A long layoff for me, one without an injury that is, would be a week or less. This year due to the good fortune of being able to travel all over the place with my wife Nancy meant an almost enforced layoff of about 6 weeks. A layoff without much exercise at all. I felt completely out of shape and back at the beginning. I kept reassuring myself that ” when I get back I will put in the same hard work I always put in and I will be back on top”. Well after 7 weeks of putting in the “hard work” I feel close to being ready to get back.
This is how I know I am getting closer
1) On the longer tougher trail hills I am able to run the hills consistently and the effort is the same at the top as at the bottom.
2) I don’t worry so much about the Pottery Road that is at the finish of my run everyday. More days are hand claps at the top of Pottery Road hill rather then hands on hips. I can accelerate to just make the Dairy Queen traffic light instead on being thankful that I can ease up because I can’t make it.
3) I can concentrate on form rather than just survival.Everyday I work as hard as I can on quick feet and fast turnover. Touch the ground and immediately put the foot back down. Short strides – fast times. Also I work on staying on top of my strides. Trail running demands a stride where you are impacting close to the forefoot and not heal striking. Slow the pace down slightly to land properly and the speed will increase.
4) I have the reserves to ask my body for more.I can add more distance in the middle of a run. Also I have begun doing hill repeats each week which is a great sign.
Not all there yet, I can feel myself tiring and slowing during the latter parts of tough runs and I know there is much more to do. That’s what I mean by getting close to being ready to get back. I must now sharpen the edges and get stronger. I have to stretch out the distance. Another month and with good fortune I will give myself the opportunity for a really nice fall racing season.