Two weeks done and feeling good so far. I know, I am nowhere near the tough stuff yet but I am pleased that I am enjoying my running and making some improvements. I started really focusing on form, in part because I finally used my SoleFit gait and footwear analysis gift certificate that I bid on way back at a MadTrapper snowshoe race. There are definitely things I do right (no heel striking, consistent 180 cadence, no overstriding) but I also walked away with some things to work on. I am very tight in my hips, which has been the cause of my piriformis and occasional sciatica pain. I am also quite stiff in my ankles. I don’t quite complete my stride, bringing my foot up and forward a little early. My feet fall to the centre of my body rather than landing under my hips. My left heel doesn’t touch the ground at all and my left foot turns out rather than pointing forward. It was quite fascinating to watch myself on the computer screen doing things I had no idea I did! All of my runs since Thursday have been about concentrating on these areas that need work.
I was also given stretches to do, which I believe are already making a difference. In particular, the bridge stretch and lunges seem to be loosening up my hips. As for shoes, my Salomon trail shoes and my Nike Lunar Tempos are fine. My Asic Nimbus, as I thought, are more shoe than I need. While I have a footfall that would work fine with a very minimalist drop, my tight ankles and calves mean I am not ready yet to go below a 6mm drop, but I definitely don’t need more than 8. I was given a list of shoes to try, including the Mizuno Hitogami. I have yet to find them in my size but I did try a size down and it is quite possible that they could be a good shoe for me. They have a little more cushioning than my Nikes but have the same light feel. My challenge for the marathon is going to be to find the perfect shoes for me – lightweight but enough cushioning to help me through 42 km.
Here is how the week of July 6-12 looked:
- 7k, 41:25 high humidity but felt good.
- deep water pool running, 45 minutes
- 11k, LSD, 6:20 pace including water break.
- Gait analysis at SoleFit
- 5k, 30 minutes
- 5k, easy pace with a friend, rolling hills
- Kayaking, relaxed, 20 or 30 minutes, then out again later working a little harder for about 30 minutes (but once again had to stop to watch the loons and their babies!)
- 3k progression run, rolling hills
- “Swimming” 30 minutes in the lake. Not really swimming but lots of slow kicking, treading water, etc.
I am still not running quickly but I am reminding myself that I don’t need to be right now. At this moment my priority is to do whatever I can to avoid injury and that means getting a strong base without pushing too much or too quickly. One thing I plan on doing differently this training session is really slowing my long runs down. I still struggle with that idea because I panic that I won’t be able to pick up the pace on race day. I know the science is there confirming that slow long runs work, I just have to get my head and body to believe it. Patience is also a factor… sometimes I just want to get those long runs done! As for any speed work, I will wait a little longer. I will start adding strides in next week but that will be the extent of my speed work for now. Hills are happening naturally every time I do a run in cottage country, though soon I will need to find some very long downhills to help prepare for the 5 or 6 kms of decline at the Road2Hope Marathon. Piece by piece, the training plan is coming together!