15 runs, 6 days, and 57 miles—the bumpy road to Ozark Trail 100

I just completed 15 runs for a total of 57 miles in 6 days (Monday through Sunday with Thursday off). Why is that so great? As any runner out there knows, any time you get tendonitis…especially tendonitis in your knee…well, it goes with all the normal freak-outs…

What’s causing it? Why? Did I start running too soon after the 100? Should I be running on it? Can I run on it without pain? Ice? Rest? Crosstrain? WHY THE HECK NOW when I have a 100 miler in a month???!!!!

Yeah, you get the picture. So, what’s so great about 57 miles? No pain. One week ago…limping home from a training run…one week later…tempo run completed with no pain and a 57 mile training week done. I’m psyched, as my runs just a week ago were only 17 minutes or less (when I would start to feel the hint of pressure in my knee). How?

Mini-runs. I started doing this a few years ago with an IT band tendonitis after Miwok 100k and I had Bighorn 100 coming up shortly after. Two to four mini-runs per day and make sure you stop before you aggravate the issue. So, I made sure I stopped running before any pain would arise. Sometimes that means walking home.

And stretching. I also stretched every run (before and after) and at least 3 or 4 other times during the day. Being a fan of natural remedies, I took NO ibuprofen and only used ice to control any swelling, which ended up being only a handful of times…the first few days and once after a 4.5 mile attempted run that had me walking home the last half mile. Again, no pain—I stopped when I felt pressure.

I finally started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel late this week as I went from (ugh) three runs per day (ranging from 2.4 to 3.2 miles) to finally working up to 4.2 miles—yeah, when you’re running short that .2 matters. Once I got over 4 miles, I went to 2 runs per day. However, Saturday was the breakthrough day, as my last run (night run) was 5.5 miles and I came home telling my wife…”I ran five and a half miles, high five, baby! No pain, no pressure!” (Can you believe she puts up with such a weirdo?!)

Process of Elimination. One of the key factors was narrowing down through elimination the root cause of the maltracking. You HAVE to find the culprit. I knew it was tightness, but I was focusing on my quad when the problem was left hip and hamstring. On Wednesday, I had finally targeted the issue after talking to a yoga instructor (Thanks Tami), but it took 3 days to get on top of it with consistent stretching (I use a combo of active stretching techniques and modified yoga stretching, which I do before and after the run). I like yoga, but never have the time to sit down for an hour to do it (with training, business, wife and 2 kids). Once I started getting the hip to loosen up…BAM! Knee pain gone. I ran 7.2 miles this morning on trail and a 5.5 mile tempo on gravel this evening with no pain.

I’m pumped. I still have to be conservative for another 4 or 5 days on it and can’t slack on the stretching routines, but I’m hopeful I’m over the hump. Overall, my legs feel good, considering Iroquois 100 was 3 weeks ago. So, I’m looking forward to some good quality training coming up the next few weeks before the final taper for Ozark Trail 100. Giddyup!

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