Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter Workouts

It's definitely getting darker earlier ...

... and colder at night (Frosty Sunrise over la Plagne!)

 Achilles tendon heeled.
Yesterday managed a 5km run with low profile shoes and had no Achilles tendon pain. Had to run on the heels though and so reverting to retrograde running technique does have a few advantages - it feels horrible but it protects the Achilles tendon when it is recovering from injury. This did bring up an interesting cross-over issue regarding skiing. In skiing it is important to develop some aspects of technique from a sold stance firmly rooted on the heels. Most people think that this will cause them to lean backwards - but that's not the case. You can stand on your heels and tilt your centre of mass forwards - in fact generating even less likelihood of falling backwards. (Ironically part of ChiRunning is tilting forwards and though they never spot it you get your CM tilted forwards more easily in fact from the heel than from the forefoot!) Likewise it occurred to me when running and trying to avoid reaching ahead with the feet ("barefoot style") I could still land with the heels below the body by flexing the ankles - so that because the heel was already slightly behind the body on impact there would be no braking affect or amplified after shock. This has the effect of maintaining generally good mechanics but allowing the cushioned heel to absorb the landing instead of the tendons and muscles - sparing the dodgy Achilles tendon. It's pretty similar to the feeling of skiing on the heels in that pressure is deliberately removed from the toes and forefoot (though only during the landing phase in running). Basically I'm saying that you can run on heels without your feet going ahead and with quite flat shoes - through controlling the ankle flex. Note: The only time that the ankle should be flexed in skiing is when you are solidly on the heel, activating the tibialis anterior muscle. This is of course the opposite to advice give by intellectually challenged organisations such a BASI in the UK or the PSIA in the US.

Notre Dame du Pré
Had a great workout on the bike today - mainly because I didn't see another cyclist. The roads are still dry and the cold alone doesn't bother me. I covered 52km and 5700ft of climbing but it was about 20 minutes slower than a few weeks back mainly due to the legs being a bit tried from getting back into running. I took a  change of shirt to replace one layer close to the body before the final long and fast descent - but putting a soaking shirt and soaking polar fleece lined membrane back on top of it wasn't pleasant. It worked though. Felt great on the final sprint back up from the Isère river to Aime.

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