Thursday, July 19, 2018

Canova Marathon Training VS. Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning

 I thought I would take some time to get very specific about how Canova's marathon training varies from the traditional American system.  The best example of that system for the marathon to my mind is Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas.  This book to my mind represents the american marathon training system done about as well as it can be done.  To be clear I think that the best individual group/system from the USA for the marathon was that of Bill Squires in the late 70's and early 80's but sadly his system is not what has inspired the training of most Americans in the last 30 years.

  Sources
  My understanding of Pfitzinger's system comes entirely from my copy of his Advanced Marathon book, the first edition.  I  have not yet bought the Second Edition so if they made any updates to the system in that edition they are not reflected here. 


  For the Canova side of things I am mostly using Marathon Training: A Scientific Approach by Renato Canova and Enrico Arcelli which they originally wrote for the Itilian Athletic Federation and which the IAAF published  in a bunch of languages.  I am also using the PDF Marathon Training Methods by Renato Canova which can be found here: Marathon Training Methods by Renato Canova  Additionally I reference a schedule Canova published in a german running magazine which I have used google translate for and you can view here: Canova 2:09 Training for the European Athlete



 It is not my intention to do a detailed analysis of both systems.  Instead I want to highlight how they are the same and how they are different.  My basic thesis is that Canova's system is a natural progression from Pfitzinger and by extension the training most serious american marathoners are doing.  Both men are scientists and approach the training from a scientific perspective.  I would say that Pfitzinger seems to me more influenced by the traditonal Lydiard model, which would make sense given his connections with New Zealand and Canova tended to take from a much wider array of sources. 

  Similarities


  The first and most striking similarity comes in the physilogy of marathon performance.  They both essentially dedicate a chapter to this, which makes sense given their shared science background.  What is striking is how similar they are.  Honestly you could swap these chapters from the two books and not have any change in either book.  Really the only difference is the quality of the writing which is much better in Advanced Marathoning.  They both say that in order to excel in the marathon you need to build on five basic areas.

1. Aerobic fitness- broken down into improved mitochondrial activity and quantity in the cells, improved blood profile, improved heart performance, improved capillarization in the running muscles. 

2. Improved use of lactate as fuel in the muscles. 

3. Improved lactate threshold speed.  

4. Improved glycogen storage and lipid consumption

5. Improved VO2 max

  The key thing I take from this agreement is that Canova has not found a new area of fitness to develop. Nor does he view the physiological needs of the event differently.  So the difference must be in either the types of workouts that he uses to improve these physiological areas or in how he combines the workouts for them in his training system and in fact we see that he has made, sometimes subtle but always important, adjustments in both areas. 

  The next similarity that I was drawn to is how they both approach mileage.  Which is that athletes should be running high mileage but to not be particularly committed to a number that represents high mileage.  Instead putting the focus on specifics elsewhere.  Essentially they are both saying you should be doing high mileage for you but that mileage is different for different people and that it should not be the major focus of your training. 

  Another similarity is the pace of long runs.   Both Pfitzinger and Canova believe that in order to get the physical adaptations you are looking for in your long runs your ideal pace range is genenrally from 80% to 90% of your marathon pace.  However they differ greatly in exactly how this is accomplished.  Pfitzinger likes to view all long runs as a very light progression where the early running is done around 80% marathon pace and the latter stages are done around 90% marathon pace.   Canova is much more structured.  In the base phase he generally starts with shorter, 10 to 12 miles, long runs at 80% of marathon pace building them up in distance over the early part ot the training cycle to being very long, 22 to 25 miles, then reducing the volume and increasing the pace to the 90% range.  To be clear both these systems are using these long runs as a means of improving fitness but Canova does not see them as or use them as specific prep for marathon racing and here we find a large difference.  Canova moves his long runs in the specific phase to being much more specific workouts involving a huge amount of running between 95% and 105% of marathon pace and additionally incorperates a lot of running in the 90 to 95% of marathon pace as recovery portions in long run workouts.   Pfitzinger does incorporate some marathon paced running in his specific phase long runs but not nearly with the same frequency as Canova and there is essentially no running in his prescribed training where the athlete runs between 91% and 99% of marathon pace.  That is a KEY difference that we'll get to in a bit. 

