact, during the next 2-3 months, I could see definite ways that my leg was improving. Things looked pretty good during my weeks of running 15 miles per week. However, when I started to increase my mileage from 15 miles per week to higher distances that ended up being 25 miles per week, I could tell the soreness in my leg was becoming worse.

So, I have to decide if I should cut back to 15 miles per week, or stop running for a few weeks. I've decided to stop running for a month to let my leg heal, and I will reevaluate what to do at the end of the month. During the coming month, I will do upper body workouts and use my cycling machine to help keep my body toned up. The cycling machine is the pedal part of a stationary bike but no seat or handlebars. I sit in a comfortable chair and peddle away. An indicator tells me my pedal speed, the "distance" I've "traveled" and the number of calories I've used. I can adjust the resistance of the pedals to change the level of the workout.

So, unless something important happens, I won't make many, if any, posts in this blog during the coming month. See you in the middle of May....


  1. You've got a good plan to heal your leg! Remember to keep the intensity high on your stationary cycle. After Boston I also plan to work more on my upper body. Good luck this following month!

  2. Anonymous4/13/2008

    Good luck with the recovery, and hopefully you will be back on the road soon. I was out with a shoulder injury for 5 weeks (yes, as odd as that sounds an injured shoulder can impact running). Thankfully, I'm back on the horse and running again.


  3. Bruce, One week from today and you'll be in the midst of Boston! I'm really excited for you and eagerly await your report! I hope you enjoy visiting Massachusetts as much as I enjoyed living there for 17 years.

    Terry, thanks for visiting my blog and for passing on your best wishes. I'm glad that your shoulder is healed and that you're back into running. I took a week off from running after my injury, and later, due to the flu, I took two weeks off. Neither break was long enough. So, this time I'm giving it a month. Of course, if my leg heals before the month is over, I'll likely start running again. When I do start running, I'll start with a half-mile and work up to 5 miles. I want to level off at 5,5,5 for a month to allow my body to regain strength.

    The funny thing is that I'm not sure what I did to cause the injury. I had been careless in doing my knee and hip strengthening exercises before each run, and I'm guessing my muscles were week and couldn't withstand the fast, rainy run I did the day of the accident. During my month off, I'll be very diligent in doing ALL of my stretches!

  4. Allen,

    Sorry to hear you have to stop running altogether, but I think you are wise to do so and have a great plan for the xtraning!! And it's only one month, as opposed to a lifetime. Your body definitely is telling you something and as you've discussed on your blog many times, you are in this for the long hall (for life). You don't just want to run today, you want to be able to run for the rest of your life!!

    So far, my training has been going very well (thanks to your very helpful guidance!!). My next race is tomorrow. The 4M Adidas Run. Should be a beautiful day in Central Park for the run. Only obstical is the Pope is in town, so we're not sure how we are getting in to the race, as some roads have been closed:( We usually drive in, but we're seriously thinking public transportation this time, but can't find any info on what is open/closed. Ahh, nothing is easy.

    But the training is going very well. I've been in discussions with Bruce, and he made me realize that my training is going well, but that I need to up my stride/cadence for my race. I tried it in training this week and it felt good. He directed me to your blog (once again), to learn about quickening the stride/cadence. I even found a free podcast in itunes, for music a 180bpm. I've been using that.

    I know it's too late for my race tomorrow, but do you have any suggestions on how I could implement the 180bpm into my races. I've tried counting my strides, each time my right foot hits the pavement and multiplying by two, within a minute. Worked ok during my training run, where I was running at 70% HR, and had 83 hits times 2 = 166bpm, but not sure I can do it for the quicker tempo. LOL

    You might want to check out my blog where I posted about this on Wednesday, 4/16 & Thursday, 4/17.

    Sorry this got so long. I always appreciate your help and wisdom! Hope your recovery goes well.


  5. Hi Joanne, nice to hear from you again. I imagine that your race is finished by now (1:53 EDT), and I hope you did well and enjoyed it.

    You asked about getting up to 180 bpm. Take your time getting there. Speed training puts a lot of stress on our bodies. Jeff Galloway has a method called Cadence Drills that I like. I got it from his book about running until you're 100. Run for 30 seconds at your normal LSD pace and count the number of times your left foot hits the ground. Then, without stopping, run for 30 seconds and count the number of times your left foot hits the ground as you try to increase your stride by 1 or 2 times. That isn't a big increase, but over time it will help you to go faster. The idea is to make small increases in your stride so you keep the increased stress low. Notice the two phases to the drill. After you've run both phases, run for a few minutes to recover, and then if you want to you can repeat both phases again. Always do both phases together.

    Last fall after Bruce and I ran the Salt Lake City half in April 2006, I decided to increase my LSD pace. At that time my LSD pace was 11:30 to 12:00 for a comfortable pace. By October (6 months) my LSD pace was 10:00 to 10:30. I thought that was a good improvement for an old guy. Then in November I injured my leg. In December I slipped on ice and really bruised my back and tailbone. In the Spring I had the flu. So, I expect my pace will be slow again, but that is ok. It will come back. I've always had a cadence close to 180, so I didn't have to worry about that. During that six months, I just focused on going a bit faster. I didn't try to increase my stride length. I let my body do that automatically. Some of the time, my cadence was up to 90 :)

    Your stride is 166, so it shouldn't be hard to get it up to 180. Take a couple of months doing that, by taking smaller steps more often.

  6. Hey Allen,

    Nope, my race is tomorrow, Sunday, April 20th, at 9:00a.m. EST.

    Thanks for the wealth of information, once again!!

    I will definitely let you know how the race goes.

    Thanks again, I will look for Jeff G's book too!!


  7. Hey Allen,

    I did it!!! I ran the race in 34:21 (8:35 average pace per mile). Yeah!!! Unfortuneately, I have no clue what my bpm cadence was. LOL But I ran a very focused run. Used my Garmin and really paid attention to HR effort and my pace. I ran the whole race at 85% - 90% effort, and when I crossed the finish line I was completely exhausted:). Thank you for giving me the confidence to 'let loose'!!!

    I definitely will take it easy on increasing that cadence pace as you suggest. Right now, my races are my speed training everything else is nice slow 70-75% training, base building.

    Today when I woke my legs felt good. Spent alot of time on the computer today tracking Bruce at Boston, and writing in my blog, so the muscles in my thighs have tightened a bit, but overall I really feel good.

    Thanks again for all your advice!! Check out my blog for all the details (dates 4/20 & 4/21)

    Oh, and I've tweaked your marathon schedule a little, so it goes for 54 weeks. I will email it to you in the next week or so, to see if I did it right. Not sure if I added too much, or not enough. But I have left plenty of time to train for NYC.

    Off to ice my thights, just as a precaution.


  8. Hey, Joanne,

    Congratulations on a great race and a great finish! The fact that your legs felt fine when you awoke is a really good sign! NYC watch out, here she comes!