TWO WEEKS?!

Typically, I am back at training on Mondays after Sundays off. Well, this past Monday, I still walked down stairs funny and very slowly while I was at it. I likened myself to a short, brunette Lurch in dress shoes grunting during my descent from my apartment complex to my car, Bolder Boulder lunch bag, full Nalgene bottle, and notebook in hand.

Maybe he had a knee injury too?

Maybe he had a knee injury too?

So I took Monday off.

I had a workout scheduled Tuesday morning with my great friend and personal trainer du jour Ryan – who, by the way, graced the pages of the Denver Post after a reporter attended a fitness class he taught at DU a few Saturdays ago – and I was curious as to what his assessment would be.

After a quick examination of my knee, he put me on a stationary bike and got me pedaling. As per his instructions, I pedaled for two minutes at a time, increasing the tension by one increment each time for about 8 minutes. “How does it feel?” “Good. I can feel it, but it doesn’t make me want to stop.” A few more questions and a mini lesson in the body’s recovery response to trauma, Ryan gave me his recommendation.

I didn’t like it.

I – a self-proclaimed nerd in running shoes – was given strict instructions not to run for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

Um. . . WHAT THE?!

That’s like bringing a chubby kid to Hersheypark and telling him he can’t eat any candy. Like a teacher not calling on the little girl in the front row nearly jumping out of her seat as she waves her hand in the air to answer a question, the answer to which no one else in class knows. I didn’t like it, not one bit.

I’d rather try to find meaning in a Pauly Shore movie (Movie reference, anyone? Hmm?).

Did I mention that I didn’t like it?

After knowing Ryan for 4 1/2 years, it was the first time I’ve ever wanted to argue with him. Two weeks? I CAN’T do that! I start speed work this week – I CAN’T miss any speed work!

As much as I didn’t like the sound of that, he may be the only person on the planet to whom I would listen. In the time I’ve worked out with him, I’ve developed the strength to do things I never would have guessed possible. When I tweaked my (other) knee a few years ago, I followed his exact instructions to a tee and regained full use of my knee. Ryan’s never steered me wrong before, and I knew that he never would.

Ugh, fine! Hurry up, little knee. You’ve got two weeks!

And so, my knee rehab began. Last night, instead of hill repeats at Mt. Falcon Park, I hiked up and down the first mile of the Turkey Trot Trail while JD ran up and down our regular route. In the time he climbed about 1,900 vertical feet in eight miles, I managed to get in 1,486 of elevation gain in five miles, to break a sweat, and to feel a little burn. Huh. OK. Not too shabby for not a step run!

And, tomorrow, I’ve got a pool workout planned to mimic my speed work. In fact, I was quite pleased to find an article in the July 2013 issue of Runner’s World Magazine that validated exactly what I was planning to do. According to Jeff Galloway, runners can mimic a speed workout by shortening the stride, quickening the turnover, moving legs faster, and keeping the duration of effort and recovery the same.

Here’s what I came up with:

Hill Repeat Workout

Pool Workout

Two-mile warm up Run in pool for 18 minutes (equivalent to two 9-minute miles)
Run uphill for one minute 3-4 times, jogging back down between Run faster in pool for one minute 3-4 times, slowing pace between
Run uphill for two minutes 3-4 times, jogging back down halfway then   sprinting down between Run faster in pool for two minutes 3-4 times, slowing pace for one   minute then quickening pace between
Run uphill for one minute 3-4 times, jogging back down between Run faster in pool for one minute 3-4 times, slowing pace between
Two-mile cool down Run in pool for 18 minutes (equivalent to two 9-minute miles)

I’m on the mend and looking forward to my next run. And maybe, juuuuust maybe, I can convince Ryan that two weeks is too long when I get to the gym for our next workout on Friday morning. . .

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., conducts child development research and works to improve the lives of young children at the University of Denver and is a long-time road and trail runner. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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