With many of the big fall marathons in the rearview mirror, a lot of people are tossing out their ideas about recovery and the best way to go about it. While everyone certainly takes a different approach, there are a lot of folks out there who (not-so) secretly believe that their way is "the best way" and will try to convince you that it will also work for you. Here's the thing: you may have run the exact same time or pace or slower/faster, but your legs are yours and only yours. Do what feels right for you, not what someone else is preaching.
That said, I decided that last night was the night to get back out there and get moving. I haven't run since the big day and have only been swimming and doing core work alongside my knee rehab strengthening. The mental and physical break has been great. At the end of last week I was jonesin' for a run, but I wasn't going to let myself back out too soon again. I got injured by running too soon after my last marathon and ended up sidelined for 6 weeks. Friday night I expressed my intent to run on Saturday morning and my husband promptly called me and said "no you're not going to run." I must have been one cranky bitch last time I got hurt. Instead I took a really (really) easy spin on the stationary bike and cranked out a solid swim before joining the Inwood runners for a celebratory pancake breakfast.
Last night, Tuesday, felt like the right time to try out the legs again though. Conditions were right, there was no rain and temps were warm so I headed out to meet my Inwood buddies for the first in a series of Tuesday night speed workouts. Obviously I had no intention of doing "speed" but I knew it would be great to see some familiar running faces. Captain T put up a few flyers around the neighborhood advertising the new Tuesday run and they attracted 2 new runners including a high school student looking for some way to keep herself active. We were stoked.
The workout consisted of a warmup, strides and intervals with a 200m recovery around a loop in Inwood Hill Park 560 meters in diameter. It's like having a large track with a small hill on one end. We consider it to be a topographical advantage. I of course trotted along at a super easy pace for the warmup and lagged way behind on the strides, but enjoyed the company. The nice thing was that J, the HS student I mentioned was running at my recovery pace for the intervals so I had company and so did she as we got lapped by the others. I tried my best to keep my Coach Amy hat off, but I hopefully provided insightful answers to her many questions, both running related and not.
I know I wont be able to fully participate in the speed sessions for a few more weeks because I need my knee to heal entirely, but I think these workouts are going to be a great addition to my winter running. I do love the Central Park crew on Tuesday nights, but having this so close to home makes a huge difference on those frosty winter nights. I can simply run home and avoid getting chilled on the subway ride.
All in all, I felt great out there. Running felt smooth and easy and I just felt right at home being back on my feet. I have no idea what my pace or mileage was, and don't care. I still plan on keeping the mileage really low and easy for another 2 weeks or so, but I'll be sprinkling a little more running into my schedule as time goes by. For now, I'm on a 3x week swim schedule and it feels awesome even though I'm having trouble finding my 2nd gear right now. It'll take time to get my swim speed back, damn you unforgiving water.