Sunday, May 17, 2009

Disaster Avoided?

As I mentioned in my last post, the plan was to take a down week after Sunday partially due to my right calf being a little stiffer than usual.  As planned, I x-trained on Tuesday (spinner bike session) and ran easy on Wed and Thurs.  

The problem was that I continued to have a dull pain about 3 inches above the ankle primarily on the inside of the leg.  I was able to diagnose this issue as the coming of posterior shin splints (both by what my CMT said on Monday, and comparing my symptoms to a few likely candidates for the discomfort)  I've never had shin splints of any kind before so this was new to me, but from what I read I could be in for real trouble if I didn't take care of it very early.

I called my CMT and asked what I should do here at home before seeing her on Monday (tomorrow).  I wound up going on Advil, stretching, rolling and using the stick on the area 3 x per day followed by icing.  No running Friday or Saturday.  This was great for relieving the symptoms - but as is always the case - unless you fix the root cause of the problem, you've really accomplished very little.

I remembered having a different type of right leg pain a few months ago when my flats wore down.  At that time, I replaced the flats and the problems cleared up almost instantly.  A quick check of the flats showed that they were worn at least as much as the previous pair - jeez, how could I have missed this??  I ordered my new flats from Zappos which which arrived via complimentary overnight shipping and planned on doing the Saturday wo today to test out this theory.  

At this point, with the workout being over, my shin/calf are no worse off than they were yesterday, which means that all the gains I made on Fri and Sat are still there.  I'm certainly not out of the woods yet as I need to see how I feel tomorrow.  Also, I skipped the spikes today on the final set and it's possible that the spikes added to the issues, but I firmly believe that all the long intervals and 70% of the rep sessions being run on worn out flats (I just shred the whole mid-foot and forefoot areas of these things) was the main cause of the problem.  

All I know for sure is that I just finished a very tough session that contributed ZERO to my calf/shin issues.  I'll take that as a sign that I'm on my way to recovery, but I'll still be watchful of any regression.

As far as the wo went - it was a killer lactate session very similar to the one I did on 12/31.  In that one it was 6 x 300m @ 48.3 w/ 1:45 rests, followed by a 5.5' break.  Switch to the spikes and then set #2 of 3 x 300m @ 46.3 w/ the same rests.  The idea is that the first set's purpose is simply to generate fatigue.  The 2nd set is performed w/ fatigue already in the system, and this 2nd set is faster than the first.  Rep #1 feels OK, but rep #2 is awful.  By rep #3 you can barely walk to the starting line, and you swear that it simply isn't possible to do another one - and then you force yourself to do one more.  There's so much lactic acid in your system that the 2nd half of rep #3 is sheer torture - it's meant to simulate the final 150m of an 800m race - not much fun!

Today's session was almost the same workout . . . . the main difference was, it was 96 degrees!  Long story short - the first set averaged 47.6 per, but w/ the heat and me having to stay in my flats for set #2 I wasn't able to generate the speeds I wanted on the 2nd set.  I averaged 46.6 on Set #2.  (which probably translates to about 45.8 w/ spikes)  Not bad - I hit the wo as it was drawn up, but to be 100% honest I was hoping for a little better on that 2nd set.  In addition to the lack of spikes, I'm sure the godawful temps had something to do w/ it - but hey, the season is almost here - no time for crybaby excuses!

Obviously the best news is simply that my leg feels OK.  I have the CMT appt tomorrow - I'll try to get in a few easy miles beforehand.  Either a short run, x-train or take Tuesday off depending on how I feel, and then I've got a wo Wednesday provided that the leg cooperates.  


Tues, 5/12:  x-train.  35-minutes on spinner bike (12-min w/u, 3x90" high intensity w/ 2' rests, then 3x60" higher intensity w/ 90" rests, 10-min c/d)
Lifting (upper-A, abs, core)  stretching rolling

Wed, 5/13:  32-minutes @ 6:51 pace 

Thurs, 5/14:  32-minutes @ 6:55 pace

Fri, 5/15:  No running.  stretching, rolling, stick (3x) followed by icing
Lifting (upper-B, abs, core)

Sat, 5/16:  No running.  stretching, rolling, stick (3x) followed by icing

Sun, 5/17:  Set #1 - 5 x 300m (46.6, 47.6, 47.6, 47.6, 48.0),  Set #2 - 3 x 300m (45.9, 46.9, 47.0)  ** No spikes for 2nd set.  


bricey said...


I hope you caught the shin splints early and that the 2 days rest was enough - sounds like it was.

Race season isn't too far away so don't take any chances!!

Mark said...

keep the ice going it works wonders, nice w\o btw, sounds intense!
in my experience shin splints never lasted long for me

Mike said...

Thanks for the tips Mark. I'm icing at least 2x per day and it's feeling better.

Yeah, those lactate sessions are very intense - much tougher than the speed session I did the the prior Saturday. For 800m running, in addition to trying to build speed and endurance it's necessary to force the body to run hard w/ enormous amounts of lactate in the system - speed and endurance alone won't cut it during those last 300m of an 800m race. Thankfully, it only takes a handful of sessions like this to get most of the benefit of this type of training (definitely NOT a part of the training year round!!)

Brendan - I'm going to do my best not to take chances, but I've got a good 6-weeks left of high intensity training (along w/ a couple races) before I can throttle back and go into a "mostly racing" mode. Ideally the calf/shin can improve enough to do all my training w/o compromising much, but obviously I'll have to just see how it goes.

Ewen said...

Glad the injury has responded well Mike.

Those lactate tolerance sessions remind me why I avoid 800m training! Well done with that one - looks like you're really coming into form.