What to say?
In 2013, I went up, I went down, I went up again, I went down again, I held steady for a while, I went up some more, and then I went back down. It was a ride for sure!
January - I was getting fit, but I was hurting. My weekly mileage was in the upper 30's, long runs ranged from 10-13 miles, I was doing hills and tempos, and I was cross training a lot. I also start physical therapy this month for my ankle and quad, which the doctors decided was all soft tissue.
February - I was on my butt. I went with my gut and asked my doctor to put in a referral for a full body bone scan, so it would get my femur and ankle. My foot & ankle doctor and orthopaedic doctor's solution was not working. Bone scan came back positive for a stress reaction/ stress fracture in both my right ankle and left femur. No core, no cross training, minimal walking for the full month.
March - I came out of hiding and found my spot in the gym again (still not on the roads). I stuck to gentle cardio and upper body strength training. The cardio was very gentle and nothing with full weight bearing or high resistance.
April - I stepped it up a little more. This time I added full body strength training, higher resistance cardio, and walking for exercise. I was gaining confidence the healing process, which was my quickest bone recovery yet. It was also the first time I sat on my butt for recovery instead of attempting to cross train, etc.
May - I fell in love with Group X classes at 24 Hour Fitness. Cycle, BodyPump, Spin & Strength, and PiYo kept me in shape. I was still walking for exercise, I attended 1 to 2 Group X classes per day, and I even sprinkled in a couple 1 to 2 mile runs. You should also check out this post from May for a good laugh.
June - Back on the roads!!! I started the most conservative "return to running" plan I've ever done. And it worked! I started the month with only ten miles for the week and finished things out with 20 miles. I never ran more than two days in a row this month, and I certainly didn't have any workouts! Still loving my Group X classes.
July - This was my second month back. I made it up to 24 miles this week (still being very conservative) and I added a couple quality days and strides. This is the last month I did my Group X classes. My final workout for July was a 6M progression run which went from 7:50 down to 7:08.
August - Still just inching my way up. This time my peak weekly mileage was 28. My final workout for the month was another 6M progression run, this time it was 8:21, 7:41, 7:23, 7:09, 6:52, 6:40 (7:20 avg). I started seeing a Chiropractor for ART on my quad since it was still hurting. I also started using some nutritional products that gave me natural energy and reduced my recovery time.
September - I made another tiny jump in mileage, this time working my way up to a 31 mile week. My final week of this month I had a 5k race in some nasty conditions and ended up averaging 6:18 pace. It wasn't the most ideal return to racing, but you can read about it here.
October - Finally getting somewhere! Still only a minor increase in mileage, maxing out at 34 miles per week, but my fitness was improving. Final workout of the month was five mile cut-down where I averaged 6:47 pace! Still getting ART done twice per week!
November - I felt like a runner again! I finally ran six days per week! My peak weekly mileage increased by two more, putting me at 36 miles for one of the weeks. By this point I was doing two workouts each week, in addition to a relaxed "long" run. My last workout of the month was 4 x 1M repeats, for which I averaged 6:17 pace.
December - I had to remember how to listen to myself again. I started having hip problems early in the month. I switched to soft surfaces for all but one of my runs each week, but still had to take a week of rest at the end of the month. Regardless, my fitness was continuing to improve. I jumped all the way up to 50 miles one week, and my final workout was 5 x 1M repeats, for which I averaged 6:15 pace.
There you have it!
In 2014, I want to be a little more ambitious with my training, but I also want to be smart about it. Looking over my training logs from some of my most successful training seasons, I spent A LOT of time on the small things. Cross training for extra cardio, weight lifting to improve bones strength, core work and form drills to keep my stride efficient and healthy, stretching and mobility work to to help with injury prevention, etc. That's what I need to get back to.
Once I get past the healing stage for whatever is ailing my hip right now, I plan on getting back to the basics WHILE I continue following my training plan. These slow and steady increases in weekly mileage and intensity combined with the small things I just mentioned - That's my goal for 2014.
I won't be sharing any mileage goals or race goals because I always have high expectations of myself and you would likely laugh at most of the goals. I will say that it took me 15 weeks to get to my peak fitness in 2011, when I was prepared to run a half marathon in sub 6:10 pace. Seeing as I have 52 weeks ahead of me in 2014, in addition to a great support group and two extra years of experience, I see no reason I can't be back in that shape by the end of this year.