The Comeback: Building a Base After Injury
The time spent injured and unable to run is filled with dreams of how great it will be to get back out the door again. And even though your heart is nearly exploding with joy as you lace up your shoes for the first time, the reality is the comeback has just begun.
Coming back from injury takes time and patience. Even though you just want to jump into it and get after it, doing too much too soon will only cause your injury to come back. In other words, be prepared for a little more frustration.
How quickly you can come back will depend on how fit you were when you got hurt, how long you were out, and how well you were able to maintain some aerobic fitness during your injury.
The most recent injury I had was a doozy. I had a stress fracture in my sacrum and my pelvis at the same time. So that was a negative. But, I was fairly fit when it happened, which was a positive. I only cross trained 75 minutes a day during my injury. Enough to get the blood circulating and break a sweat, but also short enough that my body was able to continue to progress in the healing process everyday. I was out for roughly 10 weeks, and ironically it has taken about 10 weeks for me to build back to full volume.
Full volume for me right now is 100-105 miles a week with another 80-100 minutes of cross training. I am finally there, after slowly and cautiously building up over the last 10 weeks. Some weeks I made more progress than others. The first 6 weeks I added about 5-8 miles a week to my routine. But once I hit 90, I slowly added just 2 or 3 miles at a time. Even though I feel great, I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything that broke the camel's back, or mine.
Now that I am up to full volume, I have started some basic workouts. But mostly this is a base phase. I do some harder work three days a week, but the focus is on quality running, at my full volume, getting a stronger base as the weeks tick by. I’m feeling good. And I’m thinking that a fall marathon is getting more and more realistic.
Remember, base is important for the marathon. But also as important, is taking the time to get to that volume. If you are hitting full volume and feeling miserable, than you are not recovering enough and benefiting from the work. Give yourself the time, and the patience, to build a comfortable base that will get you started on a great marathon training cycle.
COMEBACK MARATHON WORKOUT
After you've ramped back up to comfortably running your ideal weekly base mileage, it's time to start incorporating some turnover and pace work. This is a great early workout to add to the mix as you remind your body what it feels like to hit that goal marathon pace and push a little harder.
20 min warmup
6 x 5 min at goal marathon pace; rest 5 min of easy jog
10 min cooldown