I went to my physical therapist about this and he gave me three (well maybe 4 now that I think of it) good pieces of advice:
- Rest between workouts.
- Intense workouts are what bring improvement.
- To paraphrase, "Dance with what brung you to the dance", i.e. check your workouts from when I was setting pr's and go back to those sort of workouts.
He also told me to get on the bike.
OK, so I got a stationary bike AND bought a ten speed at the swap meet for $32 and converted it to a fixed gear (fixie). This could turn into a whole other preoccupation. The bike affects my legs in a completely different way. My quads get exhausted and my knees get stressed somewhat from slowing down on the fixie (it's geared really high - 52x16). But I'm not beating up my (lower) legs the way I do when running on pavement. So it seems as though the two forms of exercise complement each other to some extent although running after a hard bike ride is a different sensation. So I'm rationalizing that riding the bike or the stationary bike is resting insofar as running is concerned.
I'm limiting my running workouts to hills OR fast paced track workouts. This addresses his second and third points. Specifically, running hills and running 2 hour track runs brought me improvement in the past so that's what I plan to work on for now. So I've cut back to 3 or 4 running workouts per week for a while. Stay tuned and see how it turns out. I'm anxious to find out.