  The final similarity I would like to highlight is the use of periodization.  Though both use different names and have some differences in how exactly they break down the training phases they both use distinct and in the end very similar periods of training with specific physiological goals in mind as stepping stones to their final phase of training which is focused on maximizing marathon race performance. 

Key Differences 

  Often times when discussing differences in training I think people have a tendency to focus on minutia or differences that are unimportant and miss the really big differences.  I.E. Looking at two workouts of quarter mile repeats I often see a lot of focus on the quantity of the reps.  "Well group b did 10x400 at 5k pace and group B did 12x400 at 5k pace."  When in reality the number of reps is generally a flexible and somewhat inconsequential peice of information.  More importantly changing the number of reps does not change the physiological goal or effect of the workout.  However changes in the pace of the reps, or the type, pace or length of the recovery, and the difficulty training in the days leading into and following the workout can make huge differences in the physiological effect of the workout.   It is with this perspective that I am approaching these two programs.  I am not looking for differences in style, vocabulary (a tempo run by any other name is still a tempo run) or technique.  I am looking for differences in the physiological adaptation that is being targeted, the amount of focus that is put on each physiological adaptation and how each system attempts to induce those physiological adaptations. 

  Key difference number one we already talked about.  Workouts that involve running at paces ranging from 91% to 99% of marathon pace.  There is exactly none of this prescribed in Pfitzingers training which is not to say that an athlete following this program would not ever run this pace but it certainly would be limited.  In Canova's system running in this pace range shows up in a number of different ways.  It is used in long specific runs of goal race time to goal race distance, it is used as recovery between blocks of running at marathon pace during specific marathon workouts and sometimes as recovery during either VO2 max or lactate threshold paced running.  This pace range is seen by Canova as one of the key marathon training paces with two goals of physiological adaptation first and foremost this pace range increases aerobic lipidic power, the amount of fat that can be burned for energy in a minute.  If you are buring more fat then you are burning less glycogen and since in terms of marathon performance glycogen stores are a key limiting factor and fat stores are essentially inexhaustible, a 100lb runner with 4% body fat would have enough calories stored in fat to run at least 10 marathons, that is an awesome trade to make.  The second goal is increase aerobic fitness.  This pace offers no special benifits in this departement that running at 90% of marathon pace or 100% of marathon pace can't offer so this is not an advantage I see over Pfitzinger's model except that it increases the total volume of running that works on this very important adaptation. 

  The second key differences is quantity of running at marathon goal pace.  Pfitzinger's more than 70 mile a week 12 week training schedule only calls for a total of 14 miles of running at marathon pace in the whole program.  A 12 mile run at marathon pace fit in a 20 mile long run, a great specific marathon workout by anyones standards, and a 2 mile dress rehersal run at marathon pace as part of the taper.  In comparision, though Canova doesn't get into specific detail in his book about how much of this to do in the specific phase, though it is literally the ONLY workout pace he specificly references in his section ton training during the specific phase, in a schedule for athletes attempting to run a 2:09 marathon that he wrote for a German running magazine he included a 9 week training cycle that called for 174 kilometers, which is about 109 miles, of marathon paced running.  This is almost an order of magnitude greater than what Pfitzinger is calling for. 

  In fact during the Canova specific phase essentially every workout that an athlete is doing includes either marathon paced running or some running at 90% of marathon pace or faster.  This comes in many forms.  An athlete could be doing repeats that are faster than marathon pace but with recoveries that cause him or her to average marathon pace.  They may be doing a fartlek that involves many different paces including marathon pace.  They may be doing repeats at marathon pace or they may be doing a long run at 90 to 95% of marathon pace.  Other paces, lactate threshold and VO2 max most often, do show up during the specific phase but always as part of a workout that includes marathon paced running or running at 90 to 95% of marthon pace. 

  It is my personal belief that in these two differences we can boil down why athletes training this way have been able to take world class marathoning from the 2:07 to 2:10 range that it was essentially stuck in from the late 1960's until the early 2000's and suddenly blast into a realm where the new world class is the 2:04 to 2:06 range. 

  However it does leave us with an important question.  If Pfitzinger is not doing all that marathon specific work in his specific phase what is he doing?  Certianly if Canova was just having his athletes add a hundred plus miles of marathon paced running on top of what Pfitzinger was suggesting all he would be getting them would be injured.  So what is the trade off?

