2008 Training: Year in Review

Taking a look back at my training log for 2008, it is clear where I began my path to injury through over-training and lack of cross-training. By reviewing where I went wrong, it will allow me (and hopefully you) to avoid similar mistakes that may lead to common running injuries.

I started off 2008 strong. I was running at least 3 times a week — Monday with Adidas Urban Run Club, Wednesday with Nike Run Club and Saturday with my long distance running group. In January, I was logging around 20+ miles a week and feeling good. February brought similar numbers, but the mid-week runs grew longer consisting of 8-12 miles on Mondays and Wednesdays. March is where it looks like I hit my peak, logging 25-30+ miles a week with my pace decreasing in min. per mile. It was around April where I started to feel burned out and it carried through to May where for those two months, my weekly mileage dropped below 20 per week with some cases of shin-splints and heavy legs. (early signs of trouble)

With a full marathon around the corner in early August, I used the long runs on Saturdays as building blocks, but limited the mid-week runs. Here is where the problems came full circle and showed their ugly head... with my mileage increasing on Saturdays to 17-20 in a single run, I changed my mid-week runs to rest days rather than switching to a low impact cross training session. I could feel the strain on my legs and would feel the repercussions for the remainder of the year.

Post marathon I kept my mileage modest through August and September, logging 10+ miles per week. However, my IT Band started to bother me on some hills and longer runs early on and would limit my strength. I took the entire month of October off (minus a half-marathon 10/5) to see if I could recover through rest. With a half marathon in early November, I decided to walk the majority of it and try to avoid aggravating the IT Band. In order to recover from my IT Band ailments, I decided to continue my rigorous stretching along with use of the foam roller, but decided to start from scratch in miles. This is where I went back to the basics I was taught in my original marathon training program and began the road to recovery.

I started with an easy 3 miles one week, then 5 the next, then 8 and so on until I built a strong base. I worked in some cross training and light weight lifting to keep me fit on off days and now I'm feeling fully recovered from IT Band issues and slowly building up my weekly mileage conservatively. I should roll right into 2009 with high hopes for the year. By reviewing where I went wrong in 08 with over-training, I can learn to avoid similar mistakes with the new year. It's always best to keep a running log so that you can monitor where you are feeling strong and where your body may be telling you to ease up. I purchased a monthly desk-top calendar from my local dollar store and it works out great.

Here is to a healthy training schedule in 2009. Have any success (or stumbles) in 2008 you'd like to share? 

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