The marathon post-season is a weird time. On one hand, if you've had a great race you are reveling in your accomplishment and daydreaming of hitting the roads again so that you can set another PR at your next race (which is sure to be awesome, since you are on a roll). If you've had a bad race, you are eager to start training again as soon as possible so that you can seek redemption for the crappy race you just had. You can't wait to get back out there and burn up the roads as you attempt to erase the memory of the last race and replace a bad result with a shiny new PR.
Now at the tail end of week two post-race, I find myself somewhere in between these scenarios. I'm very happy with my race and my new PR, but I must admit I'm eager to get back to training so that I can continue to chase the sub-3 goal. That and I think I've overdosed on sugar and all the bad-for-you foods that I've been enjoying in my post-marathon weeks.
I do really enjoy this time of looking ahead. Safely ensconced on my couch, wine glass in hand and laptop open, I'm full of big plans to build myself into a stronger, better, faster runner for next season. I'm googling extra hip abduction exercises, contemplating ordering a rocker board, and planning to add form drills to my post-run routine. It's easy to armchair quarterback all of these things. A tiny niggle of doubt will creep in ("but Jen, how will you fit this stuff in on top of your normal schedule?") but I find I'm surprisingly good at not focusing on that tiny detail. In reality, I know that it won't be easy to add things to my routine. It's already challenging enough for me to keep on top of foam rolling and post-run nutrition! But I've successfully managed to get into the habit for both of those, so I'm hoping that with the same level of commitment and dedication to creating a new habit I might be able to add a few new strengthening exercises to my schedule for this upcoming season.
Here are a few things I'm hoping to improve on this season:
1) Hip strength: A quick glance at some of the photos from my last marathon reveal that I'm still badly dropping my pelvis during the single leg stance phase. (also the reason I came away with chaffing on the inside of my knees!) I have been diligently doing clam shells, lying side leg raises, hip hikes and "monster walks" with a band, but I may need to add in some additional exercises to try and strengthen these muscles even more.
2) Form drills: I have had great intentions to do these each season and have yet to actually follow through. Part of it is that I don't want to get up any earlier than I have to, and while these only take 10-15 minutes, that's an additional 10-15 minutes that I could be sleeping in my nice warm deliciously comfortable bed. I'd like to try and (finally!) add them in after at least 2 runs a week.
3) Shoes: The most minor (but most fun) item on this list. I'm hoping to try and move into a more lightweight trainer/racing shoe for my next marathon or half marathon. I know it'll be a gradual process to transition into it, and it may take me more than a season. But I'm planning to ease into it by wearing the shoes for some speed work or tempo runs before trying them in a shorter race or two. If all goes well, I'll try them in an upcoming half marathon.
That's it for now - no huge changes, but hopeful that if I can successfully build some new habits it'll make me into a stronger runner and help me stay injury-free.
I'll be slowly easing back into running this weekend, and next week will begin running every other day or so. Up next, it's the fall marathon short list :)
Anyone have a favorite exercise for hip strength? Do you find form drills help? Favorite lightweight trainer/racing shoe for the marathon?