Race day approaches. The next two weeks are shorter and more intense. Unfortunately my running has been not so good. My calf/hamstring are still tight and sore from the half marathon and I think I’ve discovered the underlying problem.
Six weeks ago I got a new fit from John at Bicycle Doctor. I was, and am, very happy with the new fit. I feel strong and solid on the bike. Some of my training rides have been very very good. But in the weeks after the fit, I noticed some problems. Most noticeably my lower back on the left side was sore, going right into my hip/glute. It would not really effect my running, but still hurt and would cause a power drop on the bike. 2.5 weeks ago I went to do a long hard ride to get a solid gauge on my pacing and averaged 270 watts for 3 hours and then ran an hour at a sub-8minute pace. Felt great. But that ride made me go back to see John to figure out what the problem was.
As it turns out, I’m twisted. Anyone who knows me already knows this. But now it is literally true as well as figuratively. Anyway, John noticed that my right side is much stronger on my left side and that I am straining my left back/hip/leg because I am not engaging those muscles appropriately. In fact, my left leg is just tagging along for the ride and doing very little work. The new fit helped fix the problem, but I also had to really focus on using my left leg more while cycling. He felt pretty strongly that once I did that and got used to it, I’d see a pretty significant power spike as both legs shared the load.
The problem however is that my left side and leg were tight and sore from the work. Enter my first half marathon where I was going to take easy. Well, I took it a little harder than easy…and now my hamstring is tight/strained/sore causing tightness and soreness in my calf. I have to say, I was wondering why a run would cause this problem when I was in shape and ready for it. But the timing makes perfect sense. The new fit forced more left leg engagement, even if I wasn’t focused on it, creating a tired left leg…specifically hamstring.
I got a massage yesterday to work on this specifically. I was ready to cry like a girl. She had her elbow in my hamstring and was doing ART type movements with my leg…I yelled mercy once (not kidding)…and was ready to start saying, “thank you sir, may I have another.” It was brutal. The hamstring is really sore, possibly bruised, but it did release a bit. So I’ll be biking and rolling on the trigger point to try and get the muscle to release. Plus ice and heat.
Normally I’d be really freaked with only a little running with 1.5 weeks to go. But I am very confident. I have been doing some running…and actually have to hold myself back a bit. I can’t gain much by running hard at this point, but I can cause a lot of damage. I have really been focused on swimming and biking. I did my 10x100’s last week and finished with a total time of 12:51. So minus the rest I’m at 11:21 which is a 1:08 pace. Not too shabby. I’ve been doing more interval work on the bike to make sure my legs are good and ready for 255-265 watts on race day. And as long as I can run the final couple weeks, even just 30 minutes at a time, I think my run fitness will be there. Aerobically I’m in great shape. I’ll take the run as it comes, but I just don’t think I’ll lose fitness for this race given the additional work I’ve been doing on the bike and being able to at least run 4 times per week. Some people only run 4 times per week…and not doing a long or interval run 3-4 weeks out isn’t necessarily bad either.
Hopefully it will be enough to qualify for the ITU World Championships, I need a top 20 in the age group.
I am officially stuck inside for the remainder of my cycling season unless I want to drive. Construction is everywhere…and my typical route to leave the neighborhood is buried under heavy equipment and gravel. If only they could have waited 2 more weeks!! But next year I’ll have some great roads to ride on. That will be nice.
I’ve been thinking about the off-season as well as next season a lot. Specifically I am looking at some Endurance Nation training plans. I really like their mentality when it comes to bike training. I did what I’ll refer to as an intermediate or beginner plan this off season and made big improvements. I’m leaning towards becoming a member.
I’d be putting a really strong emphasis on biking, more than I normally would. But the rides are shorter…which is very helpful. Watching my TSS numbers it is always the long ride that buries me from a stress standpoint. So I think I am going to follow their bike plan with 3-4 HARD interval days per week coupled with their running plan that focuses harder runs…but I may swap a little towards volume instead of speed. I need to discuss that with them.
My ultimate goal is to keep my hours under 10 per week. There won’t be any long rides on the trainer. 2hrs maximum and only on occasion. I’d be riding 5 times and running 6. But many of the runs are nice and small and the rides are almost all around an hour. So that should really do the trick. We’ll see. I have a trial membership to EN and need to ask them some questions.
I’m not sure why, but I really look forward to the shorter harder training sets in the off season. Maybe its because I expect some really good things next season as I continue to improve and drop to 185 pounds. Or…maybe its because I’m tired of going out spending half the day riding/running and waking up early. Sleeping in is GOOOOD!!
Anyway, today is a day off for me as taper time is starting. I need to get things packed and figure out how to take my bike apart and into the case for shipping. Its gotta be at Fedex by the 23rd at noon. That means late the 22nd. Thankfully I have a road bike or I’d be without my bike for 8 days right before the race. Since I can’t ride outside anyway, I figure I’ll just put my road bike on the computrainer and do the work there. Such fun.