Pain is still present, but is subsiding. Obviously not a good idea to try running yet. Still listening to "Tread Lightly" daily. This is by far the best book on running I have come across so far. The information on form, shoes, injury, etc. is second to none. It got hammered in the reviews on Audible.com due to the narration, but I don't think it is that bad. It is a tough subject to cover as the information is pretty dry. Print puts me to sleep so I went out on a limb and got the audio version anyway. I am so glad I did. Given my current problem, I am probably extra attentive to the information and it is providing a lot of insight. I was starting to worry that maybe forefoot striking was not for me, but now feel like it is something I can still explore - just much more slowly. I would hate to give up the speed improvements I have realized so far.
Not much to add here. Book I mentioned in my last post did state pretty early on that most people adopting barefoot technique, or any other form change, usually over do it in the beginning. This can lead to higher injury rates as you are working muscles and tendons in new ways. Definitely the case here. The author advises starting the new form at 200 yards once a week and increasing in small increments from there. I was doing much more than that. Once I get the leg healthy again, I will probably start working that style/form once a week at 1/2 mile to 1 mile. Right now, running in any form would be a mistake. Pain and limited mobility in my left
My calf is definitely going to need a few days of rest. It is sore to walk on it with a normal walking stride. Having to take shorter steps just to keep from overworking the injury. Doing some light stretching and massage of the muscle. Praying this doesn't keep up through my tri this weekend. Started "reading" the audio book, "Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury Free Running" by Bill and Peter Larson. Wile I am really a believer in the barefoot style, I think I have either jumped into it too quickly or am doing something not quite right. Calves have definitely been shouldering more work running this way as the soreness has been significant. Knee pain has disappeared though and my speed has improved dramatically despite the sore calves. Might also be the fact that I am doing this with standard running shoes and not minimalist shoes. I'll keep doing my homework to see what other solid information I can find on this.
Legs felt pretty good today. Pain and stiffness were nearly gone completely. Ran in the morning so it wasn't as hot as yesterday's run. Was chugging along pretty well. Still concentrating on a forefoot strike. All of a sudden, PAIN! A twinge of pain deep in the middle of my calf muscle stopped me in my tracks at 1.23 miles. I knew better than to try to continue. It feels like a strain and not a tear. Only a week until my next triathlon so I'm not too happy about this. Bike is still out of commission as well. I am entering my taper week, but with it only being a sprint tri, I would have liked to have worked out normally through at least Wednesday before I started the taper to my race on Sunday. My experience with these sorts of pains from when I was younger tells me that this will keep me out of commission for at least a few days. Might be longer now that I'm older. Will take some time off and see how this progresses.
Tried another run in the heat. Thought after a day off my calves might have loosened up. No such luck. They are tight and sore. To the point that I am worried, if I push it, I might end up with an injury. Cut the run short again today. I can say that the barefoot forefoot striking seems great for speed, but it is working my legs a lot. Will try again tomorrow. Haven't been able to ride the bike lately as an alternative. Had a flat on the last ride and used the 2 CO2 canisters I had. Living out in the country, this is not an item you can just go and pick up. Ordered replacements on Amazon, but will have to wait for them to come in. Bike is o.k., but not going out on a ride with the chance of being stranded out on the road.
Have been hitting it for the past 5 days in a row. Time for a day off.
Tried a run. Goal was to keep form and try keeping my heart rate in the 150 range. Calves were very tight and never loosened up. After third lap my heart rate climbed up to 160 and the legs were killing me. It didn't help that it was 91 degrees outside and that I went 25 miles this morning on the bike. Thought better of the run and cut it short.
After running again yesterday and the focus on form the calves were a little sore, but I contemplated running vs. bike this morning. I really am anxious to get back up to the distances I was covering before the change in running form. I decided to go with a ride though and make this a double workout day. Let the calves rest a little longer and get in a run this afternoon. It is Friday and I already had over 40 hours in at work so I decided to go for a longer ride to work my endurance. I could afford to come in a little bit later to the office. I started out at 6 a.m. and figured I would be back around 7:30 or so. I decided to go 25 miles and felt pretty good the whole way. I had a flat around 16 miles in so that was a little bit of a hassle, but I changed it and moved on. No worries! I hit two new PRs today. Best 1 hour ride at 16.8 miles and best 12 km (12.42 miles) in 42:05. These are numbers Endomondo apparently tracks automatically as I didn't set it to track these. Both were before or right at the point of the flat so they are valid.
