Wednesday will mark week number 17 since I had surgery to repair a ruptured ACL, bilateral tears in my miniscus, and a severly sprained MCL, which occured skiing on March 1st. This morning at PT, they finally let me use the zero-gravity treadmill
(www.alterg.com), which is a pretty cool piece of equipment if you have access to one and need it. Everything has been progressing well, and I have been being extremely careful so as not to push things, as I do not wish to go through this again.
I have been walking some decent distances since early May, been back on the bike for the last several weeks, and been swimming when I can get in the water. Prior to my accident, I was training for my 4th half and in the mid-30 miles per week and
gaining. I had made some huge strides (pardon the pun) last year and had dropped my 5k times into mid-18's, and my half's were under 90 minutes. I was just shy of a total mileage accumulation of 1000 miles last year. I'm in better than average health
for my age: just turned 37, and usually stay about 165 lbs, although I have crept back up to about 175 at the moment.
There's some history; now for some goals I wish to work on:
I'd would like to be running outside again at a regular (3 times a week, 3 miles at a time to start) basis by August 1st. I would then like to try a 5k on August 14th, and possibly a 10k the following week, depending upon how everything feels. The more
intimidating goal is to train for a half on September the 27th. I know that's kinda a lot of racing in a short window of time, but I just want to be able to go the distance: I have no aspirations of trying to set a pr. Long term I would very much like to be back
to where I was when the injury happened this next March 1st.
My questions are these: How realistic am I being? I have no problem putting in the time for training, but am I just trying to fool my self by thinking that I could actually accomplish that - would my knee allow for it? Even more importantly, no matter the
amount of training that begin to do, what should I be looking out for, pain-wise? What is normal soreness compared to I-need-to-shut-it-down-now type pain?
If anyone has any thoughts, suggestions, first-hand experience, whatever - anything anyone would like to share on the matter, I would be extremely appreciative the knowledge. Thank you much!
"Realistic" depends on your short-term and long-term goals. I have no doubt that if you stick with your conservative training plans, you are at least as likely to improve as to become re-injured. I know that does not sound too encouraging, but a lot can go wrong in training that can set you back, depending on how and where you train. Since you have ambitions regarding competition, my fear is that you might at some point in time become impatient and push too hard.
On the other hand, I would bet my life that your chances of successful recovery would increase if you stick with conservative training and stay away from competition longer, because you compete at a higher level than the average athlete. The training and recovery habits of professional athletes sometimes mislead non-professionals into thinking they must recover and jump back into competition as soon as possible. If there is a multi-million dollar paycheck riding on it, sure... but if you do not want to trade off a future without chronic pain for some temporary glory, I would advise accepting a temporary loss of fitness and a longer recovery.