A blog by runners. For runners.

Snow, pain and treadmills

As I reported Wednesday, I've got a sharp pain in my ankle so I'll be calling the doctor tomorrow to get it looked at. It got a little better on Thursday, back to the way it was on Tuesday – more of an ache than a sharp pain and I've been wearing a brace for support but I didn't run Wednesday or Thursday. Not a great way to start my training plan for Atlanta.
Friday was the big snow storm here in Chicago so I was particularly careful not to slip or twist my ankle to aggravate it further. The bus was busier than usual so instead of getting a seat and working on WalkJogRun on my laptop I had to stand for the journey and read my Runners World. There was a great article on training indoors on treadmills during the winter. As anyone who has read my older posts will know, I can't stand treadmills as a rule – I just get so bored. Judy Mandell's article was inspiring enough to get me thinking, and with my slightly less stable ankle I decided that it may be a lower impact alternative to running outside that could keep my running momentum up through the injury.
I planned on running my 7 mile week 2 training training run on the treadmill yesterday but I ended up mixing things up a little. I had intended to get a hair cut in the morning and go to the gym before Jeff and I dug in on some new WalkJogRun features but I got a little carried away with preparing for our meeting and left myself with just enough time for a haircut. Melissa had taken the car so I wrapped up warm for the 20 degrees fahrenheit weather and went downstairs to get my bike, only to discover that my tires were flat and my pump was back in the apartment 9 floors above. I decided to run the 1.2 miles instead and made it there in just over 8:30 each way. I made it home in the roughly the same time so I was already 2.4 miles into my training for the day.
After Jeff and I finished our work on WalkJogRun, Melissa and I headed to the gym for an hour and I got stuck in on the treadmill. I started at a pace of 9:00 per mile for 10 minutes, then 8:40 for 5, 8:20 for 5, 8:00 for 5, 7:40 for 5, 8:00 for 5, 8:40 for 5 and then 9:00 per mile for the last 10 minutes of my workout. This pyramid approach made it a lot more interesting than my workouts on treadmills in the past and I'm looking forward to integrating some more treadmill workouts in the coming months, as Chicago stays icy cold. I'm also interested to try some of the different inclines too to simulate some of the hills I will encounter in Atlanta. That was one of the big challenges for me training for San Francisco – my only hills in training was a 13 mile run in my home town of Stockport, England when I was home to visit my parents.
Another thing I didn't do training for my first marathon was the cross-training Sunday workout. I tried to go to the swimming pool a couple of times but without any kind of structure I just swam a few laps and then sat in the hot tub and the steam room to pad out the hour. I'm surprised that many of the training plans I've come across suggest cross training but don't really give you any ideas for what to do. Swimming and cycling are the most common cross training workouts so I would expect the training plans to suggest some beginner, intermediate and advanced swim and cycle workouts to help you be successful. I've looked at some swimming sites online but they typically assume you are a strong swimmer or training 3 times a week (or more) in the pool. Triathlon training plans I've found also seem a little too much for someone looking for a simple Sunday morning workout.
I posted a question on Runners World forums about swimming workouts for marathon runners in the pool, and someone wrote back with a pyramid training plan for a 1 hour session. I tried this today but had only 30 minutes to work out. I managed 5x100m alternating front crawl and crawl legs for each 100, took a 1 minute break then did 4x100m alternating breast stroke and back stroke. This left me five minutes to relax in the hot tub and the steam room before heading home. Next week I'm going to make a point of doing the whole hour and doing the 300, 200 and 100 legs.