Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Running Focuses

What was learned on today's 10k run? Well I opened up the pace a bit, running the 10k in 44'55" but the interesting thing was that I didn't feel like I had to run fast to do this. Running at his pace (4'30" km) would have felt like a real "power" effort with the old way of running. All I had to do here was look for better placing of everything and more relaxation. The speed is natural. This makes it clear that it's possible to go an awful lot faster.

Stride Focus
Most of the focus was on preventing the legs and feet from coming ahead and making the feet land below me. To lengthen the stride all the effort went into lengthening the reach behind and in using the pelvis and twist in the middle of the spine for that. Another focus was to lift the heels high to make the recovery leg into a shorter "pendulum" to swing forwards - but then to avoid swinging it too far forwards. The increase in speed when this is done right is amazing. All in all I was looking for more speed through efficiency improvements without significantly greater power output. The pace maintained here was very sustainable and at no point were the limits pushed. Avoiding recovering the leg too far forwards means there is much less workload on the psoas muscles and this is improved again by lifting the heel higher and making the recovery leg effectively much shorter.

Lean Focus
At one point today I realised that ChiRunning author Danny Dreyer is correct in stating that the runner has to lean forwards slightly from the ankles. The lean forwards explained by Dreyer is supposedly to place the centre of mass further ahead - but what he doesn't mention is that it also allows a further reach of the leg behind. Imagine pushing a car and trying to keep your body upright while getting purchase with your feet. Now imagine leaning forwards and pushing. The legs extend much further behind the centre of mass. There's also something about this angle that helps the pelvis swing backwards - it's not exactly swinging in the horizontal plane.

Arm Swing Focus
Dreyer also claims that when running uphill the arms should come much further forwards. This seems to be inaccurate. Yes, the arms come further forwards but due to the "angle of dangle" of the arms from the shoulders due to the body leaning more forwards for going uphill.

My only snag now is a slight Achilles tendinitis starting up on the left foot. I'm hoping that it will die down soon but won't take any chances and will rest it if necessary instead of turning it into something chronic.

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