The New Normal (For Now)

Much has changed since September’s Ventura Marathon and my last real weekly training update at that same time. Um, thanks injuries?

Prior to getting injured, the post-marathon plan was to reduce my mileage, since my next goal race was a half marathon, and finish out my strength sessions with Trainer, which perfectly timed out for the Santa Clarita Half in November. Note, however, that I intended to go balls out in training even at reduced mileage because I hoped to PR — Santa Clarita was not just a planned training run. After that, I hoped to take a breath and embark on my late November vacation before jumping into marathon training for February’s Surf City Marathon. Basically, there would be no training hiatus save for my annual Thanksgiving break.

So…yeah, none of that happened.

After a fantastic recovery week in which I was able to run 18 miles, including a ten-mile run (Hurrah!), I was hit with piriformis and TFL issues. Gah!

Alas, two days into my second week post-marathon, I felt that pain in da butt, and the rest is history. Once again, I was the “victim” — or lazy lady who laughed off cross-training and was now paying the price for it, depending on your POV — of inactive, weak, and overall sorry glutes. The butt pain shifted to the hip/pelvic region (TFL) but basically all of it stems from dat ass. Since then, I’ve had to basically either stop running or run minimally, meaning my highest mileage week since that first recovery week post-Ventura has been 20-21 miles.

But it hasn’t been a relaxing ten weeks since I hopped off The Training Plan Treadmill. Nope, instead, although I didn’t know it at the time, I have been establishing a New Normal.

Training was built around running. Five runs a week were the workouts set in stone. I hardly — if ever — missed a run, and most likely I only missed it due to injury or illness or travel.

Training is built around strength, speed, and agility/balance training. Obviously a large part of this is because I’m scheduled with and paying someone, but rather than choosing to fit in these sessions when I can, all other workouts INCLUDING running revolve around these sessions.


Stretch and foam roll a few times a week, as needed.

Stretch and foam roll five-plus times a week. Not only is this an almost daily part of my routine, I have added more stretches and extended my rolling time to deal with my gimpy hip.


Preparation for a run consisted of lacing up shoes.

Before most runs (I probably miss one a week), I do a 15-minute warm-up of dynamic stretching and drills to loosen up my body. Stuff like walking on my toes, lunges, bounding, butt kicks, etc.


Ice bath once a week after a long run that is over fifteen miles.

Please don’t tell the California water authorities, but I take a bath at least once a day about five times a week. This is something Trainer shared with me re: body maintenance, and it has helped more with my recovery than compression socks or even the compression boots. Depending on the type of workout I do in the morning, I may take an ice bath post workout regardless if it’s a long run or not. In the evening, after stretching and rolling, and again depending on what I did that day, I take a warm Epsom salt bath. O.M.G. This is by far the best part of my day, y’all. I chill out in that tub and my body just goes “Yaaaassss.” My muscles and brain are relaxed for a good night of recovery sleep, and I wake up way less sore and able to take on more training.

This new normal is quite the surprise. I was pretty content with my routine and not looking to change it, but working with Trainer has made me hyper conscious of all the non-running tasks that must go into running.  Honestly, the fact that I am still committed to training with him is strange in itself…Yet here I am still going three times a week, partly because it’s interesting, but it’s the results that have me hooked.

In eight weeks, I’m now strong enough to handle 20-plus miles on a midfoot strike, something I’ve tried for three years to pull off on my own but was never able to do. The range of motion I have in my exercises has increased, and I feel great (sans touchy hip of course). So while this butt/hip issue has been annoying and trying mentally, the bright spot is that it finally forced me to stop running long enough to try a new route, one that I believe gives me a better chance at reaching my running goals.

This New Normal will continue until the end of the year, afterwhich I’m hopeful that come January 2016, I’ll be adding on that mileage (please oh please). At that point Old Normal and New Normal will have to spit out a completely different game plan and who knows what that will look like, but so far this unexpected turn of events has produced positive results, leaving me curious and open to see what that next will look like. So while I started this post by saying it with a question mark, I’ll end it this way: Thanks, injuries.


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