Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Collection of Really Hard Workouts

Hey niggles!

Ok, we are officially changing that word.   It's just as bad as if it were faggle.  Henceforth, the term shall be....horcrux.  No....that sounds like it should be for a permanent terrible injury.  How help me.  New word, please.

Update on my niggle/horcrux/______: I took 3 days off running, at which point nothing really seemed to be changing, and so I did the brilliant thing and tried to run anyway. A little pain in the front of my right hip (what used to be the good hip), kind of feels like I just need to punch my hip back into place.  I've run twice now, and I tend to feel fine enough after about a mile of gentle warming up.  Only slow runs, nothing close to the tempo run I was hoping for this week. Buuuuut, something seems off.  Definitely a little off.

Anyway, in a paranoid and hopeless state, I googled the eff out of femoral neck stress fractures and other sad things.  I have no idea what a normal amount of running pain is anymore.  This could be a minor muscle strain, or a stress fracture, I have no idea.  I further self-diagnosed by buttcrease issue by reading Inspirunning's blog, and am convinced my chronic left buttcrease pain is sciatic neuralgia.  But if that was it, wouldn't my chiropractor's ART sessions have made progress?  Wouldn't I have experienced some back pain?

I'm frankly just overwhelmed.  There is too much.  Too much advice, too many possible diagnoses, too many unknowns, too many homework assignments.  I'm supposed to do yoga, and stretch, and strength train, and swim, and foam roll, and stand up more, and take this supplement, and take that supplement, and visit your chiropractor, and visit your physical therapist, and get an x-ray, and get an MRI or an MRA, and put my butt on a tennis ball, and run less, or run not at all (fuck that).  There are so many specific stretches and exercises.  I can't keep them all straight.  I have no idea what to do, I have no steady regimen, and the more options that get thrown at me, the more I don't want to do any of them (classic decision hater.  That's me).

Kind of makes me wonder how much I really care to fix it.  The more homework I hear about, the more I just want to simply run.  So simple.  Just turn off all the advice, and simply run.  Or simply not run.  I don't want to touch this complicated long list of homework.

My butt is pretty much made of steel by now.  Or so I think.  I've done all the bridges and donkey kicks that were asked of me.  No real change in the buttcrease pain, which just kind of comes and goes while running.

So just to be clear: not officially injured, still able to run long miles comfortably, still something seemingly wrong with my hip/butt system, now sadly effecting the front of my right hip.


While I'm wasting away not running, I like to think about all those workouts I could be doing and have wanted to do but am not doing.

I invite you to: A Collection of Hard Runs to Try if You Dare.

I marked a lot of these from magazines, overheard them, or made them up.  They are all intensely difficult sounding, so I would be ecstatic to accomplish just two of these before a goal marathon.

  • I think courtesy of Kara Goucher: 5 mile tempo at marathon pace, followed by 5x1 mile repeats at half marathon pace, followed by 5 mile tempo at marathon pace.  (I will most likely never, ever, ever succeed at this.  Even getting through the first 2/3 would be amazing).
  • 15 miles at or close to marathon pace.  (This one might be overkill, but sounds fun and hard.  I would have to do it on a treadmill, I can't focus on pace for that long in a non-race atmosphere.  Nowhere near able to do this right now, but I think it's doable one day).
  • 16 mile long run, with 3 miles at faster than race pace.
  • 3x3 miles at half marathon pace-to-10 seconds faster.
  • 5x1 mile at [specific to me] under 6:00 minutes each. (this should be attainable for me soon....if I stay healthy...)
  • On a long run, sprint for the first minute of each mile AFTER you hit the one hour mark.  (I've done this before, it is not all that hard, but fun!).
  • Run one mile at 30 seconds faster than goal marathon pace, then one mile at 30 seconds slower than goal marathon pace; repeat 4 times. 
  • 2x6 miles at 10 seconds faster than goal marathon pace, 10 minute recovery jog in between.  (ouch ouch ouch! Love it!)
  • 1x1600m; 2x1200m; 3x800m; 4x400m; 5x200m; 6x100m.
  • 12x400 at [specific to me] under 80 seconds.

What would you add to this list?  Have you ever hammered out one of these?


My few miles this week have been with the Nike Air Pegasus 29.  In this color, since they didn't have black in my size.

"night blue"

Looks like purple to me in real life.  Pretty confusing, but the box says "night blue."

Not my feet, too lazy to take a picture, but these are the "night blue" in all their purple glory.  source

I bought them because I am hunting for a marathon shoe.  Or a great training shoe.  I don't "love" any shoe right now, none, all are just fine or whatever.  I tried these on and couldn't help it, they had to be mine.  They had to $100-Nike-style, never-ever-goes-on-sale-ever, be mine.   I do NOT consider myself a Nike girl -- I've always been resistant, ever since high school, since my mom taught me that you only buy things on sale.  I'm not yet convinced that they are an excellent running shoe maker, but they do have a knack for making the try-on experience so comfortable that you end up buying them.

