Month to month, I’m happy to say my training keeps improving in a very modest sense. I fell just a tiny bit short of all my targets for April, but I’m choosing to include today’s half marathon in my monthly running mileage, thus bumping it just over my goal of 80 miles for the month. More on all of this later, but it was a solid month that, due to my knee issues, was devoid of really any hard workouts at all. Earlier this month, the MRI did, in fact, reveal two different types of cartilage damage in my knee. As suspected I have a minor tear in my left medial meniscus, a semi-circular piece of cartilage on the inside of the knee that provides cushioning between the tibia and femur. As a bonus prize the MRI also showed some early wear on the articular cartilage that lines the nubs of my left femur.
Racing for the month included 5 Peaks Golden Ears and, even though it’s not billed as a race, I’m going to call the Pacific Populaire an ‘event’ at the very least, since it was the longest ride I’d done in quite some time. If there’s really any issue to correct at this point it’s to get stronger again on the hills, as I’d like to be able to run more of the gnarly climbs. It wasn’t a goal of mine to run the ups at Golden Ears, but being stronger and not losing time on hills to the same degree will be a goal.
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I found I had to back my running off a little at times, skipping the odd run or doing 5k as opposed to 5 miles to preserve the knee. I’m going to keep that kind of flexibility in my training and I’m not going to worry if I have an off week. I also bought myself a new pair of New Balance Badderley 890 lightweight trainers. I love these runners, though I’d love them more if our higher dollar made them $99 here in Canada, as opposed to $120+.
As I indicated above, I am including the half marathon today in my monthly mileage. While it was nowhere near a PB, I’d done no interval or hill training during April, unless you want to call one trail run and one trail race with uphill power hikes training sessions. For some reason, though, I shaved a fair bit of time off the First Half in February on a tougher course and did my best half in years. I can actually envision a sub-1:30 half again and it’s been a long time since I could say that. The only different or new thing is the runners, so that must be what made me faster, though it’s also possibly the beautiful race weather and fresh legs 🙂
The knee felt pretty good throughout and now that I have a confirmed ‘double’ of cartilage damage in the joint, I’m really left with a condition as opposed to an injury. I’ll basically continue doing solid knee, lower body and core work to keep it strong, push it as hard as is comfortable and that’s about it. If it ever starts to swell or buckle with the running then I’ll likely go under the knife, but beyond that possibility, it basically is what it is. Icing it a bit after hard runs also tends to help so I’ll keep doing that.
I’m taking one week off running through next Sunday and then I’m hoping to put a solid seven weeks of full training before the Scotiabank half the last weekend in June. We’ll see if my knee holds up to increased training beginning on Monday June 9th. I’m still setting a 75 mile goal for the month, hoping to up my weekly mileage to 25 from the currrent 20, though it’s about the type and quality of workouts and not just about distance.
I set a goal of 15 hours of resistance at the beginning of April as I’d intended on doing a couple half hour sessions of upper body training in addition to the three weekly hours of core and knee work I need to do. However, very early on in the month I found this was just too aggressive a goal. I made a conscious decision to drop the upper body weights (at least for April) and revise the target to 12 hours for the month. I came up just a bit short, but I’m not worried, though I did a couple fewer sessions than I wanted, so I’ll make sure I address that in May. Other than keeping the core and knee stuff going, and adjusting the workout bit by bit to avoid a plateau, no major adjustments are foreseen going forward.
I had intended on doing more longer weekend rides, but only managed a bit of that. The biggest ride by far was the Pacific Populaire 100k and most of the rest of my mileage was made up of a few commutes, several trainer rides and a few stationary bike rides at the gym. The truth is I’m not concerned about this mix. The weather was pretty bad for April so I really didn’t get my commutes going very well yet, nor the regular weekend ride. I expect a few more rides in the first three weeks of May, with an increase in both weekend rides and commuting, while I’ll be out of town for the last week of the month. As such, I’ll keep my mileage goals for the month for May similar to those of April.
The main reason for such a cycling focus this year is two-fold. I’ve really only got one major ride left in September; the Whistler Granfondo. However, cycling doesn’t irritate the knee at all and, since my sportsmed doc recommended that I do as much of that as I like, it’s a way of keeping my fitness up without running to the point of putting undo stress on my knee.
Looking ahead to May
As I’ve already suggested, my goals for running and cycling mileage won’t vary much. While I’ll be increasing my weekly goals for both, I’ll miss a week of each so it should all balance out a bit. There’s a decent gym where I’m going at the end of the month so I should be able to maintain my resistance. There are no races for the month ahead, with the exception of today’s BMO Vancouver half marathon, so I’ll just focus on some quality workouts and begin training to get closer to getting back under 1:30 for the half in June and being stronger on the hills for the next 5 Peaks run, also in June.