Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do I have to have limits?

This week I had my 6th visit with Jared at PT. Things are going very well and he is pleased with the progress I have made in a short time. Things are going so well in fact, he does not need to see me again for another week and a half, I think our time together is coming to an end. I am grateful that this knee injury was an easy fix and I learned a lot from my visits with Jared.

My limit? INFINITY

During this visit with Jared, I asked "what now"??
How far can I run?
How long can I run?
How fast can I go?
I am usually not one to sit back and be satisfied with "just a little bit" and I am counting the weeks to when I can tackle big distance again. The thoughts of Spring weather and long runs is getting this gal pretty excited!!
Then Jared said something to me that felt like a slap in the face.
"You don't need to run any long distances"
"You don't need to run more than 4x a week"
 My facial expression was screaming but! but!

"You need to decide, Jen-what is your focus going to be? If it is going to be triathlon and performance, you don't need to run more than 10-12 miles for your long run right now" (note: I am only doing sprint and Olympic distance triathlon this season and I don't have any distance running races on the schedule as of now).

This actually made me really, really sad. Not what I wanted to hear. I love my long runs-they are my therapy sessions. My escape. My ME time. I love my long runs!!
We talked in circles about this for a bit-me trying to convince him that long runs of 18+ miles are OK but essentially, I knew he was right. He explained to me that the chances of injury are going to increase with big distance and if I am going to focus this season on triathlon and it's shorter distance run, then I really should be on getting faster and building a really strong bike.

I will not abandon my long runs but I am willing to sub in a long bike as he recommended. I am willing to try the workouts he suggested. I have listened to him so far and it brought me to a pretty good place already. Plus, the guy is a genius (in my opinion) and an Ironman finisher so...he's gotta be onto something, right?

THEN he asked if I would be getting a triathlon coach. I told him that as much as I would like to, this was just something that was not in my budget. I explained to him that I had a couple of Joe Friel's books and with some online tools, I was creating my own training plan. He felt strongly that I would benefit from a coach, giving me the name of his coach and suggested I get in touch with him. He even said that he would probably be willing to give me some guidance for free.

I have been on an amazing journey discovering fitness and my passion for running and triathlon. But it's been something I have had to do on my own. No personal trainers. No nutritionists. It's been just ME. My own research. My own planning. Educating myself on exercise, nutrition, endocrinology. And it has been just fine.
Do I want a triathlon and/or running coach? SURE!  I would love some assistance to improve my performance, but help is expensive and I don't have expensive.
I would love guidance from someone who has been there and done that but that's not in the cards right now.
I hate having limits.
I want to run 20+ miles every weekend if I want to.
I want to ride my bike for hours on end on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
I want to swim, swim, swim.
I want it all and I want it NOW>
But I need to be smart about it too--So I can continue to improve and do so injury free!
But those big distances are not too far away...2011 will be a season of learning, developing better skills and techniques.
Oh and chasing some short distance PR's.
Watch out Dad. I'm coming to get YOUR 5k PR.
There are no limits on that, right??


Greg Strosaker said...

View staying within your limits but still making progress as the new challenge - you'll see things in a whole new light. That's how I've coped with a lengthy recovery from injury. By focusing on the things I can do - core work, diet - and finding the discipline not to run or cross-train, I've found a new form of satisfaction. Hope you find a way to balance the need to restrain yourself with the desire to grow.

Melissa Cunningham said...

great post jen!!!
just hang in there and get that body stronger and faster,and then build from there with the distance running. you have come such a long way on this journey,so dont let this little bump in the road get you down. i think its awesome you have achieved all of your athleticand personal success without a coach btw! i have done the same thing in regards to figure comps. dont have the $$$ for a coach,so i make do with research and trial and error...
anyways,justy hang in there girl,i know its HARD to have limits,but better to be smart and train smarternow,than risk more injury later....
im sure you will find solace and that "me" time on some long bike rides!!!

Eric said...

Jen- great post. I often wonder how many of us encounter, seek and strive to overcome these exact short term limitations. "this that does not kill us, only makes us stronger" Although my current injury is not the same as yours it is still placing me in your boat. Although I have a Sprint Tri, Marathon, Ultra and Century Ride on the books for 2011. I'm with you.

misszippy said...

I've been in your shoes before! I started out in triathlon but started really digging the running. Before long I found that I was skewing my training to fit in more running time, taking away from the bike time. So..I ended up making a switch to running only (using the bike/swim for crosstraining.) For me it was the right decision. I think that you can always take each season as it comes and go with where your heart is that particular year.

Kacie Darden said...

Super tough...I have also recently struggled with injury, and it is incredibly frustrating. I hope that you are able to build up to being stronger and faster than ever! I like your blog!

Heather said...

Jen, you have came along way and are def an inspiration to me! This time will pass just listen to the PT and I am sure that you will be back to running long distances soon. Just look at it as a way train hard on the other parts of your upcoming tri! GOOD LUCK.

Pauline Mayo said...

Jen, You are an inspiration to many. I too have changed many things in my life. My eating habits, running more, and cycling more. I never saw myself doing things like this. I agree w/ you would be nice to have a personal trainer but they don't come without a cost! I think if we set our mind to it, we can do anything. I noticed you are running the Run For Cash 5k, my son and I are participating too!

Colleen said...

I know you love your long runs, but I think he's right. Focus on the "shorter" stuff, and get faster! You have tons of potential! :)