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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Switching it up

After completely bonking at mile 22 of the Shamrock Marathon a few weeks ago, I decided it was a necessity to educate myself and become a smarter runner.

I believe the issues faced at the marathon didn't have anything to do with my race strategy, pacing, or was quite simply training.  You see, for the 4 weeks leading up to the race, I barely ran at all as a result of what I believe were shin splints on my left leg.

The motivation of not having another crappy race was enough to get me to hit the books (or more appropriately, the web) and I got my fill of advice on topics such as injury prevention and nutrition.  Being more of a math and computer type guy, I'm not a huge fan of diving into a bunch of detailed biology and chemistry, so articles written in layman's terms were easiest to digest.  Among a few others, I found a great resource in Jason Fitzgerald's Strength Running site, which provides a considerable amount of free information, mostly in the form of blog posts, but there are also a couple of PDF "articles" that dive in a little deeper.

I'm happy to say that so far, after applying a few simple principles to my training over the past week, I haven't had any major problems and things seem to be getting better for the summer season.

So what did I do?

Mainly two things:
1) Incorporated core strengthening exercises into my workouts, twice a week.
 - I found some WODs (Workouts of the Day) online that only use body weight exercises. (e.g. Burpees, Pushups, Flutterkicks, Situps, etc)  I'll do these on Mondays and Wednesdays, in addition to running.

2) Rotate different shoes and surfaces.
 - I think the last 4 runs I did were in 4 different pairs of shoes, including yesterday in my Vibram Five Fingers, which I haven't run in in at least a year.  I also got a trail run in at Gifford Pinchot State Park on Sunday, which was a gorgeous day and my feet felt great.

While I have no goals in mind this weekend, I'm signed up to two races (1 Sat, 1 Sun).  I doubt I'll PR, and I have no intentions of pushing it hard, it'll just be nice to finish a race not feeling like total crap.  That feeling is tough to get over and I'm ready to move on...smarter and more healthy!

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