Friday, October 27, 2006

The next step

I have some hopes of taking my running career to the next level. Of course, next level for me is a 3:30 marathon since the Olympics are probably out of reach, but that level's still going to take some work.

You see, right now my legs aren't all that strong. I discovered this about 5 days ago when my legs wouldn't carry me all the way to the finish line and gave out around mile 18. They had a few cocktails, took a nap, and left me to run the race without any legs. The culprit in the last two marathons has been my quads. In 2005, one of them "popped" around mile 22, but we weren't going all that fast so I was able to maintain our 10 minute mile pace and it was really more a distraction than a major pain. It sucked, but I survived. This year, however, with the faster pace the quads took a little more abuse and gave out in more dramatic fashion. I think you can still find quad shrapnel back on the course (for which I apologize because that's just gross).

I'm starting to see a trend here (I'm a scientist, you know) and so I think it's time to work a bit more actively with my leg strength. Running doesn't do much for the quadriceps, so I'm going to have to start hitting the gym (*gasp*). We will have access to a gym on Mondays and Thursdays, so on those days I'll do a combination of leg presses, leg curls, and leg extensions. If I can't make it to the gym, I'll do lunges and wall-sits at home. I'm hoping to find a way to work in some crosstraining as well (stationary bike probably). Basically, I need to hit all the muscles that running generally doesn't.

The other thing that I need to seriously work on is my flexibility. I think the hamstring problems I had later in the race probably had something to do with compensating for my quads and pulling lots of muscles and crap. Doesn't matter; the point is that I'd like to be able to touch my toes. Also, the groin injury that I got from doing strides of all things is fairly pathetic and just another sign that "stiff as a board, light as a feather" isn't working for me anymore. Time to get bigger and more flexible.

The little snag in all this is that I've tried this before. Every time I've tried to hit the gym with regularity, I've invariably stopped going once the running miles climbed too high. It just took too much energy/time from me. However, this is the first time that I won't be jumping in mileage in my training. With a repeat of the Pfitz plan, I hope that I'll be used to it so it won't seem overwhelming. Also, I know that I've got work to do to catch up with Leah, so that's motivation too. I really want to cross the finish line with her when she qualifies for Boston and to do that I'll have to work a bit harder than she does.

I can't wait.


Running Jayhawk said...

You got this! I, like you, need to start hitting the gym...*groan*

Firefly's Running said...

Jason, I agree with you. I have been very BAD about using the weight machine while at the gym. I have been more concerned about tiring them out instead of building strength.

Theoutofshapeguy said...

The gym is also calling my name. Good luck buddy. You got this

Arcaner said...

Good luck. I know you'll get there. I find that doing a few squats during stretching after running helps a bit and it doesn't take much time to do.

Lana said...

You'll get it worked out...sounds like you have a great plan. I have always done the same thing with the weights - I plan to do strength training twice a week, but as the running miles increase I usually feel fortunate to just get the running in, and the weights get left out. It's probably worth the sacrifice in the long run, though (no pun intended), because you're less likely to have to deal with injury.