  First athletes attempting Canova do get hurt much more than those on a Pfitzinger plan.  Canova calls for a lot of very hard workouts and this increases the risk of injury.  To reduce this risk Canova puts much greater modulation of effort into his schedules.  So yes the hard days are much harder but the easy days and easy runs are much easier and much shorter. 

   Second Pfitzinger calls for a lot of workouts in the specific phase that are VO2 max or lactate threshold workouts, five and six respectively, in the 12 week schedule.  Many of these are in the last 8 weeks which would be the specific phase in a Canova schedule.  To my mind this almost makes the training schedule more of a 5k schedule than a marathon schedule.  I mean if you have done one real marathon workout and five 5k workouts which event do you think you'll be more adapted for?

  This is not to say that no running is done at VO2max or lactic threshold pace in during the specific phase in the Canova system but it is instead mixed into marathon focused workouts.  An example of this would be a session of 10km easy, 5km of 1min hard 1min easy (that is your VO2max pace), 5km easy, 5km marathon pace, 5km max effort.  A slightly more attainable workout from a different program would be 12 miles easy, 5km marathon pace, 6x400m at 5k pace with 100m jog recovery.

  Conclusion

 So if I have convinced you that Canova is the way to go or you were already convinced of that before you read this but you just don't know how to go about it or you have already injuried yourself in attempting Canova in the past.  Or perhaps you have had good success with Pfitzinger and you're wondering if a switch to Canova could lead to even more. What the heck are you supposed to do?  Canova schedules are not easy to find and they are almost always designed for athletes at the absolutly highest level who are training full time.  Frankly the average or even well above average athlete has no prayer of completing them even if they correctly adjust them to their own pace.   The great advantage of Pfitzinger is his schedules.  They are so well written, so balanced, so accessible.

  My suggestion would be to use the Pfitzinger schedule that fits your mileage needs and input Canova style workouts on the workout and long run days, in the specific phase, from 8 weeks until 2 weeks to go, of the schedule to change the balance of your training from 5k focused to marathon focused.  Now these marathon workouts are much longer than the lactate threshold and vo2 max workouts in the Pfitzinger schedule so you can take miles off the days after your workouts and long runs to balance this out.  I'll do an example week below to show you exactly what I mean.

Pfitzinger week 
Monday AM 6 miles PM 4 miles
Tuesday AM 6 miles PM 4 miles
Wendsday VO2 max 11 miles with 6x1k at 5k pace with 2minute jog recoveries.
Thursday Medium long run 15 miles
Friday AM 9 miles PM 4 miles
Saturday 8 miles and 6x100m strides
Sunday 20 mile long run 
87 miles for the week, zero miles at marathon pace, one VO2 max workout, runs at easy, moderate, vo2max, alactic paces


Pfitzinger adapted to Canova week
Monday AM 3 miles easy PM 3 miles easy
Tuesday AM 6 miles PM 4 miles
Wednesday 2 mile warm up, 12 miles of 800m at 105% marathon pace, 800m "recovery" at 95% marathon pace
Thursday AM 3 miles easy PM 3 miles easy
Friday medium long run 12 miles progression from 80% maratho pace to 90% marathon pace
Saturday 8 miles and 6x100m strides
Sunday 3 mile warm up, 5x3 miles at marathon pace with 1 mile recovery at 90% marathon pace (22miles)
 80 miles for the week. 27 miles at marathon pace, kept the easy, moderate, and alactic running, added some running at lactate threshold, lost the VO2 max running.  Lower volume.  Probabaly a harder week. I would be careful to make the midweek workout a bit easier the following week. 


Postscript 

Finally I was obviously very lax in my sourcing of this with no footnotes or use of AMA formatting as such I figure the least I can do is provide links to where you can buy these great books for your own use.  Advanced Marathoning

I have no idea if you can buy the Canova book anywhere.  I got mine by sending a check to the IAAF in Switzerland and it came in the mail which kinda shocked me apparently as late as December of last year you could email the IAAF your credit card info and get one see the 9th post in this letsrun thread.




