Category Archives: running

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.

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!

 

still all okay…

Since my return to running from my plantar fasciitis, I have been able to log about 125km’s over 18 runs for a total time of 13 hours. My plan was not to run on consecutive days in order to not aggravate my foot. That seems to have worked, although the odd longer run has caused a bit of discomfort post run, but nothing that a bit of stretching and ice hasn’t been able to take care of.

I’m now thinking about ramping up my runs, with a possible goal of the Calgary Marathon next May, should everything continue as it has over the last month or so. This is the race I was training for when the PF took hold two weeks before last years event.

One thing I have noticed in my runs so far, which for the most part have been at a slower pace, is that my average heart rate is about 10 bpm higher than when I was at my peak training level. I’m hoping that as I get back into running shape that this average will come down.

I’ve also been restocking my winter running clothes closet. I picked up a Lululemon Metal Vent Tech long sleeve shirt to use as a base layer but I like it so much it has become my go to running shirt with the cooler temperatures we have been getting. My plan, once it starts to get below freezing is to wear a MEC T2 long sleeve merino zip top over this and then my outer layer is going to be a MEC Obsession jacket that I have worn a couple of times and I really like. All of my running has been done in New Balance Vazee Pace shoes which despite their light as a feather weight, seem to be working for me so far. I really like them!

NB

However, with the good progress I’ve made thus far, I still remain cautiously optimistic.

Back out pounding the pavement, hopefully…

It had been 96 days since my last run. May 17th to be exact. The plantar fasciitis was so bad I had to shut down.  On August 22nd, having not run for over 3 months, I finally felt good enough to test my right foot again. It was a slow, 25 minute trot, but a good one that gave me some very cautious optimism for the future.  I’ve run twice since, 30 and 35 minutes around the neighbourhood and I am relatively happy with the physical results.

What I missed about not running; cars that glide through stop signs making right turns, my music, the freedom, cars that stop almost all the way through intersections, the sweat, foam rolling and post run coffee.

Fortunately for me, despite the increased quantities of beer consumed over this hot summer, added together with my lack of running, I only put on about 5 pounds over where I was when I stopped running. I had done a fair bit of bike riding as well as a couple of long camping related hikes. I hope to keep the bike riding up (30 minutes to work) as long as I can until winter won’t let ride anymore.

My recovery from PF, although in no way complete was aided by a pretty intense physio program. That has ended and I am now trying to follow a self regulated program of stretching the PF and strengthening the foot and ankle. I was also told I needed to wear orthotics. I had some custom made and have worn them pretty much all the time except when wearing sandals (which really has been most of the time). I am however, not convinced I need them to run, or to wear them on a permanent basis. Having done a lot of research, I am of the mindset that an orthotic, while it can provide immediate, temporary relief really doesn’t cure the problem. Hence my strength and stretching program to get my foot up to grade. Right now, I have no pain from the PF, but my ankle feels like it has a sprain. I believe this is from turning my foot outward to compensate for the pain of the PF when it was at its worst.

I am confident enough about my ability to continue running that I went into a new shoe. I was due for a new pair anyway. I had worn Brooks Ghosts for the training period leading up to my aborted attempt of the Calgary marathon and prior to that I was an Asics guy. When I was looking at shoes this time, I was hoping to go into an Asics Nimbus but the shop didn’t carry them. I was asked to try a New Balance Vazee Pace. Wow! Light, comfortable and a much lower price than the Nimbus. I took the bright orange ones home.one point to note is that I have moved from a stability shoe to a neutral one, of which both the Ghosts and Vazee are.

I believe the reason the PF started in the first place was because I had put too much mileage into my training. I really liked the program, and if I can get to the point of training for a spring marathon again, I will just back it off a bit and follow a less intense level of the same program.  My nutrition on the other hand is questionable at best and is the one area that needs the most improvement. But beer is so darn good!

Plantar Fasciitis Wins…

Two weeks before the Calgary Marathon, 856 training km’s, 90 training hours, 16 weeks into an 18 week training plan, I have to shut it down.

You know you have to shut it down when you have to go down the stairs in the morning on your butt because you can’t put any pressure on your foot.

I thought I could run through it. Running wasn’t really the issue, until yesterday. It really only hurt when I was inactive. I was getting used to feeling that marble in my right heel. Yesterday started out good. A little cool, sunny with a light breeze. My foot was a bit sore to start but that usually worked itself out as the foot warmed up. About an hour and a half into my long run I noticed my gait had changed, I was limping slightly and my foot was noticeably sore. I started to think about what I really didn’t want to tell myself. I kept going but at about the 2 hour mark, my heel was feeling like a ground up meatball. I stopped and walked a couple hundred metres then started my run again. It only lasted a few strides. I knew it then. I cried a bit.

Then I did something I have never done. I called my wife to come and pick me up. I cried when I got in the car. The pain and frustration hit me.

16 weeks and 856 km’s over 90 hours!

I noticed my foot getting sore mid to late March. I’ve been through this before. But I wasn’t training for anything back then, it was just running. And I was able to fix the problem and get back running. But this time I was doing so good, my training was working. My weight had come down. I was encouraged. But that heel slowly got worse, and I wouldn’t listen. I tried to fix the problem while still continuing to train. But we all know that is hard to to. The only way to fix the problem is to shut it down. So I have.

I am hanging onto a very small glimmer of hope. I will not run for the next week and a half. I will ride the bike and I will treat my heel accordingly. If, on May 27 I cannot run without pain I will throw in the towel. That’s the date I can cancel my hotel without penalty.

Was it too much mileage? Was it a change in shoes? Stubbornness? Of course it was all three combined.

My focus now is healing my right foot. Getting good to run on it again. Then possibly to think about the Okanagan.