Friday, May 18, 2018

Operation Return to Sub 15

 I had surgery April 13th.  I will remain on crutches 100% of the time until the end of May.  I am cleared to start cross training on the stationary bike next week.  The elliptical a couple weeks after that.  If all goes to plan I can do my first run, 1 minute, on August 13th.  Melissa's due date is September 11 and I am supposed to be able to be doing a reasonable amount of running starting October 13.  That will leave me a very short time after a very long lay off to try and run a sub 15 5k.  Now indoor track races are available in the northeast in December but generally a 5k is tough to come by in the last couple of weeks of that month though I may be able to find something in one or both of those last two weeks.

  I have already written out plans for both my build up from one minute of jogging to actual training and from that actual training start to the end of the year.  I will embed those training plans below.  They look very specific and detailed but I am very good at viewing training plans as written in  pencil and can guarantee many changes will be made in the coming months.

  In terms of cross training I haven't done anything so formal for a few reasons.  The first is the unknown aspect of it.  I don't know what kind of fitness I have after a month on my ass.  I am not in charge of the types of training I am allowed to do.  I don't fully understand the limitations that have been set out in my rehab plan and so some things I need to try a little and others I need to clear with my P.T. and/or my doctor.   The first type of training I am cleared to do is the bike.  Currently only with no resistance but that is soon to change.  It was also made pretty clear that a fall on a bike would be an absolute no go.  So I purchased a cheap spin bike.  Additionally we already have an Eliptigo with a trainer that I will be able to start using a few weeks after that and we have a concept 2 rower, which I'm unclear when I'll be able to start using but given that it is a smooth motion I'm sure it will be before I'm allowed to run.  Finally our treadmill goes to 15% incline so I may do some walking on that.  That last one I have not run by my medical team so we'll see when/if that gets worked in.

                                           My first partner in my long slow return to fitness.

  My hope during the cross training phase is first to get my weight down.  After 6 months of jogging about 4 miles a day and followed by a month plus lay off I'm coming in at around 185 lbs which is close to the heaviest I've ever been.  If I can go into running training particularly the more serious part in October at something close to 170 lbs it is going to be a lot easier to make gains and stay healthy.  I also want to help my transition to running by simulating all types of workouts on these cross training devices so that as I transition to running the only new impetus will be the pounding.  Which should make the transition to training much less risky and a lot quicker.

                                      Mine doesn't say Atlanta Track Club but it is red so...

                                    This bad larry will likely be the final piece of my cross training.

  On August 13th, if all goes to schedule, I will be going for my first run. This is the schedule I have set up.

  As you can see the majority of my fitness at this time will be coming from cross training.  I don't get too specific about what types of workouts I'll be doing but basically I'll be doing a mix of hard 30s to 2 minute intervals for VO2 max, hard 20 to 30 minute tempo runs, progression workouts, and if I can find a way to get the effort right harder efforts of around an hour to simulate aerobic threshold running.   I have no doubt I'll end up making adjustments to the majority of the runs just because so much of the early running is listening to your body and building, as well as stepping back, as it dictates but I'm pretty hopeful that I'll be able to end up on point by the end of the 8 weeks.

  After this initial build up my plan is to do a well balanced training plan based on the principles laid out in Joe Vigil's book "Road to the Top"  I won't be in a place to do the workouts as laid out in the book.  I will however be able to put together a plan that is based on his basic structure of running sub maximal mile and 1k repeats steadily building those into VO2 max workouts, running LT tempo's, aerobic threshold medium long runs and doing a good bit of basic speed work in each micro cycle.

As you can see the volume is very low by my standards and stays low.  There is a lot of quality running but much of it is easier than it might look.  There are certainly some points where the workouts make a jump in what it takes to finish them and I don't know if I'll be able to make that jump at that point.  First that is always a bit of an unknown but second I'm 38 and there is a good chance I'm not going to progress in the way that I have in the past. 
Something else that I'm not able to plan for is my cross training.  I will basically be rehabbing for at least a year.  Physical Therapy will obviously be done before then but you don't just get chopped up and end up back at 100% in months.  It will be a long slow process and I'm not sure how much that cross training will be taking out of me but I will need to prioritize it over the running training and so if the choice is to cut back on the running or the cross training I will have to cut back on the running.

  Finally we have a baby scheduled to arrive in early September so I'm planning this build up during a time of extreme change and most likely sleep deprivation which will certainly mandate some changes.

  Either way after 6 months of only light jogging and 5 weeks of being epic-ly sedentary I am full on PUMPED to do any sort of exercise.  The thought of being able to go for a half hour on a stationary bike or just take the dog for a real walk is thrilling to me at this moment. Right now I do about 10 minutes of VERY easy pt exercises two or three times a day and it is a real highlight.  I am not a person who is comfortable sitting and doing non-physical things too much.  Don't get me wrong a little scroll through facebook at the end of a long day can be nice and relaxing but when it is your main activity for the day it is not super fulfilling.


Cam said...

Nate, I have been following your writing & blog for many years now - glad to see you posting more and I've just subscribed to RSS alerts so I don't miss anything from you again.

Finally - congratulations on the baby news! I am trying to get back to Boston next year but am finding the stay-at-home parent lifestyle not as generous on training time as I had hoped. Wouldn't have it any other way though.

Nate Jenkins said...

Cam- I imagine that the stay at home parent thing would make it very hard to take time for yourself. I think it is one of those gigs that seems amazing from the outside but in reality is very tough, though hopefully rewarding. With Melissa and I both valuing our training scheduling it is going to be tough. Plus we really like getting in some runs together. Her mom is SUPER supportive but I'm sure it will still be a challenge I'm sure. I actually think the summers when I'm not working may be more challenging because it will be just assumed I both am able to take care of the kid 24/7 and that I have all the free time in the world to get my training done and those are two mutually exclusive things.

Cam said...

All your suspicions are true. It's hard work, isolating and (few people will admit this) at times very boring. First 2 years after birth, we were in Cleveland, Ohio with no family support - so add the winters there to the mix & the result was almost no training. Weather & family support here in Perth, Australia is the opposite & things are much better. My unsolicited advice: take all the help you can get and don't feel guilty! So happy for you guys - life is about to begin...