Monday, July 16, 2018

Training Blog July 9 to 15, 2018


  Finally doing a little bit of running.  It feels ok but I'm very weak.  I certainly don't feel like I could be pushing the hip all that much more than I am.  Still I am getting stronger everday and week over week the difference is quite shocking.  I mowed the lawn for the second time this week and it felt normal.  When I did it ten days ago it was super challenging and super NOT normal. 
  I'm still walking 4 to 6 miles a day in one or two walks. I am getting on the eliptigo most days and being generally active.  The wieght it starting to come down, I am at 178 at last check.

Monday, 4x1min with 1min jogs on the track.  I did about a 15 minute walk before this and after it. The jogs were at high 7min pace.  I did a feldenkrais movement lesson before it.

Tuesday Physical Therapy day

Wednesday 6x1min on flat road with 1min breaks, 10 mins eliptigo warm up, no cool down

Thursday XT day.

Friday 4x ~100m strides on flat road after a 2 mile walk. run at around 5:00 pace.  The first one did not feel good, a walk is not enough warm up.  After that they were fine and each one was a bit faster than the one before.

Saturday  Great day in Bar Harbor.

Sunday 4x90 seconds on the carriage roads, first two downhill second two uphill with 1min walk breaks.  Did this at the end of about a 3.5 mile hike.  The downhill didn't feel great.  The uphill was fine but, sadly, a bit tough aerobically.

  Hope your training is going well. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cloud259 and Lets Get Running Podcasts and Two Marathon Training Cycles.

  A couple weeks ago quite independent of each other two runners with podcasts contacted me about helping them get ready for fall marathons.  First Shaun Dixon of Lets Get Running, https://www.letsgetrunning.co.uk/podcast, who is getting ready for the the Frankfurt marathon and wanting to run under 2:20.  Then a couple days later Gregg Lemos-Stein of the Cloud259 podcast, https://cloud259.com/, reached out looking to unsurprisingly try to break 3 hours at the Berlin marathon.

  This was both a bit funny, I haven't done a podcast in a couple of years and I'm not doing much in the competitive or promotional running world right now so to get contacted by two in a week was a bit weird, and also quite neat.  The chance to work with two runners who have some striking similarities in their situations.  Looking for a noticable but not crazy step up in their marathon performance, running fast european fall marathons, a sense of this being a last chance of sorts at this goal and a feeling that the direction of their previous marathon training plans was not effective.  Then some interesting differences.  One coming from a very competitive international level background with a high degree of confidence in his non-marathon running and racing the other much more from a 'normal' performance background with no more confidence in his other distances than his marathon work.

  Generally speaking I don't listen to or read interviews that I do anymore.  Early on it was very exciting to be in a podcast or a magazine so I would jump at the chance to see it but that wears off.  Now of course their are exceptions, a few years ago runners world did a video with me in it that included some time in my classroom. I showed the finished video in all my classes because the kids all wanted to see if they or their friends were in it.  The excite may have wained for me but it was amazing to see how excited middle school kids were to catch a glimpse of themselves or people they knew.   That said in the case of both of these podcasts I did listen to them because I was interested to hear how both athletes were reacting to their training schedules and the experience of the first few sessions.  Though that was my intial motivation I couldn't help but judge my own answers and statements as I was listening.

  First and foremost I hate my voice.  I always wanted to grow up to sound like James Earl Jones and I really couldn't have missed the mark by much more than I did.  Second I have no ability whatsoever to be brief.  I can't give a simple straight forward answer.  Now I obviously knew both of these things long before pressing play on these two podcasts but that doesn't mean they didn't drive me nuts when I was trying to listen to them.

  Interestingly though as I listened to them I actually found myself wishing I had added more information or expanded on the thoughts I was expressing.  I guess there is no likelyhood of me becomeing a master of brevity anytime soon.  So I'm going to add my notes on both podcast below trying to highlight what I meant or what I wished I had added or in some cases just what the hell I was trying to say...

Cloud 259 episode 66
15:10- Shumacher calls these Rythm runs.  Vigil calls them intermediate runs or if done progressively stepping stone runs.

* all through this discussion on Canova's training I should be clear I was talking specifically about how he prepares marathoners so it is not specific to or in many cases true of how he prepares athletes for other events

*18:50 -Gregg started working with me only 10 weeks out from his goal marathon so we are sort of jumping straight into special almost specific marathon training.  This would be very difficult to do with a lot of athletes but Gregg is a slow twitch runner and is not on the extreme end of his bodies potential so I think it will be ok.

