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Finding my stride

I think we may be in the start of fall here ~ the temps are actually in the 60’s this week.  I have mixed feelings on this.  I am pretty happy with it staying in the 70’s indefinitely [why did we move from San Diego again??? ;-)  ], but I do love fall.  I love the changing colors, the crisp air, pulling out my cozy sweaters, and upcoming holidays.

But I still miss summer!  So there…

Onto that running stride…   Last month when I was visiting my chiropractor for my whacked out back, I was chatting with him about some running pain I’d been having.  Due to my low arches I over pronate [ankles roll in as I run] and even with great, supportive shoes, I’m more injury prone and have more aches and pains than some do.  But lately on almost every run I’d been getting a tight, aching, sore, hurting feeling on the sides of my ankles in the tendons.  It was the kind of pain that I could only tolerate for awhile and also the kind of pain that would end up lasting for days after running if I kept going.

So each time I would stop.  Sometimes I was only making it a half mile. :(  Those are sad times…  So I asked him his thoughts and after we discussed proper shoe support, etc he said the words that runners hate to hear “Well you know not all people are meant to be runners.”

:(

Of course I didn’t like that, and I’m sure he knew it [he’s a runner himself].  But I know it is true, however I wasn’t ready to give up yet – and he didn’t expect me to either.  He did say that if I kept having issues that we could look into more custom orthotics for my shoes if I wanted.

My trusty Brooks Ariel running shoes…they are good to me! :)

After a couple more weeks of sucky running, I finally decided to play around with my form some.  I tried focusing on how my feet were landing and I determined that I was having better luck when I ran even more on my forefoot [vs. midfoot where I had been landing].

But the real progress came when I tried something else – running faster!

For some reason over the past year I’ve become pokey…not that I was EVER fast, but I went from a normal 10-10:30 mile to 11 or 11:30.  S..L..O..W… well for me.  I don’t know why…maybe I just wasn’t focusing on it or trying.  But it was what it was.

So I picked up my pace ~ it was the main way I could land well on my forefoot and work towards a stride rate goal of 180 strides/min. [To read more on this # and stride rate, check out this article at RunnersWorld.com]

The results were really good!  I didn’t even look at my Garmin watch so that I didn’t know what was happening.  I just took off and I kept my eyes focused ahead, and made strong effort to keep my form good.  I knew I was going faster, but it wasn’t until I heard the watch beep to mark 1 mile past that I slowed to a walk…extremely winded…and looked at my watch and saw my pace:  9:20 min/mile !!  and even better?  No … Pain !  Today’s run, also equaled a good result [both in pain and time]:

9:05 !!!!!!!

So this is great overall…its been nice to not have that pain.  I hope its not just a fluke!   But the main problem is…I can’t keep up this pace for very long! :)  I can do a mile of it and then I need a break!  So for now I’m just keeping at it and I’m going to keep adding distance to it every couple days until I can make it 3 miles well doing this [or close to it].

So there you have it – watch your form!  If you’re experiencing pain, look for things that you might have gotten lax on and reevaluate.  And I recommend doing a stride test by timing your running for a minute and counting every time your right foot falls, then multiply by 2.  See how close you come to 180.  Remember, picking up stride does not have to equal running faster.  It means shortening your steps [stride] so that you take more steps per minute.  This improves your form which is easier on your body.  And if you are still heel striking when you run [landing on your heel vs. landing on your mid/fore foot], I highly recommend that you visit Newton’s web page and reading the article list there. I came across this a few years ago and it really changed my life in regards to running.  Changing my running style to fore foot took away so much pain I had been experiencing.  It was amazing!

Happy Running!

5K in 2010 :)

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