April Training Journal and New Resources For You

April was a month of rest for me with some reduced-volume running and also 8 consecutive days of no workouts whatsoever. With over 1,200 miles in the bank for December – March, I was tired and decided rest and relaxation was the answer. I was also experiencing stubborn soreness from the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and a tight IT band.

Sometimes, the best thing for you is to take time to recover and enjoy yourself.

I have been admittedly stubborn with taking recovery recently. Actually, in all of December – March, I only took two days completely off!

So after a ton of miles, April was only 95 miles with many days of rest. And I don’t feel guilty – right now I am hungry to train and get in great shape. I know that I may take some more days off in July (hey, I’m getting married and going on a two week honeymoon), but that’s fine with me.

The shoes I wore this month include:

  • Adidas Adizero Mana (firm, low-profile shoe for fast workouts)
  • Saucony Kinvara (less supportive sole and upper, one of the most popular minimalist shoes right now)
  • ASICS Hyper Speed (racing flat)
  • ASICS Speedstar (daily trainer with a little more support)
  • New Balance 101 (minimalist trail shoe for short runs)

I tend to rotate two pairs of shoes and April saw two cycles mix so that’s why you see a lot of shoes in my list. I’m no Pete Larson, but it’s always good to run in more than one shoe to stress your feet in slightly different ways.

The highlight of April was the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler where I raced 54:52 – only two seconds from my personal best. In hindsight, the effort level was substantially easier than my 54:50 PR so that is a great positive sign.

The race was also a complete debacle. After I took the wrong train to the start and waited in a long bathroom line, I was only able to warm up 12 minutes with no strides.

Needless to say, I was not ready to race. After two miles of racing I had shin splints and then my right soleus tightened up at the 7 mile mark. Given these issues, I still ran a respectable time for me so overall I’m pleased. For every mile split and a full analysis, read the race report here.

One of the big lessons that I took away from this experience is race specificity. I was running a 10 mile road race, yet had not done any fast workouts on the roads.  The majority of my mileage is also on trails in Rock Creek Park so you can see how my body was unprepared for 10 fast miles on the roads of the district. The short warm-up, coupled with my lack of road running, is what I blame for my tight lower legs.

I hope you can learn from my mistake because it wasn’t fun learning the hard way.

In non-running news, I bought a copy of Nerd Fitness’ Rebel Strength Guide a few weeks ago to put my lifting program in perspective. I usually do the same routine every week which can cause strength plateaus. So I’m kicking it up a notch and will be starting some of the routines that Rebel Strength recommends.

I’ve stayed away from some of the exercises like the  snatch, clean and press, and a lot of push up variations. No longer. Developing general and specific strength for running is going to help me reach my goals this year – I’ll let you know how it goes.

Special Update for Strength Runners

If you’re one of the lucky runners that receive my newsletter, get ready for something helpful. I’ve compiled all of the “Strength Runner Only” resources I’ve given out over the last 6-8 months. I’m calling this page the Runner’s Gear Bag – exclusive guides, videos, workouts, and advice only for Strength Runners.

Right now the resources include a circuit workout for injury prevention (drills, dynamic stretches, optional barefoot work, and strength exercises), the Strength Running PR Guide that was launched last month, the Strength & Core Routines Ultimate Resource newsletter email, and my full 2010 Training Analysis.

You can get it all by signing up here.

Inspirational Video of the Month

Before the Boston Marathon, Ryan Hall did a long run that included a type of tempo fartlek. Not only was I motivated to try a similar workout (maybe not at 5 minute mile pace, though) but I was reminded of the hard work that runners put in to achieve big goals.

Watch Ryan dominate this tempo run and have fun doing it. Enjoy the process. Be thankful that you’re able to run.

Watch more video of 2011 Boston Marathon on flotrack.org

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