Recovery Week

Charles River Esplanade

Charles River Esplanade

It’s a little over six weeks until race day. My training for the half marathon has been going well, I’ve already done two long runs of about 10 miles each. “Pretty good!” I tell myself. But then I have to remind myself these two long runs were not easy and both of them were accompanied by hip pain that started around mile eight. I’m reminded to take it easy and to not make the same mistake I did a few years ago when I increased my mileage a bit too fast with weekly long runs in the 10-12 mile range interspersed with tough interval training days. Back then my doctor told me “You have an inflammation of the iliotibial band.”, a common overuse injury in runners. “Oh-oh!” I think. “Am I headed toward another four months of physical therapy, strength training and daily stretching?” I wonder.

Worried about another overuse injury I decided to change my training plan by adding a recovery week: no more than six miles per run, no tempo runs, no interval training and an overall reduction in mileage. In addition, I focus on strength training of hips and core and do daily stretches (yeah, I’m guilty of not doing those). This week is my recovery week. Earlier this week I did my usual two to three-mile easy run followed by strength training and stretching. Given that Spring has finally arrived in Boston and wanting an excuse for not having to wake up before 5 a.m., I decided on an after-work run in Boston along the Charles River.

View from area near the MIT boathouse

View from area near the MIT boathouse

Starting out in the Kenmore Square area, I’m thinking about all those runners who will be pounding down Beacon Street and crossing Kenmore Square just four days from today. Sometimes runners stop to have their picture taken with Fenway Park in the background. Just 1.1 more miles to go until the finish line in Copley Square! I’m thinking about the sweaty runner in the gorilla costume I saw two years ago. Watching the Boston Marathon is sight-seeing for the running enthusiast. Now, having finally crossed the street, Kenmore Square is behind me and it’s time to concentrate on my own run along the Charles river. I turn on the GPS application on my mobile phone. I head east on the Boston side of the river. I pass a lot of runners. I look at them, curious to see if I can spot an elite runner who is acclimatizing to the local weather here in Boston. I’m not used to so many runners looking back at me when I pass them. Most runners usually mind their own business. But not today. I’m trying to spot an Ethiopian elite runner or perhaps Kara Goucher. I see someone who looks familiar. I run past the Hatch Shell where the Boston Pops sometimes give concerts. I turn around near the Museum of Science where many Bruins fans pass me heading in the opposite direction to the Bank North Garden. I then run along the Cambridge side of the Charles River, passing the MIT boat house. The photo above on the right is near the MIT boat house. You can see the MIT bridge where I cross over to the Boston side of the river. If you look closely, you recognize the gigantic Citgo sign, Boston’s famous landmark in Kenmore Square.

The loop I ran today was about 5.5 miles. I can’t wait to cheer on the Boston Marathon runners this coming Monday. When they pass me and the other spectators in Kenmore Square they will have finished already an impressive 25 miles. It’s rare that I run that many miles in a single week! But who knows? Maybe my next goal will be to tackle a full marathon?


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