20:00 to 23:00- some specific examples to slow at 5% each time the distance doubles 28:00 for 10k would be equal to about 2:09:45, 27:00 would equal 2:05:18.  A 1:01 half marathon would equal 2:08 flat.  A 1:02 half would equal about a 2:10 flat. 

21:48- Paul Evans 2:08:52 off of a 1:01:18 half marathon. 

24:40- I feel like it sounds like I'm calling Shumacher out here.  Let me be clear I do think his athletes have left a lot on the table in the marathon but I am only refering to the marathon.  Overall the performances they have produced are amazing and I would kill for 1/10th his understanding of how to develop general running fitness and how to produce results at 3k to half marathon goal races.

27:15- I'm not trying to disparage 2:12 but his guys are running that 28:00/1:01 range and that would put them sub 2:10 on fast courses.  Now compare that with a lot of similar guys in the U.S. or U.S. trained in the last 15 years- ie Rohatinsky, Carney, Bairu, Quigley, Smyth, Watson for a few examples off the top of my head.

32:15- I was specifically refering to early in a training cylce when I told Gregg that the recovery pace was the place to give in on if you have to.  The closer you get to your race the more you want to be hitting those recovery times and the interval times and at that point overall distance becomes the thing you can give in on OR you can hold the recovery pace but do it for longer distance a mile or two instead of a half mile to get your feet back under you and then hit your pace for your reps.

Lets Get Running Episode 46

14:35- The name I'm searching for is Brett Gotcher who ran 2:10:26 or there about in his debut at Houston a while back.  It hit me the moment I got off the line with Shaun. 

18:50- 1995 world leader was Sammy Lelei at 2:07:02, #3 was a 2:08:30 and there were 16 times under 2:10.  Last year the  world lead was 2:03:32. 84 times under 2:08:30 were recorded.  181 times under 2:10 were recorded. Compare that to the 5k- world lead in 1995 was,12:44 , and the #10 time was 13:02 . Last year the world lead was 12:55 and #10 time was 13:04.

21:30- I was amiss not to mention that Bill Squires group was doing some good specific work that was a step away from modern Canova training.  I imigine that if the money hadn't fallen out of the sport and Bill had been able to keep his group going he would likely have continued to evolve with the times and the american marathoning in the 1990's and early 2000's would have been a very different scene than it ended up being. 

31:45- I actually love Pete's book and he really knows his stuff as well.  I just think you'll do better with more specific work. 


Sunday, July 8, 2018

First Bit of Running!

  On Saturday I was able to go out and try to jog for the first time.  I did 4x30 seconds with 1min walk recoveries. I have to keep it very flat and avoid any poor footing so I went to the track.  The first rep felt a little rough particularly in the glute max, I had surgery on the glute med. so that was ok.  On the following reps I settled into a more natural stride and did a better job of having a bit of a natural lean forward and the glute felt totally fine.  I did have some very noticable tightness in the I.T. band but overall I was very happy.

  I expected to end up sore from the little bit of running but I actually am more sore the days after I do my hip hikes so that was a very nice surprise.  My only concern is that I'm not getting great pronation on that foot but it was just the first little bit of jogging and I have a LOT of rehab to do before I'll be doing any real running so I'm a long way from being freaked out about that it is just a heads up that I need to put some time into my ankle range of motion and get that I.T. band loosened up.  On the plus side the list of what I'm allowed to do for rehab greatly expands this week so I have a lot more options for attacking those two things. 

  I'm a long way from regular running which I hope to start in 12 weeks but I've taken the next real big step in that direction. I fully expect some set backs in the next few weeks but I'm pumped about how the first little bit went.

  The other check in I got this week was on wieght.  I don't own a scale so I very rarely wiegh myself.   About 6 weeks ago I did wiegh myself and I was 187lbs.  That is equal to about the heaviest I have ever been.  Now I have been in the 185lb range a number of times over the years.  Mostly during college when I was having injury trouble.  I consider race wieght to be 162lbs though I'm rarely that light.  Generally my "normal wieght" range is 167lbs to 177lbs and I'm fine starting real running anywhere in that range.  I have been able to get active enough the last two weeks to feel like I was hopefully starting to cut into the extra wieght.  At the end of a cookout, not ideal wiegh in time, I was able to use a scale at my in-laws house and came in at 182.  Five pounds in the right direction.  Still very heavy but also moving in the right direction. 