They feel similar to the Nike Free's I have been wearing about once/week since the spring especially in terms of the glove-like fit, but with significantly more cushioning.  This is a plus for me, since my feet arches tend to sometimes get sore after wearing the Nike Free's on a hard run.

Since purchasing them, I haven't run hard or fast or long.  I did give them a whirl for a 13 mile run, and they really are plush and comfortable, not much stability, based on my phony understanding of the term.  No complaints yet.  If they seem to hold up to a little bit of speed, and a 20 miler, they may very well be my new marathon shoes.  


  1. I think we call sub-injuries "situations."

  2. Aghhhh, I know just what you mean! I had a ___ turn into a "something" and it's also my right front hip, and sort of into my quad too. Also loosens up after a mile or so. Went to a doc today who lectured me about running too much, said it could be strain, could be stress fracture, need an MRI and don't run. I've googled the hell out of this and still feel confused. (can't login for some reason)

  3. Standing desks are soooo 2011. It's nothing but hovering desks now.

  4. As always, I can relate. And also as always, I have ideas. One idea is ... are you constipated? Seriously.

    As for the list of crazyhard workouts...I've done that 5x1 mile thing...each 6:15 or faster (fastest one was 6:08) and it was one of the most exhilarating and satisfying and affirming workouts EVER. I would add a Moeser Threepeat :)

    1. threepeat! that is a good one to add.

      Not constipated, thanks for asking ;) The machine is working just as well as ever.

    2. my bolus theory still only applies to myself.

  5. Yes I just saw the orthopedic surgeon last week and he said front hip pain can = femoral neck stress fracture...which I know is horrible because it can lead to necrosis of the bone if the vasculature is messed up and can possibly require surgery. I don't have that, but your mention of your front hip pain made me think of it.

    1. I'm bracing myself for the bad news. This seems to continue to show up when you search for pain in the front of the hip. It showed up so suddenly....?

  6. That's a delicious little list of workouts. I could probably do like one of them.

  7. I've worn the Pegasus for years (I still have a pair of 25's and 26's, yikes). They are a neutral, cushion (12mm drop) shoe. So, pretty standard, old school, non-minimalist shoe. They last forever. I'm still running in a pair that is over 400 miles and they feel fine. I really did that blue/purple color - perhaps I need to look into them again (I've found myself drifting towards the New Balance 890 in the last year or so).

    I'm pretty sure I hate any track workouts over 800m. At that point they just suck! That Kara Goucher workout sounds like straight-up death!

    Hope your ________ resolves itself soon.

  8. So when you are laid up you fantasize about really hard workouts? That is a little like dreaming of hot fudge sundaes when you are fasting. If your new hip thang doesn't worsen while you run it is unlikely to be a stress fracture. Probably something boring like a mild hip flexor strain.

  9. Ooh, I like the sound of the long run, sprint for 60 seconds of each mile after 1 hour workout. I think I'll have to try that!

    As for the ____ (how about "jerkface injury" or JFI for short?), I have no idea what it is... I really hope it's not a stress fracture. It might be good to go to a PT and get all of your ranges of motions checked. Sometimes it's actually another joint giving you issues. (My right ankle, for instance, has given rise to right hip and low back pain.) Another suggestion (and I know this seems pretty obvious) is to check out your form. Maybe something about your biomechanics is contributing, like heel striking when you go a certain pace. Maybe get a friend to take a video? It doesn't have to be fancy.

  10. I hear you on all the shit we need to do to get/stay healthy. I'm just hanging on for dear life until the NYC marathon and then I'm taking a break. I think I need it... mentally. Worrying about injuries all year has been draining and annoying.

    I'm not sure about that hip pain... if you have good insurance an MRI is prob the way to go. Since I have a high deductible I haven't gotten one. Let us know if you find anything out!

    I have a 14 mile at MP in a 17 mile run on tap coming up... going to be a doozy!

  11. All those workouts sound like an invitation to the retaste zone.

  12. End of last year/first part of this year I had on and off hip pain like you have been talking about in your posts. Everyone had the perfect remedy for me which always ended up contradicting something someone else said.
    ...That being said, here is another opinion to add to your collection :) I think all the little 'extras' (strengthening/swimming/supplements/PT) all add up to help be a stronger runner-- but sometimes your body just wants a break. I took little under 2 months off running (fuckingsuckedballs) but when I came back I was healthy & **Fingers crossed** have said that way. Hope you get it all figured out lady.

    Love those workouts. My three favorites are 4X4min. hill repeats with 200 meter sprint at the top of each hill, 5X2 mile @ < than 1/2marathon pace and 10-15X 80sec. sprint with 40sec. jog recoveries

  13. Since I'm not quite as hardcore as you, I'll share one of my husband's recent workouts. I'm probably going to get the specific numbers wrong but it was very close to this: I think it was a 20 ish (probably 22?) mile workout where he did some miles, then 5 miles at 30ish seconds slower than marathon pace, then 5 miles at a "normal" long run pace, then 5 miles at 30 seconds faster than marathon pace. Sounded pretty barf-tastic.

