Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cross Training

Wednesday 28th April

GPSies - Aime, Montgirod, Hautcoeur, Moutiers, Notre Dame du Pré, Maçot, Laundry, Bourg, Vulmix, La Cote d'Aime, Aime.

2000m vertical on the bike today – and 80km distance. Went slow to ensure the legs would last. They were tired from the running problems. Despite the calves being almost too sore to walk with there was no pain at all on the bike. This is why cross training is so good.
The sky was blue and it was warm all the way – great weather but not to last apparently so it is important to make the most of it. Took some photos today with my crap LG telephone camera but didn’t manage to get the max resolution set up correctly. Might get a clone “Iphone” from China for 100 dollars (Would never buy any Apple crap – even Adobe is dumping them due to restrictive practices – YES!!!!).
Legs still started to hurt after about 4 hours – don’t know if it’s the distance, amount of climbing or time itself that has the largest impact on the legs. Was drinking and ingesting carbs.

This is a view of Hautecoeur, a beauty spot hidden above Moutiers at 1200m altitude. Moutiers is at the bottom of a direct descent to 500m altitude.

Have decided to persist with the forefoot strike in running despite the pain it generates in the calves. It just feels right. Several times since age 18 I’ve flipped over on my ankle when running, badly spraining the ligaments and I’m certain this due to heel striking. Landing on the forefoot definitely stabilises the entire foot/ankle structure and feels much safer. The foot has 26 bones (more than ¼ of the body’s bones are in the feet), 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. It seems like we try our best to forget about our feet instead of learn about them. Jean Claude Killy was quoted, when asked why he was the best skier of his epoch, saying, “It’s the intelligence of the feet”. Thick cushioned soles and heel striking appear to deny this intelligence in running. This is certainly the case in skiing where people are often clamped into tight fitting boots with orthotic footbeds and even foam injected liners. Skiing is much better when the feet can move and make shapes, using the muscles actively. Yes, I teach the use of heel pressure, rocking of the sub-taler joint to roll the feet, but only as an elementary phase. Once you know how to make an active arch with your feet muscles, strengthening the ankle support and strongly working the anterior tibialis muscle up the outside of the lower leg, then with the heel slightly off the deck the control is much better. I notice that it is popular to refer to “riding” skis now. Real skiers don’t ride skis, the ski is part of their body. They ski! Only morons “ride” skis – so, yes that does include all BASI trainers! (Enough ranting though.) It would seem that rather than take forever for the calves to either adapt to this way of running, or to get injured, a program of strengthening might be more appropriate. I’m going to try to use “heel dips” to try to get the calves more robust. This requires standing on a step and letting a heel drop down towards the ground and raising it back up to neutral. It is an eccentric contraction – just like running itself, but not with an impact. Meanwhile I’ll do some running with thicker heeled shoes than my low profile Mizunos and accept the heel strike until the calves are stronger – just using forefoot striking over reduced distances to build up gradually. I did spend an entire nine months patiently trying to adapt the calves through running itself but it didn’t work and that’s why I went back to the heel strike. Initially I blamed the heel strike for the injury that sidelined my running all winter but on reflection I think it was due to dramatically increasing running mileage as winter set in and cycling became impossible. I went from almost nothing up to running 20k several times a week.
Why do both running and cycling? Well when Lance Armstrong retired from cycling he started marathon running. In his first marathon he ended up with stress fractures in his tibia. It appears that there is a direct correlation between leg bone density and training mileage for runners. If you train a high mileage for years then your legs will have a high bone density and strength due to the impact of running. Armstrong probably didn’t have this accumulated level of protection. I’ve seen legs blown apart in skiing and I definitely advocate good leg bone density – so running is useful. Armstrong by the way did his second marathon in an amazing 2hrs 46mins which for any “non runner” is amazing. Runners and cross country skiers have higher aerobic fitness than any other sports because the entire body is used, including arms and torso. I noticed my resting heart rate was clearly lower when my running levels were up and the opposite when running levels were down and cycling up. There is then a clear advantage in cross training.

Discovered the car of my dreams on this workout - near Notre Dame du Pré.

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