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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.