Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Speed" workout Tuesday

This morning I didn't have a lot of time for my mid-week run so this morning's session turned into a "speed" workout and you know what? I'm glad it did!

I got up and did a little more of a warm up than I normally do inside. I did some chair squats...
and high knees...
and put a heating pad on my legs for about 15 minutes.

While I was "warming my legs" I read this article on proper running form and it really registered with me. A few posts ago I mentioned that I was going to be using my mid-week running sessions to really focus on running form. Today was no exception.

I decided not to check the weather, specifically the humidity because I didn't want to put up any mental blocks for the session. So once I was outside I just focused on my newly revised routine for the day.

Logic behind my revised routine:
Many of us have come to realize, at some point during our training, that when you're tired your form falls off. Of course, if you have bad form to begin with, fatigue only leads to a "form crisis". I have also noticed that when my knee hurts I fall apart (form-wise, mentally, emotionally etc), so my goal needs to be to learn proper running form (or at the very least "better" running form) and to keep my knees and everything else from hurting. Muscle soreness I can live with but pain from an injury is totally different.

So for this morning's revised routine I started with a 0.5 mile brisk "warm up" walk (1 lap around my complex). Then I did a speed workout. I adjusted my interval timer to maintain a 1:1 ratio but using a shorter duration (remember I'm not a sprinter so I can't keep up a "fast" pace for very long). I did a 1 mile speed run:walk (30s:30s) and focused on running so that I landed on the balls of my feet. During the "walk" portion I maintained a brisk walk, making sure not to "pound" my heels. Then I ended with a 0.5 mile moderate pace "cool down" walk.

I don't track my warm up or cool down walk time/mileage so this was the summary of the 1 mile run...

11:08mins/mile is better than I have been in a long time, bearing in mind it was only for 1 mile. I'm hoping I can go for 2 miles at that pace (or close to it) during my next mid-week run.

The weather was pretty nice. It did feel humid, but again I didn't check the weather (not even after) so I don't really know how humid it was.

One of the "back drop" pictures I took of the morning sky...

So in addition to the great news about my improved pace for today I'm also happy to announce that.....drumroll please.......my knee didn't hurt! Could it be that all the experts who say running midfoot/on the balls of your feet is the best way to run are actually correct?!

I'm not sure how long (in terms of distance) I can keep up that stride but I really hope I can push myself to do 5 miles this weekend using this new technique. One of the things I did notice is that I felt "unsteady" going around corners so I ended up heel striking a little in those instances, but other than that I was mid-foot running all the way!
See the one "heel striker" in the bunch? That's normally me....but that will soon change (hopefully)

I'm going to be doing a lot more reading and learning about proper running form over the next few months. I really want to be able to use proper form all the time by the end of the year. The rest of 2014 is really about "getting it right" with my foundation mileage, core strength, running form, diet & hydration, and mental focus.

Are there any former "heel strikers" out there? What are some of the tricks you used to change your foot strike? 
Are there any heel strikers that have never had an injury?
How is your weekly running going so far?

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