Last week I hurt my MCL doing jump squats (I think Dr. Jordan Metzl's Iron Strength workouts are great in concept, and I'm really intrigued by the number of people who say that following his strength plan kept them injury-free, yet every time I start following the workouts, I get hurt!). So I'm probably not going to race next week. It's ok to run on after several days of ice alternating with heat, but I think the fact that it's my left leg points to an underlying issue - my tight hamstring. I probably wouldn't have hurt the ligament if my muscles were limber. That, or my squat form just sucks!
I did an abbreviated long run today - 10 miles - and taped the ligament before the run. It was miserably hot and humid today, and I sweated the tape loose in less than a mile, but once I warmed up it felt ok. Not 100%, but it wasn't really bothering me. Still, my gut says don't race. I have until the 27th to make a final decision.
Lately, I've been adding hills into my long runs. Since all of NOLA is totally flat, if we are ever in Bay St. Louis for the weekend (where we often meet friends), I run the Bay Bridge to get some elevation in. And when I'm home, I have been jogging the levee. My normal ten-mile route takes me over four hills: I get on the levee (hill 1), then I run downhill when the levee path dips down to ground level in front of the Army Corps of Engineers building (hill 2), then I go uphill when the path climbs back up to the top of the levee as I enter the Fly (hill 3), then finally downhill to exit the Fly and head to Audubon Park (hill 4). At each hill, I do five repeats - easy up, easy down. The Bar Harbor Half showed me how weak I am at climbing hills, and my hamstring strain was due to pulling with my left leg. So I'm keeping the reps very easy to prevent hurting my clearly weak hamstrings.
Other things I've been doing lately:
- Decreasing water breaks. Now that it's not deathly hot, I do one or two breaks. Today I drank water twice, even though I ran only ten miles, because it was mid-80's and humid (C'mon, fall, get it together!). I stop my Garmin for water breaks, because I usually have to wait for another runner or a biker, and I don't want too many breaks because then your pace is so off reality!
- No music. I stopped listening to music while I run a while ago, but kept it for long runs. But ever since my surgeries I only rarely listen to music. I have no real reason why! Just fell out of the habit!
- Fast finish. I've been trying to either fast finish (according to my training plan) or at least negative split long runs. This has not been hard to do, because for some reason my first mile has been super slow. Like, at least a minute slower than overall pace. I'm old and it takes me some time to warm up.
- Wearing those stupid Kinvara 6's. I guess I just have to deal with the smaller toe box. I was wearing Saucony Cortana's on my long runs over the summer, but I no longer like that shoe. It feels too heavy and too squishy and unstable.
How are your long runs lately?