Patience, #RunStreak, and Psuedo-Injuries: September’s Training Journal

September – what a month! Lots of lessons to be learned and milestones to be celebrated.

First, September was my highest volume month of 2011! I ran 342 miles, or an average of about 80 miles per week. This is awesome news since it comes about 2.5 months before the Philadelphia Marathon. The work I do now will pay off when I try to run sub-2:40 on November 20th. A lofty goal – but staying comfortable is the kiss of death. Always be uncomfortable.

September Days

Along with the volume, you’ll notice that the focus of this month’s workouts was aerobic support. My faster workouts were done anywhere from 5:30 – 6:00 pace, which is about my tempo to marathon pace. When you combine high volume with threshold running like this, you start to develop a monster aerobic capacity.

And yes, I feel awesome. I feel like I can run forever. My endurance feels very high – and I still have almost two months until my race.

Giddyup!

The only problem is that my groin is sore. The discomfort runs from my groin to my inner quad area along my hip flexor. I’m using my foam roller multiple times a day and trying to sleep as much as possible. While I’m not missing any days of running, I’m not running as long and as hard as I want to running.

Does anybody have an extra right leg I can borrow? It must be able to run 6:00 pace for over two and a half hours.

No? Okay, well just email me if you come across a good leg.

Workouts and Long Runs

No weekly training report is complete without a recap of the major workouts! So here we go…

All of the workouts were solid even though I wanted to do 1-2 more “fast” workouts. I still kept to a good schedule of longer tempo and marathon pace tempo runs. September included:

  • 10 mile run with a 20′ progression in 67 minutes (6:42 average pace). I started at low 6′ pace and gradually started to run about 5:45 pace by the end of the progression.
  • 10 miles with 2 x 2-mile on the track (last two-miler in my trusty ASICS Hyper Speeds). First rep in 11:13 and second in 11:07. Felt awesome, no complaints.
  • 14 miles with a 25′ tempo in the middle of the run. Total run time was 1:33 (6:38 average pace).
  • 14 miles with a 30′ tempo in the middle of the run. Total run time was 1:36 (6:51 average pace). With a crazy thunderstorm and torrential rain, I got slowed down significantly. My groin/hip flexor area also got sore about halfway through my warm-down so I slowed down the pace a lot.

And of course, the month also included plenty of strides, 20-30 second surges, and hill sprints. Just because you’re training for a marathon doesn’t mean you should forget how to run fast!

The month also had a solid group of long runs: 19, 19, 20, 17, and 18 miles. The last 1-2 long runs were cut shut because of the hip flexor soreness which is really unfortunate. When you’re training for a marathon, the most important workout of the week is your long run so prioritize that run above all else!

I’m hoping with some strategic rest days and attention to this groin I can get things healed up to 100% and start to dominate some good marathon workouts.

Lessons Learned and Defining an “Injury”

While September was my biggest volume month of 2011, am I happy with how it went? Well, it’s a mixed bag. I’m happy that I was able to dominate the volume game. But I could be doing better workouts and running more consistent long runs.

No training plan goes 100% according to schedule so adaptability and flexibility are crucial (that’s why I encourage serious runners to go with Full Coaching). Moving workouts around and resting when you need to are lessons that I’ve learned the hard way over the years. Luckily, I realize now that I am not Wolverine and exercise patience in my training.

Patience is what allowed me to run every single day of September. Actually, I have a 69 day continuous run streak as of the end of September. Patience has allowed me to train for the last two and a half years with no major injuries. Sure, aches and pains happen, but I’m not missing time because of some serious injury. Train smart, not hard.

Patience is one of the most important and hardest lessons a runner must learn to reach their potential and prevent big running injuries. I’d rather run half of what I planned today and be able to run tomorrow than struggle through my planned workout and then have to take a lot of time off to heal and recover. That’s just not smart.

Is my groin/hip flexor issue an injury?

I think injuries are like a spectrum – you have the minor aches and pains on one end that don’t require any change in your training. And on the other end there are the six month layoffs and severe pain. The soreness I have in my hip flexor isn’t a debilitating injury – it’s just an annoyance. I’m training at 90%, but I’m still running!

Any time that you can continue to train then you’re not really injured. You’re just dealing with the inevitable setbacks that happen to all runners. Always be thankful that you’re still able to run!

New Updates

September was also a huge step forward for Strength Running with the launch of the Rebel Running Guide. I partnered with Steve Kamb at Nerd Fitness to make this product a reality.Rebel Running Guide

What was initially going to be a “run your first 5k” program (like Couch to 5k) turned into a massive resource for new runners that includes full diet guidance, multiple workout programs, an Adventure 5k guide, audio interviews, and one of the best introductory running program available.

I’m very proud of the final guide and hope you’ll check it out if you think it’s right for you. Big thanks to Steve for reaching out to me and to Staci for her help in getting everything set up!

What’s Next?

