Waterton Lakes NP…

Four nights spent in Waterton wandering around the backcountry up in the northwest corner of the park.

running kilt…

I think I’ve found the answer to my never ending search for a pair of shorts that don’t ride up on me. I’ve tried long shorts, short shorts and shorts in between but no matter what, they all seem to creep up and bunch between my inner thighs.

So here’s the answer;

My kilt from RunningKilts.com.

 

c c c c c Cadence…

In an effort to try and stay injury free this season, I have undertaken a program that will hopefully toughen me up and keep me running without pain and injury.

At strengthrunning.com, I found a program that basically provides a series of dynamic flexibility and running specific strength workouts that are essentially body weight exercises. The main gist of this program, which is called “Injury Prevention For Runners” is a more efficient running form based on increasing your running cadence and shortening stride length. The belief in this, as author Jason Fitzgerald writes, is that the increased cadence provides for a proper stride and foot placement that helps to eliminate injury.

This past week of running was the first following the plan. In addition, I was also looking for an off season training plan. I found a program online by Hal Higdon that is a twelve week spring intermediate plan to basically get your legs and cardio back and prepare one to jump into a full training program. The mileage isn’t high but it does offer up a variety of runs to stress the body at different paces and speeds.

So, back to this cadence thing. Typically my cadence is around 158 to 160 steps per minute. In the past week I have been running anywhere from 167 to 176 steps per minute. But, it hasn’t been easy. It’s hard for me to get my head around the following ;

  • the concept of moving my legs faster but not moving my body any faster is strange. You should know, my legs are pretty big, currently hauling around just shy of 230 lbs! so more, faster but shorter strides is a big change
  • Stride length can only get so short, or both feet will be on the ground at the same time!
  • Sometimes it feels like my shoes are tied together (others have said this as well)

With the increased movement of my legs, but with shorter strides, I have noticed that my cardio seems to be more stressed and I seem to be working harder despite not moving faster.  From what I understand, this is common with runners adapting to this system. Depending on the individual, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to six months to get fully accustomed to this new style of running. I have had to take a couple of walking breaks to catch my breath.

My initial reaction is that I am liking the change. What I have noticed is the shorter stride requires you to not lift your knees as high in order to maintain the high leg turnover rate. The stride almost seems like it is from the knee down, more a push out of the foot than raising from the knee.  Also, I find I need to work on keeping my knee to foot alignment pointed in the direction of travel which I’m sure also includes the hips being pointed in the direction I want to go. I find it also helps if your knees aren’t banging together.

When doing long, slow runs, I think it is a bit impractical to expect a runner to maintain a higher cadence. You can still shorten your stride but the cadence rate should remain lower so you get the full benefits of the long run. I’ve done 2 longer runs, one 8.7k with a cadence rate of 168 and a 10.5k with an average cadence of 158.

It will take a bit of time to get used to and adapt to this running change. It will be successful if I am able to continue running without the injuries I’ve experienced in the past.

overnight hang at Miquelon…

Went out to Miquelon Lake for a quick one night hang.

it’s just running, isn’t it?

It’s here, 2016! In terms of running, 2015 finished up with some promise, less pain and momentum to take into the new year.

My total running distance was 1256 km’s spread out over 146 runs and 135 hours. All those numbers were down from 2014, but that year was injury free, unlike the year just past. I feel I’ve recovered significantly and am looking at trying to put together a plan of action for this year.

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before the snow

I see myself just getting my fitness level back up, putting some mileage and, staying injury free and possibly an easy run in a half in the spring with thoughts of a fall marathon.

I have started to use a new tracking program, SportTracks to log my data. It imports the stats from Garmin Connect but shows much more detailed analysis than GC does. I did pay a fee for this program, whereas GC is free but I was looking to get a bit more detail from my run stats. Whether I can learn from it is another thing!

I am currently trying to calculate my lactate threshold heart rate. This is the upper limit of the moderate intensity range (1), or about 85% of your maximum HR.Today I did a 30 minute treadmill run that shows my LTHR is 157 bpm. I will probably do the test again next week just to confirm the numbers. From this result I will then formulate my pace zones for training. That will be another treadmill test but I’ll wait a day or two to recover from today’s LTHR test. I have lots of data and formulas to work with and to be quite honest, it can be very confusing. The hardest part is trying to figure out whose plan suits you best based on your goals and determining at what level you are at. At my age I may be overthinking a lot of this, especially since my real marathon goal is to break 4 hours! Certainly not world class it it is my goal.

 

(1) Matt Fitzgerald, 80/20 Running, 2014

a tale of beer, potato chips and a sweet tooth…

2015 was a tough year for running.

Injuries claimed a lot of time. Two weeks before my end of May marathon I had been training for, plantar fasciitis forced me to stop running. It wasn’t until August that I was able to get going again. Then extensor tendonitis hit the top of my right foot limiting my running time. This was much less painful than the PF, I could run through it but it was very annoying and again took time for it to heal.

As I looked to get going again at the beginning of December, I decided to do a six week Quick Start to bring my weight down a bit before actually starting to begin training in the new year. Pre-Christmas time is not the best time to start one of these plans. Too much food at work, too much beer at home, too much overall temptation. And I am weak! I Can’t say no to those Nanaimo bars and cookies. I’m not one to have control over my food urges. Four weeks of my half hearted attempt at some weight reduction saw me lose a few pounds only to put them back on in a day or two so I was just breaking even. My worst time is in the evening, especially if I’m bored. Then it’s several trips to the pantry, because you know, there’ll be different stuff in it each time I open the door.

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Above you can see how my weight has changed over the last year. Dropping to it’s lowest point, 212lbs after 16 weeks of training, then climbing to where it is today, about 224lbs. I really wasn’t taking this serious enough.

Yesterday, after having not ran for a few days, I waivered about going for a run. It was cold out, -16c, but that didn’t bother me. I just thought staying inside was probably the best course of action. After all, there was English Premier League on television and I had coffee. But I worried about what not going would do to my psyche! So, after Manchester United went behind 2 nil, I figured I’d go out for the run. Off I went for a very enjoyable and easy 45 minutes.

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So as part of my plan, I have pretty much cut out the potato chips for some time now (although there was a relapse a few days ago). I have decided that the quantities of beer consumed has to be greatly reduced and those walk by hand grabs of sweets from the candy trays scattered throughout life this time of year have to stop. I’m going to try and cut down on portion sizes as well. As for running, I was going to try and begin the Quick Start again but decided now is not the time. If I was planning on doing a spring marathon I would have to start training in late January, and knowing what happened last year, I’ve decided to just go out, put on some mileage and build my base back up. I’ll let my body determine what I do in the spring, but if I do decide to run a race, I’ll cut back a bit on the training program as I’m sure I overdid it last year and that’s what led to the PF issues.

Fighting off the rest of the holiday season temptations shouldn’t be a problem now that I have this new focus.

I’m glad I ran yesterday!