  Now full discloser I'm not doing much to lose wieght other than exercising more.  Melissa was laughing at me the other night because I was complaining about being fat while eating a hersey bar.  Generally I eat a lot of good for you food but I do sneak some junk here or there.  I certainly am not dieting. However if I'm still heavy when it comes time to start running for real I would consider it as it would be very tough on the muscles to run any volume at over 180lbs.

  Hope you are well! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Walking My Way Back to You!

   The last couple of weeks were crazy with the finish of school.  For me that is a series of long field trips and evenings at school to which I added a couple of physical therapy appointments each week.  P.T. itself doesn't take up too much time but for insurance reasons the place I'm going to is about 50 minutes from my work and about 30mins from my house which means when I had an appointment afterschool I wasn't getting home unti fairly late.  At least late for a guy who leaves for work a bit before 7am.   The main focus of my exercise has been the physical therapy exercises which are still SUPER basic and easy.  I mean I literally was doing the same exercise as the seventy something women next to me, and she was doing a bit better than me! 

  The big thing for me has been that I have been able to start walking a good bit.  I do a two mile walk every morning and in the last few days I have been able to sneak in a 2nd walk of one to two miles as well.  Beyond that I have been getting in 30 minutes on the elitigo most days.

  I'm still weak but coming along very quickly.  I get to really up my cross training and start some very short jogging in another couple weeks and I'm super excited for that!  Hoping your training is going well.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

No More Crutches!

  This week was dedicated mostly to weening off the crutches.  I was doing a bit of very short walking early in the week and puting a lot of wieght on the leg when using the crutches as well as doing some exercises to help me stop limping.  By mid week I could walk without a limp and the surgeon gave the OK to ditch the crutches as long as I could walk without limping.  I'm slow as cold molasses but I'm getting around.  I was also able to start doing some light work on the eliptigo. 

  Unfortunetly I had a bunch of very long days at school which with the extra walking and wieght baring was about all my leg could handle so I only did a bit of bike and eliptigo.  Walking up this morning, saturday, I feel profoundly stronger so I think it was the right call to do the extra walking at work and sacrifice the bike work a bit but it still makes me feel pretty lazy. 

  The most exciting thing in my week was watching the NCAA's.  Just crazy how good kids across events are.  I think the wide spread availability of great coaching info is the key to the boom in performance over the last 20 years but it is just awesome to see and I am willing to bet that particularly in the high school and college ranks it is only going to get better.  The meet was crazy!  Two guys sub 44 in the 400m, a 47.02 in the 400m hurdles, there are multiple sub 10 100m men this year.  Like 6 women were under the old meet record for the 10k which had stood for 30 years or so.   Really it was so much fun just to geek out as a fan on this.  That said the announcing was cringeworthy.  How they can't get someone who has done just a little research and can call a race I don't know.  Dwight Stones knows his stuff but isn't any good for calling a race and the rest of them well, lets say I was not impressed.
 
  Hope you had a great week.  I have a crazy one coming up with LONG field trip days and some after school activities but then things settle down and I should be really rolling.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

First Steps and Thoughts on Form

  Yesterday was the first day I was allowed to start weaning off the crutches.  I was supposed to start putting more weight on the leg while using the crutches and to spread about 20 minutes of unassisted walking over the course of the day.  I have been religiously following the guidelines for my return and as such I have definitely been chomping on the bit the last few weeks to take some steps.

  My first unassisted steps came when I was carrying my morning tea and oatmeal to the table.  I am at best uncomfortable being waited on and not being able to carry liquid unless it was in a container has been very annoying.  As I have been  doing exercises and getting around and feeling very little if any pain it was shocking to put my weight on the leg and feel how stupendously weak it was.  I could only walk with a shaky slow limp and my upper body tilting heavily on the bad leg stride.  The best thing I can relate the feeling to is when you are lifting weights and you get to the last few reps of a max set and suddenly you can't seem to make the muscles do the task.  I was right on the the edge of that.   After only a few steps when I sat I could feel noticeable fatigue.   It cleared quickly though and I was able to keep mixing in bits of walking through the day.  I had no real pain just the occasional burning feeling around the scar.  As an aside I really should take a picture of that thing and post it, not really safe for work, given that it would basically be a pic of my ass, but it is about 8 inches long and not too pretty.  Melissa gagged the first time she saw it, which was a great reaction to get from a beautiful woman!

