After seven weeks on the bench and six weeks starting from scratch on the treadmill I finally had a sort-of-back-to-normal week. I have approached my recovery very cautiously. That means no insane, out of the blue mileage increases, plenty of rest days, and no huge goal races to throw my priorities out of wack.
I spent the first four weeks of recovery running every other day. Weeks 5 and 6 I added two days in a row. Last week, week 7, I finally had a full five day running week and it felt long overdue. For several years I've kept a pretty consistant running schedule of T-W-R-Sa-Su, with the addition of a sixth day here and there. This is my base. My comfort zone. And I knew once I got back on this schedule I would start feeling like myself again.
Happy happy 5 days per week
Not only did week 7 bring back my old schedule, but I also left the treadmill behind for all but one day and ventured outside. I admit, I was actually starting to like the treadmill after spending six weeks on it, but there is no workout comparable to hitting the pavement or trail for a few hours on foot. I built more muscle on my legs last week than I did with the 100+ miles I have put on the treadmill since New Years. My first two runs outside were really, really difficult. I had gotten so used to the belt on the treadmill pushing me forward that I forgot what it was like to do it of my own volition. By the third run, however, I was starting to feel really comfortable again.
The shining moment of last week was not, however, just the 5 days of running or ditching the treadmill, but getting through my long run on Sunday in spite of both these things. Instead of driving down to the gym to use the treadmill for double digits, I woke up, put on my compression socks, laced up my Kinvaras and ran out the door for 13 glorious miles. I had no idea how my body would react. Not only would it be my longest run since November, but 6 miles further than I had run outside in a single stretch and after 4 days of running that week already.
It would be cruel not to take these pretties out for a run
Fortunately my body responded very well. Sure it was tough, but it felt good. So good, that I found myself pushing the pace and ended up averaging 9 minutes miles. A far cry from my old paces, but considering I've been doing 10 minute miles since I started running again, I'm going to call that a huge win.
I spent the rest of Sunday in my pivot shorts and compression sleeves on the couch doing homework. Maybe not my perfect weekend five years ago, but now it sounds like just about the best thing ever.