One last thing to note, I am listening to "Finding Ultra", by Rich Roll. I highly recommend reading/listening to this book. I'm only on chapter 9, but he has a great story and some great information for the endurance athlete. During today's ride he covered the point where his coach advised him that you must keep your heart rate in Zone 2 in order to increase the capacity and volume of mitochondria in your cells. These guys are the engines that allow you to perform over long distances. Rich's coach started him off at extremely short runs compared to what he was used to and he struggled to keep his heart rate down because he had a hard time keeping himself slowed down. He would also work in speed workouts during his training weeks, but they were designed to keep him in Zone 5 and nearer to his max capacity. He avoided the "gray zone"; zones 3-4 as these are not as beneficial to performance gains. In the end, he realized great improvements in his aerobic capacity. I probably don't explain it well enough here, but believe me, it was compelling stuff. This is the first mention I have come across talking about Zone 2 training increasing endurance, but it made a ton of sense.
After hearing that portion of the book, and the fact that I was on a ride in which I was trying to work on endurance, I tried pulling back my effort and getting my heart rate down around 140 bpm. My usual on the bike is more in the 150-160 range. Afterward I calculated my zones here on http://www.digifit.com/, I wasn't really sure what they were, and came up with the following charts. (below) It should be noted that these are unique to me and they they are not 100% accurate for me. HR zones are unique to the individual and to get the most accurate idea of what yours are you would have to get your lactate threshold heart rate measured, as I understand it. Regardless, the calculator at digifit.com provided good ballpark numbers that I feel are probably about right for me. The first two are standard calculations using various methods. The third chart is specific to the bike, which is a little lower than normal. Looking at these, when I am working endurance I want to try to stay around 140 on the bike and 150 on the run. I was aware that triathletes kept track of what "Zone" they were training in, but this is the first time I heard an explanation as to why this is so important in endurance sports. Workouts need to have a purpose, to work speed or endurance, and you need to stay in the proper zone to work these effectively. I'm not sure what zone, you should race in, so I I found this article at Active.com that explains it pretty well for the short (sprint and Olympic) courses: http://www.active.com/a3_articles/e172d8a2-d160-4a38-8a9f-4156afd160f4/1?page=1
Rich states that most weekend warriors just plug along training in the gray zones and wonder why they are not making significant improvements. That would definitely have applied to me. I am going to take this knowledge forward and try applying it to my training. I'll try to focus on being in either Z2 or Z5 during training and work both speed and endurance.
Finally was able to return to running today. Legs felt good to start. Again, was really focusing on form and not on speed. Despite this I ran a record for the Cooper Fitness test. This is tracked by Endomondo and is a test of how far you can run in 12 minutes. Today's new PR was 2.49 km. Also a new PR for 3 km of 14:41. Just like Monday's run, I was just trying to work on form again and had no distance goal. 2 miles felt about right as the calves started to get sore again. From a cardio standpoint though I felt pretty good. If not for the soreness in the legs, I could have gone quite a bit further. So much so that I decided to tack on some speed work to the end of this workout. Didn't push them too hard, maybe 85-90% effort. The soreness was not as bad as Monday and I can tell I am making progress. Will have to see what my legs feel like tomorrow as I would like to be able to get back to working some two-a-days. After the last run, it was the day after (Tues) that the legs really hurt. Wondering if I'll be able to work in a run tomorrow?
Really wanted to get back to working on the barefoot running, but let me tell you, the calves were still too sore to risk it. I like this though. I remember, as a sprinter in my younger days, that I would work a lot on exercises that focused on my calf and quad strength. I would work plyometric (look it up) exercises, weights, running the bleachers, etc. I was a firm believer in that this was what made me so fast and gave me a great stride. The fact that I am experiencing so much soreness now is a good thing to me. It means I worked the heck out of those muscles, which seems to confirm what I read in "Born to Run". So I'll just have to be patient and stay away from the run one more day. Nothing spectacular on this ride. Just covered the sprint distance at a moderately difficult pace.