Thursday, March 3, 2011

How To Get Out Of Doing A FAST Workout

Listen up kids, because I'm only going to explain this once.

You probably think, based on my past blog entries of torturous FAST workouts and begging for mercy and being abused by my coaches that there is just no way to get out of doing a FAST workout; that the coaches hold guns to our heads and make us run til we pass out. But this is not true! There is a way to be exempt from the insanity. And it's oh-so-simple!

Get injured.

That's right. You see, our coaches take injury very seriously. If something hurts or doesn't feel right, they will actually tell you to not do the hard workout. I learned that first-hand this week. And you know what?

Not doing the hard workout is BORING. I want to do the hard workout!

Now, you all may be wondering how I managed to get myself injured enough to get out of a FAST workout. Suffice it to say, I'm a big klutz. During my long run last Sunday, I slipped on a patch of loose gravel less than a mile from the end of my run, and took a pretty nasty spill on hard pavement. I ended up with a bloodied knee (even with two layers of pants on), two twisted ankles, and a strained left quadricep. I didn't realize my quad was strained until a couple days later, when my ankle pain went away. But when I could hardly bend my leg and my thigh felt like it was made of stone, I knew I was in trouble.

I decided to test the waters on Tuesday with an easy 5 miles outside on the golf course. What should've been easy actually felt quite difficult. My legs had no get-up-and-go. It felt like my legs weren't even working together. I ran my 5 miles at a slow 11:16 average pace, but felt like I was working much harder than I should have to for that pace. I doubted I would be in any better shape for FAST the following night.

So when I arrived at FAST last night, I told Coach Brad about my little accident and my quad issue, and he immediately instructed me to not do the hard workout, but to just run easy instead. The workout I missed was a good one too. In fact, this is the second time I have missed out on this particular workout. The first time was while I was tapering for the Icebreaker Marathon.

The workout-I-didn't-do consisted of 3 x 10 minutes of alternating 1 lap hard, 1 lap easy. In between each 10 minute set, there was a 1-minute core exercise and a 1-minute recovery. According to the FASTies who have run this workout, it's tough. And I believe them, because I've seen them do it and they look like death by the time they're done. Cute death (because us FASTies are cute), but death all the same.

I love a good tough workout, and I'm bummed I've missed out on it twice. But you guys know me; I will make this workout up at the next possible opportunity.

Instead of alternating hard and easy laps for 10 minutes at a time, I ran 10 minutes at a steady, moderate pace. I ended up running a total of 6 miles for the night, at a 9:57 average pace (including warm-up and cool-down), and I felt better overall during this run than on my Tuesday slog. I stretched my quad extra-good afterward and it seemed to be a bit more mobile than before.

Fast-forward to today and my quad is feeling even better still. There's some residual stiffness, but it's much less than yesterday, and my range of motion is improved. I went for a run on nearly the same golf course route that I ran on Tuesday, and was able to run 0:55 per mile faster, for an average pace of 10:21. It appears that running is curing my injury! Now, I don't recommend this approach for every injury. The main point to remember is that my injury wasn't caused by running. It was caused by falling. So the best way to recover from a falling injury is to simply avoid falling again. I have managed to avoid falling since Sunday *knock on wood*, and I think this has been key to my success. My knee still looks like someone took a meat tenderizer to it, but otherwise, I'm mostly recovered.

Now the next three weeks will be a test, as I will be uncoached and unsupervised. I don't know what to do with myself! As someone who coaches other people in running, I find it odd how much trouble I have putting together a training schedule for myself when it's so easy for me to do it for other people. Maybe it's just more fun to tell other people what to do. I think all of my coaching clients will agree that I do seem to take sick pleasure in telling them what to do. It's just not the same to tell myself what to do.

So, who wants to boss me around for three weeks? Any takers? I would be willing to pay for quality coaching with homemade cookies. Please submit your qualifications and a sample training plan in the comments below. And also your favorite type of cookie.

Peace. Love. Train.

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