Thursday, November 5, 2015

Training Plan, Update and the PT news

First off, a quick update on the state of my bod and what I'm doing about it.  2-3 months ago I had a return of pretty significant upper, outer left calf pain and inflexibility.  It was quite bad and addition to making it difficult to run, the lack of flexibility/pain even began to impact my bike stroke (notably painful when my left leg was at the top of the pedal stroke).

I was convinced that this was driven by my chronic left knee problems and with the blessing of my orthodoc I went to see a local PT for an evaluation.  He concurred it was a knee problem at the source.  He found massive imbalance between my left and right legs.  For example, my left calf was 2.2 cm smaller in circumference.  I had substantially less strength in all the major muscle groups of my left leg.  Clearly, my stride adjustments driven by my knee pain where now beginning to catch up with me.  My PT also offered that perhaps it was time to think about pulling the trigger on the knee replacement.

I put that suggestion aside and begin seeing the PT twice a week and was able to get some quick improvement in flexibility and pain reduction in the calf.  My fibula head was manipulated (was possibly putting pressure on my sciatic nerve) and a lot of deep tissue work seemed to help quite a bit.  I was also given a regime of strengthening/flexibility exercises all focused on my left leg to address my imbalance.

We also noted how swollen my knee looked and i returned to the orthodoc and he extracted 22 cc of clear fluid from the knee.  He then injected the first of my knee Eflexa injections.  I returned the next week and he took another 29 cc out of the knee (almost 2 fluid oz in total!).  He also decided to suspend my Euflexxa injections in favor of a cortisone injection.  This had an immediate and dramatic impact.  The swelling has not returned and while I don't have full range of motion it is now much closer to that on my right side.

I had re-eval yesterday and I have graduated to home care.  I'm much closer in strength on my left side as compared to the right as well.  My left calf is now just 1.2 cm smaller--more work to do but moving in the right direction.

More importantly, I easily handled two big days down in Shenandoah and have now had 3 50 minute runs where, while not fast, actually felt like I was running again--its been a very long time since that has happened!

Let me turn now to my overall approach to training and how things are going.  My principal focus between now and the end of the year is to get my body's baseline fitness back to the point where I can begin training as a long-distance triathlete again.  The key elements of my typical week look like this now:

- 3 days per week in the gym doing about 80 minutes of weights and flexibility work
- 6-7 days per week on the bike--most of it Z1 but 1 hard computrainer session per week focused at this point on VO2 max intervals (for example: 8 X 2 minutes @280-300 watts w/ 3 min spin)
- 3-4 runs per week (two 50 min and two 30 min)--some light fartlek
- 3 days swimming a week (now at 1500 yds/session)
- 1-2 sessions of trekking per week (2-7 hours per session)

I'll gradually build on this through the end of 2015.  I'll start adding longer AT intervals on the bike and begin to through in a longer (3 hour) ride every week.  I won't start speed work on the run until I get to California in February but hope to gradually increase my longer runs up to 90 minutes.  When the new year starts, I hope to be at around 10,000 yds/week and in the pool 4 times most weeks.

I intend to race a couple of sprints out in California in Feb/March to get back in the swing of things and then my first significant race in 2016 will be the IM70.3 at Oceanside.  I'm not super focused on going fast there but want to be able to comfortably and masterfully execute and complete the race.  Frankly, anything under 6 hours would be just fine.

At that point I will do a 12-14 week IM-specific training block and prepare myself to complete Challenge Roth on July 17th.  Again, my mission will be to comfortably complete the race--I won't be that concerned with my finishing time.  I'll sprinkle some other races in before and after the IM and see how competitive I can be in my local AG races.

I also will probably do a major climb in June (Kilimanjaro) and no doubt do a number 2-3 day trekking blocks down in the mountains of Virginia.

If all goes well and my body can tolerate the training and racing load I hope to position myself to try to qualify for Kona 2018 at an IM in 2017.  I'll be up in the 60-64 AG in 2017 and that will probably be my last realistic chance to qualify as I probably don't have too many more IMs left in me.

That's a long ways off and for now, I'm trying to get back into the habits of a structured triathlon training regime and so far so good.  It feels great to begin to feel fitness returning to my body after a full year away from the triathlon world!

1 comment:

Joël said...

Good to read you're getting back at things. I went through something similar last year, albeit less severe. Did 2-3 months of strength training with my PT, which got rid of the aches, but I still have a small imbalance between my left and right leg/knee. I continue doing 2-3 short (20min) strength/core sessions a week to keep everything in check. Keep it up!