Coach Joey's Corner: Injury, Cross-Training, & Fighting until the End

Training Update 3/4 to 3/10


o   AM: off

o   PM: 37 min elliptical with 10 x 1 min hard, 2 min easy


o   AM: off

o   PM: 30 min bike


o   AM: off

o   PM: 38 min pool run


o   AM: off

o   PM: off (some PT/stretching)


o   AM: off

o   PM: 60 min pool run


o   AM: 45 min bike plus 30 min core class  

o   PM: 60 min pool run with 1,1,1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1,1,1 min hard with 1 min easy in between


o   AM: off

o   PM: 90 min outdoor bike (23ish miles)

Week Total: Something

Very Tentative Racing Schedule

·         Hot Chocolate 15k 2/16 (1st in 49:14)

·         Purity Dairy Dash 15k 4/13

·         Grandma’s Marathon 6/22

Some Thoughts on Injury, Cross Training, and Other Stuff

Two weeks ago, I sat in a meeting staring at my watch. The meeting was going long, even though we started early. Too early to do the 20 mile run I had planned. I still had to run 20 miles, and shower (if I could extend my already late hotel checkout), and pack and catch a flight. Of course, I could’ve just postponed my Saturday long run to Sunday, but Saturday was the plan and I don’t like deviating from the plan. So as soon as it was acceptable, I bolted out of the meeting back to the hotel so I could start my run. I got it done.

Sometimes I like to look at my weekly mileage graph on Strava. I like making sure my training is consistent: A gradual increasing in mileage at the beginning of each season coming up to a relatively plateau during peak training. It looks something like this:


I’m trying to paint a picture of someone who’s a little obsessive about this—are you getting that? If so, you can imagine my horror at being diagnosed with a stress fracture in my foot on Tuesday, putting an abrupt STOP to my nice training buildup so far this season.

Since then I feel like I’ve gone through all the stages of grief. I’m training to try to accomplish a pretty low probability goal. And that’s if everything goes perfectly well. But now, what’s the point? Shouldn’t I just try to enjoy life a little instead of trying to force something to happen that’s almost definitely not going to?

So I stayed up a little late, did other things, didn’t worry about recovery or anything like that for a few days. Let me tell you, the benefits of being a regular person are not many. At some point on Thursday or Friday, the switch flipped. Maybe it was the realization that even when it’s not your day (or season?) you should keep fighting to the end anyway. Or an email from my coach that got me a little riled up and motivated again: “it just depends how badly you want it”. Maybe I actually enjoy putting in the work every day, even if it’s sometimes boring, and an injury to a very small part of my body (only a tiny portion of one foot is affected) really doesn’t limit my ability to exercise, even if I can’t run. So I decided I’d do at least an hour of cross training a day, and hopefully significantly more than that on most days.

I used to have this attitude that no matter what I do when I’m injured, I’m going to lose a lot of fitness. But I think that’s the wrong attitude to have. Consider Filip Ingebrigtsen, who got a stress fracture in his foot (we’re like brothers!) in 2015 and cross trained 4-5 hours a day to stay in shape. The result? He won the European Championships in the 1500 meters in July 2016:

joey 2.png

Those 4-5 hours a day paid off.

I have a friend and former NRC Race Team teammate (until he moved away ☹) who always seemed to bounce back really quickly from injuries. He’d be injured at one point and it seemed like a month later he was beating me in races! I’ve always just assumed he was talented, but I know that he also cross trains very seriously when he’s hurt.

The other day at the pool I met a running friend who was there swimming, and he told me of a woman he knew who qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon despite having to pool run up until 2 weeks before the race!

Obviously I’m drawing inspiration from random anecdotal evidence here, but the point is that I’ve decided to change my attitude on cross training and give this a shot anyway, even if it likely won’t happen.

So expect a nice update with some solid work every day next week. And maybe even a post that is little bit less of a random rant!