  The limp had me really thinking about my muscular cross training plan for re-balancing my muscles, and myself neurologically.  Imbalance and running are not good.  Honestly I'm of the believe you can generally get away with doing a lot of stuff wrong with your form if you can do it in a balanced way but if you are out of balance it is very hard to stay healthy.  To say I'm out of balance now is an understatement and a half.  I am entirely unaware on a conscious level that I am standing with all or nearly all my weight on my left leg and I can barely step on the right without some pretty funky upper body movements to get through the process.  This is all expected but experiencing it really has been hyper aware of the job ahead.

  My plan for neuromuscular work is two fold.  First more for the neuro side is feldenkrais.  I have been doing this for a year or so and am a huge fan.  These strange "exercise" sets are basically a rewiring of the connection from your brain to your muscles and cause you to run very differently, and much more naturally, without really thinking about it.  Teaching yourself to make even a small change in form is generally a long hard nearly impossible process and often the outcome is unnatural and not at all what the goal was.  This is the complete opposite, it is fast, it immediately feels natural and it looks natural and un-strained.   The one draw back is that it teaches you to move a certain way but then basically expects you to just do it and be better.  My experience, and in all fairness this could be largely caused by the volume and speed of the running I generally do, is that this doesn't work too well.  My muscles fatigue out and I end up falling back into bad habits and this really slows the change.  So part two is muscular work.  I will be slowly adding back in my functional muscular exercises.  These range from Olympic lifts to drills and jumping exercises.  These along with a ton of massage to undo the knots in my back and hips from crutch-ing around for two months will be key to avoiding setbacks once I can get running again.

  In terms of timing I will start the feldenkrais long before I can run as that is movement stuff, not even body weight lifting.  However I do need to be able to do a resistance-less clam before I can start and that is still a while coming. I follow an 8 exercise series of feldenkrais exercises from https://www.balancedrunner.com/ .  I'll do the main longer lessons, 50 to 80 minutes each,  only once or twice each.  I'll do the follow up lessons, 15 to 40 minutes, 1 to 10 times each depending on where I'm needing to make improvements.  Then I'll do the very short 3 to 4 minute lessons pretty much daily.   These shorter ones are more about maintaining good form and slowly touching up your form but they are super easy to mix in and they do a great job of preventing me from slipping back into old habits while ever so slowly actually helping my form improve.

  The muscular side will be largely under the control of the PT and then Anna.  This is not my area of expertise and I am a believer in finding good people and doing what they tell you when you don't know too much about something.  I have some basic things I'd like to do.  I would like to be back to dead lifting around 300lbs.  I want to be doing around 60 front squats, broken into sets, with around 100lbs and I want to be squatting my body weight for sets of 6 to 10.  Additionally I would like to get to doing sets of 10 to 20 pull ups, as I feel these really help my weakest point, my lats.  Which I think impacts my form and may be putting undue stress on some of my trouble areas. 

  I have started back at the pull ups already but the rest of the stuff is a while off.  Currently I'm just doing some super easy weightless motions or exercises with 1 to 2 lb wights or light rubber bands.  I am improving but I would rate my current fitness/ability with these as active grandma.  I'm hoping to get them to exceptional grandma but the middle of next week but we'll just have to see.

  The two things I see as most critical in this comeback are first the start.  I need to get out in front on some of this before I take a running stride to build the proper environment in my body for running.  Second will be the early stretch when I'm building up from zero running to about 4 miles.  If I can do good work in that stretch so that the running I'm doing is an extension of the good body work I'm doing I think I'll really be able to hit the ground running come October and I think I'll improve much quicker as I'll be firing on all cylinders and not be in a situation where my body is fighting itself.

  So that is where I am and where I'm going in terms of mechanical motion and standing on my own two feet.  I hope your ahead of me in both categories at the moment.