For me, I continue with marathon training and hope to have my best month ever in October in terms of volume, workouts, and racing. In three short weeks I run my first half-marathon since 2008 where I’ll be shooting for a massive PR over my 1:13:39 best. Wish me luck!

For Strength Running, expect to see some changes around here in the next few weeks. I’m having the site redesigned to make it cleaner, easier to use, and more attractive. It’s about time things around here got a face lift.

I know all the Strength Runners here are so helpful, so a quick question for you: if you could change one thing about this website, what would it be? Leave a comment below and help me make SR better than ever!

Finally, I want to thank all of you for supporting this site over the last year and a half. It’s grown so much and I have you to thank for that. By sharing these articles with your running friends on Facebook and Twitter, commenting on the posts that inspire you to be better runners, and for buying a custom training plan or the Rebel Running Guide you’ve allowed me to continue writing here.

I love doing this and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it with your support. Thank you.

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Comments

  1. Based on my experience, with your volume and demonstrated speed, there’s no way you’re not going to kill a 2:40.

    Do you have any thoughts or experiences with 2-a-days to sub out some of the 20+ milers?

    Keep up the good work and best of luck.

    • Hey Ed, thanks! I’ve run doubles 1-2 times a week for a long time. Typically a shorter second run is used to either add extra volume, get the body ready for a harder workout later in the day, or act as a “shake out” or easy recovery run after a hard workout in the morning. Splitting up the long run into two runs, especially for a marathoner, isn’t the best way to get in that mileage. The LR is the most marathon specific workout you do and you want to keep it that way. Time on your feet, the endurance changes your body goes through in the later miles, plus the mental aspect of completing such a long run are all important. Nice question, you’re keeping me on my toes 🙂

  2. Andrew Mac says:

    Hey Jason, new to the site, can’t get enough!

    Can you explain what 20′ progression and 25′ (or 30′) tempo mean?

    Thanks!
    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew, welcome and thanks! A 20 minute progression is done in the middle or end of a run and it simply means you gradually run a little faster over the 20 minutes. For me, I like to start at about marathon pace (about 6:15) and over 2-3 miles get down to about my tempo pace. Sometimes if I’m feeling good the last few minutes may be closer to 10k pace (about 5:20). A tempo run is done at the same speed and is exactly that – a tempo paced effort (5:30-5:40 for me).

  3. 69 days straight? That is awesome! Take care of that injury and rock the marathon.

    There’s not much I would change, except maybe more frequent posts 🙂

    • Thanks Kris 🙂 I’d love to do more frequent posts, but twice a week is about my max for making sure they’re high-quality. I’d rather do fewer, but make them awesome!

  4. I’m definitely of the “quality over quantity” mindset when it comes to frequency of blog posts, so I think you’ve got the right balance there. And, of course, when it comes to mileage, I think in terms of both. Seems you’ve got that nailed too. Nice month, this kind of mileage well ahead of the marathon is definitely setting you up to reach your goal – even if you do end up needing to take a bit of time off to deal with the groin. Or will we be seeing the “Groin Rehab Routine” on here soon?

  5. Jason, I know this question might go with an older post but when you run doubles do you still do the lunge matrix type warmup before and girdle after after both the runs or no?

    • I think this is very personal and depends on what you need, what you respond to, etc. But I typically do a shortened version of the lunge matrix before each run when I run doubles. After my morning run I’ll do 5-10 minutes of flexibility/core and then probably more after my evening run. I’m of the mind that post-run flexibility/core/strength is too valuable to skip and it’s almost “more is better.” Good luck with your doubles Mark

  6. Hey Ed, thanks! I’ve run doubles 1-2 times a week for a long time. Typically a shorter second run is used to either add extra volume, get the body ready for a harder workout later in the day, or act as a “shake out” or easy recovery run after a hard workout in the morning. Splitting up the long run into two runs, especially for a marathoner, isn’t the best way to get in that mileage. The LR is the most marathon specific workout you do and you want to keep it that way. Time on your feet, the endurance changes your body goes through in the later miles, plus the mental aspect of completing such a long run are all important. Nice question, you’re keeping me on my toes
    +1

  7. Great work! Killer mileage for sure. With such a long streak of running days in a row, do you not feel a complete day of rest is necessary each week? Or possibly are you backing off every once in awhile by running quite a bit shorter and slower than your normal average mileage?

    Looks like you are doing great work getting ready for your next marathon. I look forward to seeing how you do!

  8. Great! I’m always interested to see the different recovery needs of different individuals. When I was more competitive in high school and college I trained every day just taking a shorter, easier days on Fridays usually before races. Now that I’m more recreational I enjoy a day off more often. Wondering as I get older if that day off will become more of a necessity to recover rather than just a lazy day for me.

    • The more I learn about runners as they age, the more convinced I am that after age 40 or so, a day off is probably a good idea. But every individual is different so you could push that back to age 50. But if you enjoy that day, take it!

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