Running toward recovery

The weather is 50s-60s almost everyday, ideal for running. You don’t need to layer on the clothes, and you won’t sweat like crazy. And I’m jealous as hell of all the healthy runners who can enjoy it. For more than a month, I’ve been slowly recovering from this inner calf thing and can’t run like I normally do. I’m a caged animal, (roar). Taking 2-3 days off doesn’t help much; the pain comes back after one run. Taking a month off is a last resort and I’m not at that point yet.

New definition for recovery from addiction has been released

Since December I’ve been training to shave 5 minutes off of my half-marathon time (speed up by 0:30 per mile). Every training session became a speed session and most likely caused my legs to break down. Whatever happened to fun runs, easy long runs, recovery runs, etc? With 3 weeks before the Brooklyn Half marathon, I needed a method to simultaneously recover quickly and keep my legs strong enough to run a half marathon.

1365710555_BROOKNLYN_HALF_2013_-_Google_Search safe_image

Week 1: 
No running from Monday-Saturday. Leg elevation and icing while watching TV or on the PC. Push-ups and planks day and night. Stairs, stairs, stairs! No more elevators. Kung-fu workouts on Wednesdays are still my #1 cross-training choice. As much as I wanted to get out and run on Saturday, I fought the urge. My apartment building has 6 floors, so I decided to go up and down the stairs 15 times (75 flights total) and do squats in the elevator while going back to the first floor. This became boring fast.


Sunday came and I cracked. Using my older sneakers, I went outside for a 4 miler. Yes, the distance for my “long weekend run” was incredibly short but recovery is key. I was able to “tune” my speed to minimize the pavement pounding force, which turned out to be an 11 min/mile pace. Good bye speed running but hello quick recovery.

Week 2: 
After work on Monday, I was feeling lucky and took a gamble. I went out for another 4 miler. Why? Well, if running shorter distances at a lower pace was working, then why not apply a stress test. The tuning pace was 10:15 min/mile, an improvement. Tuesday and Wednesday were rest days for the legs. Another 4 miler on Thursday evening with a tuning speed of 9:55 min/mile. The final test was a small race; the NYRR Japan Day 4 miler.


NYRR Japan Day 4-Miler @ Central Park
May 12th, 2013. 57 degrees
4,796 finishers
Results: 8:13 pace, 1400 place, 71% percentile, (C-)


Well, maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Another 4 mile loop in Central Park. This may have been the first time where hundreds of runners would pass me by and I didn’t care. There I was, not racing during a race. The goal was to maintain a 8:15 min/mile pace while keeping the pavement pounding force to a minimum. Wow, I actually pulled it off. No PR, but it was a great victory nonetheless.

After racing at my target half-marathon pace for 4 miles, I decided to run home: Queensborough bridge and a straight 10k route down Queens Blvd. The verdict… much better than a few weeks ago. My confidence has been restored, the Brooklyn half race is still a go! I’ll rest my legs until then.


Training Report:
More like recovery training:

RunDate Distance Pace Comments
May 5 Sunday 3.93 11:21 So depressing, like a zombie chasing humans
May 6 Monday 4.01 10:13 Improving…
May 9 Thursday 4.12 9:54 The pace when I began running, lol.
May 12 Sunday 4.00 8:13 Jon is back!
May 12 Sunday 5.77 9:26 Still taking it easy, gotta save it for Brooklyn

Speed Jams (tunes to run that 7 min/mile pace):
Although I came nowhere close to a 7 min/mile pace during my recovery running, I recall Daft Punk and Usher keeping me company while running under the sun:

    One more time – Daft Punk
    Around the world – Daft Punk
    Harder better faster stronger – Daft Punk
    DJ got us fallin in love – Usher
    More – Usher

Random Thoughts
It looks like I’m finally recovering, and ready for a Half marathon and the 5 month NYC marathon training madness. Thanks again PDXrunningchick and Dominick for your ideas and suggestions. The next time an injury like this occurs, I’ll know how to deal with it. Although conceptually simplistic, running can become quite complicated depending on how involved you get. For someone who gets bored easily, running never gets boring (unless I’m on the treadmill). You could do the same 10K or 13 mile route every week and it will always be a different experience.

10 thoughts on “Running toward recovery

  1. PDX Running Chick May 14, 2013 / 1:06 pm

    This makes me happy. The goal is always to run another day! I’m glad you’re healing!

  2. Dominick S. May 14, 2013 / 2:57 pm

    Good to hear you are running pain free again, hopefully you are nearing 100% and good luck at your half. I have taken to trail runs to offset my issues and so far so good. As for running never getting boring…you live in NYC so speak for yourself!

    • sephiroth796 May 14, 2013 / 3:12 pm

      Thanks man. I’ve tried trail running a few times. I like it but my sneakers just take a beating. Eh, NYC might be overrated to non-NYers. I mostly run in my neighborhood, Central Park actually gets boring. What part of Cali are you from? I went for a 13 miler in San Fran and it was great.

      • Dominick S. May 14, 2013 / 3:17 pm

        I live in Pasadena…think the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl…it has a good mix of scenery, it doesnt get as boring as the suburb I use to run in. San Francisco is awesome to run, I ran the embarcadero on my birthday at 6am last year, one of the best runs I have ever had.

  3. Run To Munch May 14, 2013 / 5:10 pm

    Glad you’re healing! Good luck at the Brooklyn half!

    I find NY (or at least Brooklyn running) exhausting. Too many cars, too many lights, too many a-hole bike messengers.

    • sephiroth796 May 14, 2013 / 5:31 pm

      I agree Munch. Running in NY can be like an obstacle course at times, but it keeps me focused; exhausting but exciting. When that green light turns yellow and you floor it across the street… priceless. Or that car mirror you bump into by accident and you run against traffic to outrun the driver, lol. The dogs without leashes are the worst!

  4. decidida74 May 16, 2013 / 3:43 pm

    Good luck in Brooklyn this weekend!

    • sephiroth796 May 16, 2013 / 3:54 pm

      Thanks, it’s my favorite race in NYC (haven’t run the ING NYC marathon yet). I really like your bucket-life and travel-wish lists.

      • decidida74 May 16, 2013 / 4:19 pm

        Glad to hear that you like the race, it’ll be my first time running it. I’m looking to waking up in 36 hours with my Brooklyn Half bib on. Wave 2 runners, look out! =]

        I need to update my lists, gotta add BQ and Ultramarathon on there since I plan to check those both off by year end!

      • sephiroth796 May 16, 2013 / 4:35 pm

        You’re gonna love this race. There’s a reason why is was sold out in a few hours with 25,000 runners. I ended up in Wave 1 so you should be able to catch up to me since you’re training to be an ultramarathoner ;). See you at Coney Island on Saturday!

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