Back To The Drawing Board

I just got some devastating news. K might not be able to run the River Run this September! But as horrifying as it sounds to go by myself, I know I need to. Because I’m going to start my training all over again.

And when I say start over, I mean start over. As I’ve yelled about before, as proud as I am of my runs and my distance, I am pretty unhappy with my pace. All of my excuses generally came down to being worried about my leg and not wanting to injure myself before the half. But now, the Cleveland Marathon is over, and (maybe thanks to my training) my leg hasn’t bothered me for a bit. It’s time to push myself.

So for the past couple weeks, though I haven’t run a whole lot (for reasons), I have been trying to go for speed, and not for distance. And apparently, I have no idea what I’m doing.

I ran a mile at just under 9, and then another later at just over 8. And while my legs feel fine, I end up exhausted! Despite having run a half, because of the pace I took it, my heart rate just isn’t used to being that high for that long. Now, I know a pace of “just over 8” might be a little aggressive for me at this point, but I’m honestly having a hard time finding the balance. It’s not as simple as running the way I used to and just going faster. When I try for speed, I can tell my whole form is different. The question is, is it right?

This is a complete shift in how I typically run. Looking at some pictures of my form snapped during a race, it looks like I’m barely trudging through it. And if I’m going to be teaching my body a whole new set of tricks, I want to make sure they’re the right ones, so maybe I’ll do a little research:

I looked at this article by Nerd Fitness on proper running form and found a couple cool things. First of all, the video about barefoot running was really interesting. It shows the changes in stride when running barefoot vs running in shoes.

runstride
forefoot strike vs heel strike

Now, I know about the dangers of running barefoot / in those minimalist running shoes. If you don’t, then the gist is that one brand, Vibram, caused an increase in bone marrow edema (fluid in the bone). This isn’t the worst thing, and studies seem to have shown this is primarily from trying to transition too quickly, but you still want to be careful.

Of course, I’m too in love with my pretty new Brooks to even consider becoming a barefoot runner, but I do want to shift to a more forefoot strike than my current silly heel strike. Maybe it’s worth trying out for half a mile or so sometimes. The beach at Edgewater sounds like a pretty perfect place for it.

Another tip from the article that I liked was to run up hills:

“I find running up hills is a fantastic way to improve your technique – when you sprint up a hill, you naturally have to take a shortened stride and land on/spring off the balls of your feet to get up it. This is the style you want!”

And I know the perfect one! That scary monster coming up from Settler’s Landing to Superior. Short and steep.

hill

Ultimately, I want this transition to proper form to be my focus during my training for the upcoming River Run in September. I’m don’t think I want to set a pace goal yet; maybe a little later into my training. But I do know that it’s time to start up again. What with taking a break after the half, and not running during the Finals, I’ve had pretty much a month off:

runkeeper

It’s about halfway through the year, and I have miles to go.

-R

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