    "Night Blue" should be called Indigo - that way it is clear it is fairly purple.

  14. I have no idea if your issue is even close to mine, but last Saturday I experienced a rapid onset of pain in what I will call the space between my pockets (between the front and back pocket if you were wearing a pair of jeans). The pain then started to radiate through my butt, groin, leg - pretty much all over my left side. I couldn't sleep on that side at night and was experiencing major pain whenever I stood up from sitting for long periods of time.

    Totally freaked out and figured it was a femoral neck stress fracture and that my life was over because the SF in my foot had just healed. Went to the sports doc yesterday and it turns out I have hypermobility in many joints. I also have a weak/tight rectus femoris, which causes the pelvis to tilt and subsequently places pressure on the sciatic nerve. He prescribed a month of PT and was upbeat about the prognosis.

    Weird thing is that I've been running for years and this is the first time I've ever experienced "hip" pain. I guess it was just a perfect storm situation after returning to workouts after 12 weeks. Reading this might be helpful -

  15. Keeping my fingers crossed that you are healthy and this pain is just a tweaked muscle or tendon.

    The Nike Pegs are my favorite shoe! I alternate them with the new Flyknits. I think it is interesting that you think they are similar to the Nike Frees. I hated the Frees! They hurt my feet terribly while the Pegs feel just right.

    Long marathon pace workouts are my favorite. I have yet to go over 10 miles at MP so far. I wish I had done 15 but I could never seem to fit it in. I also love to finish my long runs at marathon pace. It was SO hard to start but once you get in the habit it becomes second nature. Reading about that Kara Goucher workout makes my stomach hurt!

  16. love all of those workouts - think I'm going to bookmark this because I'm always in need of hard and fast workouts. I, too, have self diagnosed my high hamstring/buttcrease pain from inspirunnings blog and am having some ART done for the first time on Monday and praying it is the answer to this annoying tightness that has left my lower back tight.
    Hope you get some answers about your hip! So much to think about and do, there's just not time!
    I'm running NYC marathon then I think I'm going to break from long and work on short distance races and speed.

  17. Ps- I'm always in search of a marathon shoe, started running in brooks pure line, have the flows and the connects - LOVE them. Something to think about!

  18. Oh my! Those workouts seem harrowing (in the best way). Reading running blogs has opened up a whole new world to me. I used to y'know, just run and hope to god I lived through it. Crazy speed workouts blow my mind, but they really are fun!

    I have yet to run in Nikes. My first pair of real big kid running shoes were Brooks Glycerin. They were fine, but heavy. At the time they were heavenly because before that I ran in pay less sneakers. Yup. I'm classy, after that I got a pair of Saucony Kinvara 2s on sale and have never looked back!! I want to try other shoes, but damn, I gush over kinvaras. Right now I've got the 3 and I get a little giddy every time I put them on.

  19. Every time I read your posts I think "Hey, me too!!" I have had one aggravation after another and it is seriously getting very old. I can't keep up with all the things I am supposed to do to get healthy. I just wanna run (whining)! SO that is what I do. Yep, the runs are good, yep, there is pain after, yep, I will continue to run. I have the same hip pain and now yep, I am going to Google it!

  20. I wish I lived closer so I could help you with your booty/hip pain! :(
    unfortunately there are so many things that could be causing it, the problem could be remedied by something as simple as another damn stretch...or it could be something as ughhh as changing your running form...
    I like the color of your Nikes...I'm a big fan of purple running shoes! but I dislike Nike running shoes a lot. I wear the FREE's while at work, and I have a pair of flats that are Nike that I love (but I rarely run 5ks so they are NEVER worn)
    I hope you've been having a great weekend and are feeling better everyday!

  21. All of those make me want to puke down the front of my pants. Guh. Can I interest you in some swim workouts?

  22. The symptoms you are having, (as I am sure you know), can be SOOO many different things which I have found out. I too have been having really bad glute pain that went to tight hammy's, knotted quads, and then started affecting my hip. Like you, i can run through it, but my pace is WAY off, and I have to take it really slow for the first few miles.

    I didn't know WTH to do or who to see. But, I did finally get into a Chiro who works with a lot of athletes and is an Ironman herself.
    Even though I had no back pain, (other than normal stuff occasionally), my spine x-rays showed some de-compression which was causing my nerves to be all sorts of effed up. The muscles in my left side are always firing, and my right..not so much. Everything was so tight that it has pulled my hip out a little, and I had a significant discrepency in my leg length. I I have had only 3 treatments thus far, and while my glute pain is still there, ( i mean really, i've had this issue going on 2 yrs so it's not going to go away overnight), my hip pain is already feeling better. I finally have hope!! Just wondering if maybe you could be going through something similar? It's such a pain in the ass!

  23. Ugh, I can completely understand your frustration. When there are so many options and solutions that are being thrown at you, how are you supposed to know which one to choose? I hope you find something that works soon though, or it gets better on its own. I don't want you to feel pain any more!


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