I had my right shoulder operation back in October last year, that was 6 weeks in a sling and was quickly followed by the same series of operations for the left shoulder in mid December which again meant six weeks in a sling for that arm. This meant that I wasn’t able to get into the gym one way or another from mid October to the end of January.
I am still unable to do much in the way of upper body training – A press up would be a start – and at the moment I’m having another complete lay-off from upper body exercises having over done it over the past few weeks and caused the left shoulder in particular to flare up again necessitating a cortisone shot last Friday to calm it down.
So what have I been able to do? The short answer is not much.
What I have decided to do was to use the time to build some base cardio fitness and also drop some weight. Along with Judo, BJJ, MMA my sport requires a lot of power and anaerobic endurance (something that I naturally have) and usually I don’t have the time to do a lot of base cardio work because of the problems of scheduling it in around other training. I don’t generally have to worry about fighting in weight categories so carrying a few extra pounds has never been an issue either, but I figured dropping a 12 or 14 lb over four or five months wouldn’t hurt. Especially as my plan is to try to put back 6 or 7 lb of that as lean mass once I can start to really accelerate the shoulder rehab.
Now I’ve never been much of a distance runner. I’m 5′ 7″ and (five months ago weighed) 182 lb with a long body and short legs. I’m naturally muscular and tend to carry a bit too much fat, and I’ve got a large predisposition towards fast twitch muscle fibre. But I’ve been dutifully running three times a week on the treadmill for the past six weeks since I got out of the sling and I’m starting to see some results.
I have to say at this point that I had a surgery to remove myxoid degeneration in my patella tendon three years ago and can feel the strain on the tendon when distance running so I wanted to be sure to build up slowly. I also wanted to train just the type one fibres and so I wanted to keep the pace slow. Now as I said I’m a very slow runner anyway, so slow for me is really slow (12’/mile).
Anyway as I said I’m starting to see some results. The weight is down to 170 lb (see here for what I’ve done to achieve this) and my three treadmill sessions per week are now up to an hour each at 12’/ml pace. And to be honest they are really easy. I could carry on a conversation no problem, HR doesn’t go above 155 and I always feel like I could do another half hour.
The plan now is to step it up a bit. I plan to move up to five sessions per week and make one of those a kid of interval type run, where I will just run for 20 mins but will do 4 mins at my usual pace and one minute at 7’/ml pace. After a few weeks of this I’m going to try and increase the pace of my hour-long runs slowly. The weather is getting warmer and the clocks change soon, so after I get back from skiing at Easter I’m going to switch to morning outside runs.
This is an interesting experiment for me. My fitness has always been directed towards sports that are very stop-start with lots of fast recovery. So this is all new for me.