Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Next Steps...

Well, it's been a week now since the epic adventure of the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run snowy insanity. It certainly took its toll on my body, so this week has been interesting. When I woke up Sunday morning (the day after the race) I was quite sore. Ironically, my left ankle (the one I twisted countless times during the race) felt perfectly fine, but my right ankle was quite painful. My quads, calves, shins, hamstrings, hips, back, and shoulders all felt the strain of the beating they took in the race. Seriously, that 20.7 miles in the snow took a greater toll on my body than any 50k I've ever completed.

Luckily, I'd had the foresight to set an appointment with my chiropractor and ART specialist, Jared Wisner at Wisner Chiropractic. Jared is an accomplished marathoner and a good friend. His knowledge of what distance running does to us has been beyond helpful to me. He did an excellent job straightening out my issues and really helped with my recovery. He even fixed the right ankle that was hurting me so much. I've said it before, and I'll say it again; Jared is the greatest thing to ever happen to my distance running. If you live in the Kansas City area, I highly recommend checking him out. I didn't do much working out this week, just some walking, weight training and yoga.

Now that my recovery week is behind me and I'm feeling pretty good, it's time to set my eye back on the future. So I need some new goals and a new focus. I've spent the last 27 weeks training for, running, then recovery from the race. So basically, 6 months of focusing on cardio (running) workouts. I want to switch up that focus for a while. Of course, I love running, so this time has been great, but it's important to change up the routine from time to time, so it's time to transition to a different focus. My next target race won't be until the Pensacola Marathon on Nov. 9, so I have more than 5 months before I'll even start training for it. Until then, I want to put my focus on the following: 1: Strength training/core training; 2: General fitness; 3: Get back to running in my VFFs; 4: Focus on faster, shorter runs. I'll detail my plans for each of these goals so that I can be successful. By implementing this focus, along with continuing to watch what I eat, I will be able to ensure that I am in excellent condition when I start training for Pensacola. My first marathon (2011 Napa Valley Marathon) remains my PR at 4:36:19, so I would like to break that PR finally. I need to be in better overall shape when I start training to make that happen.

#1: Strength / Core Training: This is going to be a huge key to my success and probably the most challenging part of my plan. I enjoy strength training, but I always struggle with doing it consistently enough to see the results I really want. I'm hoping to finally change that. The plan is to start the Strength Training II Plan that I got from the JCCC Weight Training class I took a few years ago. It was designed by Istvan Javorek, who is the school's head strength training coach and a former Olympic coach. It is a 3 day per week plan that I will start tomorrow (Mon. Feb. 17) and will do Ab Ripper X with each of the workouts. Also, one additional day a week I plan to do one of these P90X videos on a weekly rotation: Chest & Back, Legs & Back, Shoulders & Arms. On Friday, I did the 5 rep max test to get my starting points since the Javorek plan is based on percentages of max. This is an excellent strength training plan and in conjunction with Ab Ripper, it will really get me into outstanding condition. I don't want to become a big, muscle-bound guy, and that's not what this is designed for, but good muscle tone will help drop some of my fat and really does help with distance running.

#2: General Fitness: This is kind of a broad category, but all distance runners know "cross training" is critical to success, even if they don't do it they still know how important it is. The plan is going to start with yoga. I've set up (on the urging of a friend) a 30 Day Yoga Challenge starting Mon. Feb 17. The idea is 30 days straight of yoga, at least 10 minutes of stretching poses, or up to a full class/video. After the challenge I plan to continue doing yoga at least twice per week. I also want to incorporate cycling, P90X Plyometrics, hiking, walking, etc. Doing these things will help my balance, endurance, explosiveness, and strength.

#3: Get Back To Running In My VFFs: For those that may not be aware, VFFs are Vibram Five Finger minimalist shoes. When I ran in them, I felt light, fast and mentally strong. I stopped wearing them early in 2013 because I had a few triathlons on the schedule and I wanted shoes I could slip on and off faster than I can the VFFs. It takes some transition time to go from regular shoes to VFFs, so I'm going to start transitioning back into them. It won't take long since I've done over 1600 miles in VFFs in the past, I just need to re-acclimate. I have VFF Bikilas for paved runs and VFF Treksports for the trails. I'm VERY excited to get back to running in them regularly.

#4: Focus On Faster, Shorter Runs: Sure, I've worked on and been successful at getting faster since I started training for the Toto Run, but I still have a ways to go. I'm really not going follow a running plan, just trying to run regularly. I'll still do some long-ish runs, but the primary focus will be trying to run faster. If I want to PR the marathon I need to get faster. It's cliche', but the only way to run faster is to run faster. I will try to maintain around 20 miles per week, and at least one speed-oriented run each week. If I stick with this, I will definitely be in good position to be faster when I start training for the race.

If I stick with this plan and follow through, I will be in pretty great shape. I'm excited for the change in focus and I'm hoping my friends will help hold me accountable to these plans. Looking forward to an awesome rest of the year!!

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