Monday, March 12, 2007

The Good Runs Continue

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Ginsberg

Something has happened. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it seems that the hard work I've put in the last few weeks has paid off. However tired I felt at the time, however much Duck had to pull me back to stop me from overtraining, however much people looked at me like I was mad, I am seriously fitter than I was a month ago.

And it's not just a physical difference. Mentally I've proved to myself with the good runs and the hill rides that I can do this stuff. I guess I'm believing in myself a lot more than I was a month ago as well.

Tonight we started at Te Papa and ran around the Bays for 24 minutes, throwing in fartlek training every eight minutes. We ran up Carlton Gore and down Maida Vale and around to Greta Point before turning back. On the way up Carlton Gore I passed Jenna, who has always been faster than me. Maida Vale arrived extremely quickly, and the distance to Greta Point was a cinch.

On the way back the Northerly was blowing, and I decided to head back up Maida Vale to get away from it. I was passed by a fit woman running extremely quickly, and then by two men who were working hard to keep up with her. Not long afterwards I caught up with one of the men walking. I felt like calling out to him that he should try slow and steady and make it up there in one run.

Down Carlton Gore and a couple of the other girls caught up with us. It was halfway down Carlton Gore that things got interesting. We picked up the pace, and as we hit Oriental Bay again we caught up with Ingrid and a bunch of the other girls who had stuck to the flat. I kept up the pace I had run down the hill at, mentally wondering at what point I was going to start running out of gas.

To my surprise I kept the pace up all the way back to the gym. I think I was running at 12kmph, if not faster. That's REALLY fast for me! My perceived exertion levels did not
reflect the pace I was keeping.

I took a little bit of time to analyse what was happening to allow me to run faster. Everything I was doing was in line with the instructions my podiatrist had given me. I was running with a slightly shorter stride. I was keeping my heels down, pushing through with my glutes, and I was making a real effort to land my feet well.

The biggest difference was my left foot, which was landing far less flat-to-ball of foot than usual, and was also landing far straighter than usual, rather than splaying out to the side. I could feel a slight resistance at the base of my left leg, where my foot meets my shin. I know I'm stiff there, and I was really giving it a workout. I think my left footfall must ordinarily be quite inefficient, and I had stumbled on a way to force it into a better flow. The end result was speed.

So I'm going to continue stretching my calves and that front bit of my leg, to improve my left footfall. I'm heartened by my lack of knee pain today, even though we were flying down the hills. I avoided doing any leg weights this morning in line with Duck's instructions, but I think that it will pay off for me to chuck a really tough week in every few weeks, if it's going to pay off again with another big improvement in form and fitness.

I'm now feeling really good about doing a half marathon in June. I'm loving the running right now, and long may it continue!

No comments: