Mon: 4k, 3k, 2k, 1k at HM pace in 16:08, 12:03, 8:00, 3:50 with 4, 3, 2 mins walk rec. Total 16k in 72mins (av 4:30) - last chance to test the leg
Tues: 30mins elliptical + weights
Wed: 40mins easy - no watch (maybe around 5:00-5:30 pace)
Fri: 30mins run (av 5:38 min/km), painful + 30mins elliptical
Sat: 19k easy in 97mins (av 5:10 min/km)
Sun: 10mins run. painful + 40mins very easy stationary bike
Total about 50k of running
Miracle didn't happen, so unsurprisingly, I have opted to downgrade to Half Marathon last Wednesday. Earlier in the week, I still harboured a little hope of doing the full mary and did another test in form of repeats at HM pace. While I nailed the workout and the leg pain was in general, tolerable, my heart rate data shows that I had to work significantly harder (or maybe from lost fitness due to lack of training). As the injury is the anterior tibialis area (the muscle that lifts the leg up), my foot just didn't have any strength to push off hard My running gait was also altered, and I could feel the knees had to absorb more shock than usual. As it currently stands, there is no way the leg structure can last the full marathon distance, especially at sub-3 pace attempt. Another thought was just to run the marathon at a moderate pace, say to finish in 3h:15m - for another Boston qualifier (to make it 4 times in a row). But all things considered, doing the HM is probably the best option and will give me a quicker recovery and healing time.
Even for the HM, I am not confident I can run at a decent time. As mentioned above, I just can't push off hard due to the damaged ankle extensor tendon. Consequently, my stride lengths are also getting shorter (turnover still in 170s but shorter). This means I have to work much harder in order to run at the same pace. Anyhow, we are going there primarily for holiday and to relax.
So, there is no 4x10 for me (marathon stats at 7am). This means I will have to wait for another 100 years to finish a marathon at 10 on 10-10-10, oh boy :)
Although, this is disappointing, I am actually already looking forward to train for the next marathon. We have travel plans in Dec and Feb (3 weeks holiday in Europe), so there is no chance to run marathon in the first quarter of 2011. This means that I will also miss out on my favourite marathon, Seoul International in March. Therefore, it seems my best chance to run a marathon is Gold Coast Marathon in July 2011 (would love to run Perth, but unless if I can upgrade myself from a marginal sub-3 to a 2.55 shape runner, then Perth will be a lonely tough race especially in the last 10k). With this in mind, my priority for the rest of this year is to get over the injury and do easy-to-moderate training for fitness maintenance. I also hope all the hard marathon training from the last 3-4 months will not go down the drain! Starting in March 2011, I will start to train proper for GCM - this will give me a 4 months training window for the next sub-3 assault.
This training cycle has taught me some lessons. From now on, I have to focus much, much more on muscle recovery, such as religious stretching, foam rolling, icing, massaging etc. As I am nearing 40, my muscles have a lot of their elasticity and strength. Also, my training environment isvery unforgiving. My area (district 9) is a concrete jungle and the softest surface is asphalt and mostly cambered. I have to run 5k on concrete in order to run at a small grassy soccer field or 10k in order to run on the trail (I hate to commute in order to run). Also, the weather conditions cause the body to lose fluid and minerals rapidly (I am a heavy sweater), resulting in more frequent muscle cramping and tightening.
Another (funny) change that I will make is to limit myself to 2-3 pairs of shoes. I am currently rotating 6 pairs - all different brands and types and I had a f***ing hard time to determine which shoes that were partially responsible for the injury ! Because I rarely got injured (but when shit happens, it is nornally 1-2 months on the sideline), I became a shoe-aholic as my past experience shows that my foot is flexible enough to run with any shoes.
Anyway, the plan for next week is to combine cross training and a bit of running. I would say that my injury probably only improved by 10% since it first occured 3 weeks ago. This is driven by the fact I am still forcing myself to perform various 'running examinations' before giving in. This 'it aint over, until it's over' kind of thing was a gamble and at the end, luck decided not to part on my side. Now that the decision to pull out of the marathon is finally confirmed last Wednesday, I have virtually escaped from the 'ponderland' and can afford to forget running and focus on recovery. One thing that I need to figure out is how not to get sore arse from sitting on stationary bike !
My injury description is below and it says recovery may take a long time.