My Training Plan Got Me Injured – What Now? – 30 Minute Runner


If you’ve been following my 30 Minute Runner experiment, you know that I wanted to see how fast I could race a 5k with only 30 minutes of running per day.  In order to give myself the best chance to succeed, I decided to jump right into high intensity interval training workouts to help improve my VO2Max.

The main workout that I used was the 10-20-30 workout which a recent study showed to be a quick but very effective option for increasing a runner’s VO2Max. Unfortunately, I got a little too excited about this workout and underestimated its intensity.

Long story short – I now have some knee tendonitis that is preventing me from running – not cool!

You can see the sad state of my training by looking at the data from my Garmin Forerunner 310XT in the month of April.  There are far too many days with no running.

April 2014 Training

This is certainly not a pretty running log, but I want you to understand exactly what I’m going through.  I don’t want to hold anything back because you may be able to learn from my mistakes and avoid the problems I’m experiencing in my training.

I have been following the excellent RunnersConnect strength training program – including the Bia strengthening hip routine and the specific exercises for runner’s knee. These routines have helped to improve my knee pain, but I have a long way to go to improve my strength.

So What’s the Plan Now?

Well, I think I’m done with the 10-20-30 workouts for a while.  While I believe it is an effective workout, they are way more intense than I originally thought due to the constant changes in speed.  My body clearly was not ready for the intensity and I paid the price.

Instead of chasing a secret workout, I think I need to go back to the tried and true methods of periodization and gradual progression used by running coaches for decades. In other words, I should have focused on building a solid aerobic base and then gradually have introduced speed into my training.

Instead, I jumped into some pretty intense speed and am now paying for it. Don’t make my mistake.

Using the Run Faster Principles of Coach Brad Hudson

While I am disgusted with my dumb training plan that got me injured, the 30 Minute Runner experiment is not over.  I’m currently working on a smarter training plan that allows my body to gradually adapt to higher intensity running.

One book that is really helping me think about training plans is Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald.  Brad has coached many great American runners, including Dathan Ritzenhein, and details his training principles in this easy to read book.

Run Faster is a fantastic introduction to building a training plan and gives reader plenty of tools to customize plans – even on a very busy schedule.

My favorite training book had been Daniels’ Running Formula by the great coach Jack Daniels.  But Coach Hudson’s book is a bit easier to digest – it is not as scientific Daniels’ Book – and provides some great insights the best way to adapt a training plan to your specific circumstances.  I’ll share more about the book in the coming days and weeks.

Until then, I’m focused on clearing up my knee tendonitis and returning to pain-free running.

Have you ever rushed into a training plan only to get injured?

Do you have any advice for me in coming back from injury?

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