Rebuilding plan: my four key workouts

I’ve been back to running and other cardio for about six weeks post-wrist surgery. I’m getting to the point that I’m signing up for some 10K races—and paying more attention to my pace during my twice-weekly five-mile group runs. I’m still lagging a bit compared to where I was speed-wise, and the last mile of those five-milers still feels harder than it should.

It’s time to return to my go-to butt-kicking workouts, which I’ll share with you here. I follow the FIRST training plan, which endorses three quality running days and three cross-training days every week, and my key workouts have that training program in mind.

1. Speedwork. My go-to speed workout is 3X1-mile repeats at 5K pace, with 200-meter or two-minute jogs in between each rep. I did one or two of these on the treadmill earlier in my return to running, and I’ve done a few rough, slow 5Ks. Now, it’s time to run these workouts on the track, at my *desired* 5K pace.

2. Hills. I warm up by jogging the mile or so it takes to get to the two hills in my neighborhood seemingly made for hill repeats. North Portal Drive is about half a mile long, and has an elevation gain of about 140 feet, according to my Garmin. I run up it three or four times, then jog and wheeze my way back down. Roxanna Road, which is about a quarter of a mile, is much, much steeper (Garmin inexplicably won’t spit out the exact stats), and I run up it 10 times. The last rep is sure to feel closer to a set of lunges than to a run. Need hill motivation? You can count on a 10-percent increase in calories burned for each degree of incline when you’re running hills, Dr. Jana Klauer, a weight-loss expert, told Runner’s World.

3. Swimming for cross-training. I’ve braved my first two post-surgery swims by spending about twice as much time with a kickboard as I do swimming. The first time I swam, it felt like I was working with one arm and one rake. The second time already yielded an improvement: My right arm still felt like a rake, but a pliable plastic rake rather than the scary metal kind you use to kill snakes. My abbreviated workout: 9X300, alternating 100 meters swimming (free and breaststroke) with 200 meters kicking, in IM order.

4. Finally, the long run. I’ve been treating my twice-weekly five-milers with Pacers as my long runs, especially since jogging there and home again adds about a mile and a half. But I can tell my endurance is still low, so I’m attempting to add some mileage for the first time on my run tomorrow. My proposed route would start in Silver Spring, and would follow (roughly) the new, eight-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail to the New York Avenue Metro, where I’ll stop at Pound Coffee for a Nutella latte. That’s right—a latte with Nutella in it. If that doesn’t encourage me to keep going, I’m not sure what will!

What’s your go-to butt-kicking workout?


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4 responses to “Rebuilding plan: my four key workouts

  1. Wow, excellent tips for the butt-kicking workout! Gawd knows we womenz all need that, especially during the summer shorts/swimsuit season 😉

    I’m really happy to hear of your amazing recovery and return to form. It’s very inspiring 🙂 It gives me a kick in the buns to keep up with my workouts as well. Thanks for the motivation, and rock on!!


  2. Sounds like an awesome plan! But remember to do lots of easy running and build a base before doing a ton of hill and speed workouts. I started running again this winter after 6 weeks off, doing a lot of hills and speed-work, and it cause ITB issues. Make sure you build an easy base first.

    • I couldn’t agree more, and am just realizing multiple references to six weeks may be confusing: I was off for six weeks in February and March, and have been slowly rebuilding for the past six weeks in March and April. I’m just now slooowly kicking it into a slightly higher gear—don’t want to injure myself while returning from an injury!

  3. 3 runs and 3 cross-trains a week! You are going to be busy.
    Swimming is a great workout! I just find the hassle of dealing with my long hair not worth it. I would never be a successful triathlete unless I got a brush cut! ; )

    Nutella latte? OMG

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