The week prior, I had covered 22 miles for my long run so I had plans to progress to 24-25 miles the following week (actually 9 days later). The run started out great as I shared a few miles with my wife then parted ways for a few miles and then had the opportunity to run with one of my athletes, Brandon, for about 6 miles. All was good, energy was high and I left Brandon around mile 15 to continue on my long run journey.
At mile 19, I began feeling a bit of discomfort along my left IT band and knew immediately what was in store. I had IT band issues during the early days of Ironman racing and had "fond" memories of the imbalance. I was about 6 miles from home and continued on, slowing my pace, in hopes that it would not make it worse.
It wasn't until about mile 22 when I really started to feel it and had to alternate slow running with walk breaks. I even picked up a smooth rock along the way and would massage the muscle belly in my gluteal region during my walk breaks as that alleviated some of the pain.
Upon arriving home, I immediately rolled on my TP Therapy Grid and begin some self massage to help the recovery. As with almost any IT band issue, it is usually not the IT band itself but the muscles above it that cause it to track differently across the knee, causing pain. I could pinpoint that it was my piriformis and spent a bit of time nurturing the muscle. The next 2 days were a bit painful but after that, and very aggressive rehab with the Grid and massage, I was able to walk without pain.
It is obvious to me that my body is not happy with the somewhat abrupt increase in running miles in preparation for the Brazil 135. My new plan to be able to pace my athlete for Brazil next month is to run more frequently but cover moderate distances (12-18 miles) rather than one monster long run per week. Frequency often times supports better mechanics and overall fitness. Acknowledging this speed bump and making slight alterations will allow me to get in more quality miles without as big of a stress on my musculoskeletal system.
The very good news about that 25 mile run was my nutrition. My energy level remained very constant during and I only consumed 100 calories worth of chocolate Generation UCAN, 20 ounces of water and 3 SaltStick capsules during my 3 hour and 30 minute effort. Prior to the run, I had my normal breakfast/smoothie concoction that I have written about previously.
I have also been experimenting with my daily carbohydrate intake and periodizing it to my training sessions (some days less, some days more carbohydrate). More on that in my next blog post.
Lesson of the day: you will encounter speed bumps in life and sport. What matters is how you let them affect you and what you will do once you encounter them. While I was a bit upset at this IT band issue at first, I was able to turn that negative energy into developing a new plan that will still help me achieve my goal but by following a different path.
In life, there are many paths we can take. Some right, some wrong. Sometimes you don't know if they will lead you in the right direction until you embark on the journey. Be sure that you constantly reevaluate your path and have a plan in case one path doesn't work out the way you had planned.
Until next time...Happy Holidays!