Overdue for a break

It seems my ankle is finally failing on me and I had to decide to scrap the racing plans I had (Chilly Half and Toledo Marathon) and take a few weeks of complete rest. I considered cross-training through this but felt that I wasn’t going to get a better time for a break with winter finally arriving in southwestern Ontario. So, no running or biking for a few weeks but it’s for the best as it hurts just to walk or stand right now.

I’m not sure how long my ankle will need but I’m hoping 2-3 weeks of rest will do the trick. After that, I plan to spend 4-5 weeks just logging easy miles and supplementing with workouts on the bike until I’m at a comfortable volume of running.

Assuming build-up goes well, I’ll have 8 weeks before the Ottawa Race Weekend (May 28-29) where I’m hoping to run the 10K Canadian Championships. If by some miracle those 8 weeks go really well, I’d consider running the marathon instead but it will be a last minute decision.

US Olympic Trials / Vancouver First Half

This past weekend saw Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezgi, and Jared Ward qualify for the US Olympic marathon team. It was a good race and fun to watch a newcomer (Galen) have an impact and a successful debut. At one point while Galen and Meb were still am together, I thought Galen looked kind of haggard and Meb more composed but Galen left no doubt that he was the best runner on the course that day.

Meb surprised me. I thought maybe at his age (forty), he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the younger guys but he proved again why he’s called Mr Consistency. He’s truly an inspirational runner and I think of him whenever I wonder if I got serious about running too late in life. I had expected Luke Puskedra and Dathan Ritzenhein to make the team so I was only 1-for-3 on my predictions (I figured Galen was a sure thing).

We also had some elite Canadians running the Vancouver First Half but it seems the rainy and windy conditions were not conducive to running fast times so neither Eric Gillis or Kip Kangogo were able to run the sub-1:04 required to qualify for the World Half Marathon Championship. The qualifying window is open until March 7 (the day after the Chilly Half in Burlington where Reid Coolsaet got his qualifying time last year) so there might still be a chance for someone to get on the team but I’d be surprised to see Gillis try again with only 2-3 weeks to recover and it being an Olympic year (but that’s just my completely uninformed guess so who knows).

In three weeks there’s going to be a good group of guys running the Chilly Half. On the registration confirmation page, I see Tristan Woodfine, Robert Winslow, Dancan Kasia, my buddy Taylor Kraayenbrink, Lucas McAneney, Eric Bang, Thomas Omwenga, Robert Brouillette, and Matt Suda. Hopefully this mild winter gives them good conditions on race day! I really wish I could be out there to tear it up with some of these guys. Next time.

Anyways, here’s a recap of the last two weeks of my training. Racing is off the table for me until I can sort this ankle out.

Week of 2016-02-01

I dialled things back a little in the workouts this week to ensure the tendon was okay as I got back on the road after a stint of cross-training last week. I dropped the number of sets on Monday’s workout from 4x to 3x and while I didn’t really nail the workout, it was good enough and I was just happy to be running.

I was still a little unsure about the tendon leading up to the Thursday tempo, so I was ready to bail at any sign of pain. Thankfully, with a little bit of stretching and self-massage during warm-up, the tempo went well. On the weekend, I got in a 25 km long run and still no pain.

This week had my total volume of work back up to about 11 hours which is where I was roughly before the Boxing Day 10 miler. I’m back in the routine of doing my core work and drills which I had neglected the last couple weeks (partly out of laziness and partly because I didn’t want to add plyometrics while the tendon was questionable). It seemed like this week was a good start to marathon training.

Not bad trail conditions for February!

A post shared by Aaron Cooper (@cooperaa) on

  • M: Workout: 18 km run with 3 x (3′-2′-1′ hard @ ~3:04/km, 1′-1′-2′ recoveries) + 30′ core
  • T: 14 km run + 45′ bike + 15′ drills
  • W: 16 km run
  • Th: Workout: 20 km run with 40′ tempo @ 3:21/km
  • F: 60′ indoor bike + 7.6 km run
  • S: 25 km run + 30′ core + 15′ drills
  • Su: 15.6 km run with 12 strides
  • Total: 116 km running + 2.25 hours of extras

Week of 2016-02-08

I ran an awesome workout on Monday with my buddy Taylor but sadly it seemed to be the final straw for my ankle. The following day it was pretty sore and even after a couple cross-training days it was still giving me grief.

Today's ice bath compliments of yesterday's blizzard. #dontmindthemoaning #cantfeelmytoes

A post shared by Aaron Cooper (@cooperaa) on

  • M: Workout: 27 km with 5 x 10’/3′ @ (3:20, 3:20, 3:17, 3:16, 3:17) + 30′ bike
  • T: 45′ bike + 45′ bike
  • W: 60′ bike + 8.5 km run
  • Th: Bike Workout: 90′ with 20 x 2’/1′ hard/easy
  • F: 45′ bike + 10.5 km run
  • S: Rest
  • Su: Rest
  • Total: 46 km + 5.25 hours of extras

Week of 2016-02-15

I started this week intending to cross-train for another 3-4 weeks and just ride out this injury. On Tuesday I had an appointment with my physiotherapist and we couldn’t find any pain in the ankle or tendon even when putting it through more than the usual running range of motion. This got my hopes up so I got in a short jog and by 2 km my ankle was hurting and a day later it still hurts to walk or stand on the bad leg. Not a good sign. I’ve resigned to full rest until this ankle thing is behind me.

  • M: Bike Workout: 90′ with 30 x 1’/1′ hard/easy + 30′ core
  • T: 4.7 km jog
  • W: Rest
  • Th: Rest
  • F: Rest
  • S: Rest
  • Su: Rest
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