I tried running less, more.
I think I know what is best for myself. I've kept extensive training logs since 2012. I can map out when I am going to get injured and how. I know that running 2-3x a week will keep me safe.
Or at least, that's what I thought I knew.
Last post, I toyed with trying something new; running more frequently to prevent injuries.
After all, looking back on my running logs, where did I come up with this arbitrary "2-3x week" rule anyways? It is not like that kept me out of the doctor's office either.
When my ankle surgeon gave me his blessing to start running, he told me to run a little bit, easy, every day. Up until that point, I had followed his every advice. He is bonkers, I thought. I ignored him, and settled into my old training plans.
But after doing some research, I think there may be something to his advice. When you run, you break down your muscles, and rest helps rebuild them. With repeat exposure, they grow back stronger to withstand the pressure that running can put on a body.
My doctor felt that I was not "re-exposing" my body to this pressure frequently enough, so each time was a fresh trauma. The idea floating around the Internet, and apparently the doctor's office, is to run less mileage, more frequently.
So, for the last two weeks, I've been putting this idea to the test.
What I did
I have run 9 of the last 12 days. With the exception of a track workout last night, these have all been slow, easy, low miles. You can stalk me on Strava for details.
My rest days were used for stretching, icing, and of course some rock climbing.
Before and after every run, I performed dynamic stretches. I also foam rolled (who am I?!).
How it went
Really really well. Honestly, I feel amazing. And so do my legs.
My first couple of weeks back at running, each run felt like the first run all over again. Now, I feel like I am actually building up strength from the previous workout. The little shake-out runs of 1-2 miles feel like they may actually be helping flush the soreness from my legs.
Most importantly? Nothing hurts that shouldn't.
I think the solution is somewhere in the middle. Running this frequently feels really great. But throw in more speed workouts and longer double digit runs? I might crash and burn.
I suppose it comes down to balancing duration, frequency, and effort. Something I am going to continue to experiment with. At this point in my life, where 'easy' is king, this seems to fit.
My biggest takeaway actually has less to do with running frequency and more to do with preparation. I love dynamic warm ups. I am convinced that warming up and cooling down with dynamic stretches has just as much, if not more, to do with a successful run. My hips are open, my calves feel comfortable. Miracles.
All in all, I am glad I tried running this way. I feel strong, confident, and lucky to be able to get out there this often. I am going to try and keep it up, but without pressure. Do some yoga, get in some strength, and feel out my runs from there.