Cramming is never a good idea. Moreover, it’s usually a direct reflection of other poor decision-making from your recent past. I’ve had my share of unnecessarily stressful finals weeks with the only real consequences being exhaustion and a better grade than I probably deserved. Cramming when it comes to running is just downright STUPID. And, as I’ve seen recently, results in injury and re-injury. Can I really be that dumb twice? Oh, yes.
With a little more than 2 weeks to go until the masters exhibition race at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, a day in Eugene is looking more like a reality for me. My seed time is currently 4th on the list, so as long as 8 people don’t run faster times before the qualifying window closes on Saturday, I should be good to go. This was one of my big goals for the year, and yes, the first accomplishment will be to qualify. But I’m greedy. I want to run well while I’m there. With that in mind, events of the last two weeks have been less than ideal.
I returned from the east coast two weeks ago fresh off a 5-day break and ready to start a solid segment of 1500m training. Though we rolled in somewhere in the 1 a.m. hour, I was up at the crack of dawn to push through a 9 mile run, and somehow strained my left quadriceps muscle. Since then, it’s been wreaking some serious havoc with my training. After spending a week trying to muddle through, Bethanee convinced me to get a massage. Confession time: I’ve kind of written off massage as a bit of a new-agey indulgence, something for the spa-going set or for elite athletes to go along with their agents and sponsors. Being neither of those, I’ve never seen massage as something for me.
Until now, that is. Is massage always like this? I think I’ve experienced magic. Matthew Timmons, of Cascade Natural Therapeutics, is a miracle worker. I hobbled in with a deeply cramped up leg and was just about pain-free the next day. Two days later I could run four miles without any sort of hitch in my giddyap. This was great, but I had lost close to two weeks of quality training. So what did I do? An interval workout the next day. With all the time off I was supposed to ease into it.
It went something like this:
2 x 400m @ :83
2 x 400m @ :78
1 x 800m @ 2:44
1 x 800m @ 2:40
2 x 400m @ :79
2 x 400m @ :78/:77
1:30 recovery after each 400, 3:30 recovery after each 800m.
It was great. Until the next day, Tuesday, when it wasn’t. Remember how cramming is a bad idea? I do too… now. You need at least a few solid training runs before attempting any sort of speed work. Two runs totaling 6 miles? Not nearly enough. Today it was another massage, tomorrow, remedial running if I’m lucky. Don’t make the same mistake. Make your comeback slowly. But if you do succumb to the cramming temptation, find a good massage therapist. This shit’s for real.