As I heal up and ponder a return to training and who know’s, maybe even racing, this provides an opportunity for me to write about what’s it’s like to come back from a serious injury. Not the rehab part, or what the surgery recovery was like, but how one goes about gaining fitness again and getting into shape to get into shape to race. A here is where I was, here how’s fit I got and here’s how unfit I became after doing nothing for 64 days. This is a chance for me to put into practice on myself, the methods I’ve used successfully on many other athletes through the years.
Where was I? Out of shape was where. Racing and training had ceased. There was still some running and riding going on but it was more to see the scenery instead of trying to rack up TSS or miles. More about getting out of the house to mountain bike with the neighborhood guys instead of trying to nail a solid 40k TT.
My SOP is not to follow a calender year for anyone I coach unless it works out that way. Training years can end or begin in October, July, November it really doesn’t matter. What matters is where the races fall and what the work required needs to begin. In early December I decided I’d give myself 8 weeks to see if I wanted to race again. I started training on December 17th. My TSS/d that day was 15.4 and includes only biking and running as do all future references to TSS/d. That’s pretty low and it means you’re going to go pretty slow if you have to race.
I looked at my first races and decided that swimming could wait. That I needed to run and be consistent with that and ride some. I was going from 1-2 runs per week up to 5 to 6. After a few weeks of that I started to ride more. In 17 weeks I swam 40950 yards, rode for 155 hours covering 2690 miles and ran for 85.5 hours covering 675 miles. Out of the two early season races I planned I didn’t get into one of them. The other was Leadman Tempe where I managed a respectable 12th overall and 2nd in the M40-44 age group. Leadman Tempe was 15 weeks into it and in that 15 weeks I took 12 days off. That’s 12 out of 105 days. Consistency is king. Remember that.
By the end of the 17 weeks I had gotten my TSS/d up to 80.4. I had worked out a total of 182 times. In that time I ran about 12 miles over threshold and raced 8 in a triathlon. The rest was just running. Most of the riding was just riding although I did climb Mt. Lemmon a couple of times to the top and spent a lot of time on the lower slopes.
And then the accident. Followed by surgery and recovery. 64 days of doing little exercise, really no exercise or anything that resembles training or keeping any sort of fitness. I’m not sure you can count walking the dog for up to 2 miles and doing some hikes as exercise. Rarely did I break a sweat during those walks and hikes. But my kill/death ratio in Halo improved to 1.25. That’s not going to help you complete a triathlon though.
And now the first steps to getting back into shape. I can’t ride a bike yet, swimming is out of the question unless I want to give the lifeguards something to do. So it’s running. On hilly terrain. I’m two runs into it and my quads are killing me from the downhills. You know the kind of sore where you’d rather not go to the bathroom if you have to sit down sore.
I’ve sat and thought about the plan to get back into shape. The first week to 10 days of running are just going to be runs up to 20 minutes. After that I’m going to start adding in doubles to increase my frequency and volume. I’m not sure how much running my shoulder can take and I suspect some days will be better depending upon how much pounding. More pounding = more pain in the shoulder. More running achieved through more bouts not more running is the goal. If that means 10 runs of 10-15 minutes each instead of 5 runs of 30 minutes so be it.
So the first rule to follow is consistency is king. The second rule is being a hero means you’re being a zero. In other words no epic workouts that cause me to have to sit out a day. The third rule is when in doubt, don’t. That means if you think but aren’t sure more is more it’s probably not, at least not in this case.
Hopefully in the next week or so I’ll be able to get back on the bike. How long can I ride I don’t know. It’s all dependent upon the shoulder, how much pain there is and how much can I tolerate.
I’ll update this weekly, at least that is my goal.