Since my last post, I haven't done much (any) training. Instead, I've been staying up late, reading lots of blogs, and taking it easy. On my walks to and from the parking ramp at work, I'll break out into a trot or a run, just to feel where my left heel is at with its repair. How annoying when it is when that familiar ache is still there. I had last stated that I would start swimming more and focus on strength training during this break, and that is still the plan. My biggest challenge in this is having the motivation to go to bed early enough that I get a good night's sleep before attempting to wake up for an early morning workout. I really am a nightowl at heart.
Cut to last night, Christmas Eve, and an early gift-opening for Meghan and I after the kids retired for the night. A brand new copy of "Daniels' Running Forumla", 2nd edition rested in my hands - which I periodically set down to sample the 15 year MacCallan single-malt scotch she also bought me (nummy). I had registered for the book on Amazon at least a year ago and still hadn't bought it myself. Being a scientist by education, a systems/support engineer by trade and a do-it-yourself geek by nature, I wasn't particularly excited about most of the training books out there. The authors tend to expound upon their years of experience, prescribing a "this is how it you should do it" schedule for runners of "Beginner", "Intermediate", and "Experienced" levels. I appreciate the simplistic distillation of all runners into three buckets about as much as I appreciate a bottle of Cutty Sark - i.e. not at all.
Coach Jack Daniels, PhD provides a different approach. Using past (and preferably recent) race performances, he rates runners upon sound scientific principles and capabilities, then prescribes training intensities that match their current capabilities! There aren't three buckets for all runners, rather a gradiation of scale that fits any runner. He emphasizes the importance of time and quality of workout rather than distance, and gives concrete principles for planning a season of training with a target performance date in mind, and the flexibility to change priorities when setbacks occur.
I'm quite impressed and have had a hard time putting the book down, except to plan for my "comeback" this 2012 season. Had I not strained my achilles, I would be out there now. Since I had, however, I've been pining about running and worried about taking so much time off. I know, you've all suggested I just take it easy, but worry is my nature. Daniels has given me a ray of hope, though, or perhaps just blew apart the clouds enough for me to see clearly a plan for the year. I have a week of vacation starting yesterday, and I plan on taking advantage of it to start focusing on not-running for six weeks - a honest-to-goodness core and flexibility plan to address my immediate weaknesses and establish a weekly focus and routine. The "running" I will permit myself is deep-water running, but that's it. The remainder of my work-outs will be focusing on continuing the PT and strength training of my left hip, core strength, and flexibility. I'll get some endurance work from twice or three-times-a-week swimming sessions, one long swim and one interval or tempo. We'll see how that cuts it. (Besides, I need to cut the 8 lbs I've gained since October!)