It would be tough to find a better week for running and it seems like we’ve been waiting nearly a year for it to arrive. Cool, crisp mornings in the 50s for the early risers, and not-too-humid conditions for those who run later in the day.
It’s helped me pile on the miles this week as I near the start of my marathon training for my next 26.2-mile race, now less than 16 weeks away. This past weekend, I punched in my race date into a training spreadsheet, which shows which workouts should be done on which days.
Technically, this week was supposed to be the start of speedwork, something that I haven’t been able to do since January due to injuries. But those issues are in the past as I feel better – and healthier – than I’ve been in a long time. Still, I chose to put off speedwork as my old training program is based on my weekly mileage in early 2010. Now, my “base” is about the same mileage as my peak weeks during training for the Chicago and Grandmas marathons that year, so I need to figure out what this means for speedwork (do I simply mix it into my daily runs to maintain mileage or add some extra miles to account for it?). It probably will be a mixture, but a week or 2 delay to dial in specifics won’t make a difference come January.
One of the important factors in my healthy turnaround has been identifying the exact injury and source of problems. For most of the spring and summer, the pain continued to worsen and present a daily dilemma of whether I could even venture out the door for a workout. Some research, and the coincidental timing of an article in Running Times magazine, have helped me make a 180-degree turnaround.
Instead of feeling like each run put me a little bit closer to crutches and simply managing the pain, I’ve made some changes: sitting posture, sleep position and some stretching helped me return to near 100 percent good health. There are still moments of pain, but this week I’ve run pain free – with 3 runs of 10+ miles each – for the first time in 13 months.
So what was this mystery illness? It was my psoas, and I encourage every runner to read the Runner’s World article by clicking here. It defines the psoas as “a rope-like muscle located deep in the belly, which runs obliquely from spine to the femur. The psoas is joined at the hip, literally, by the iliacus, which travels from hip to thigh. Together, the psoas and iliacus make up the iliopsoas–the body’s most powerful hip flexor.”