I can hardly believe that I am already in training for 10 weeks. I just completed the 10th week with a 21 mile run and it turned out to be the second time for me that I ran more than 50 miles in a single week. I know this is nothing compared to some of the die-hard runners out there, but given that I have family, a full-time job, and also run a business on the side I think that I am doing quite alright.
Week 10 was a very interesting week for me. On Monday I had seen some online training videos about a better running style and I have been
crazy stupid enough to give that a try even though my marathon race was just 4 weeks out. I know many people will shake their head about trying to make such a significant change so late in the training schedule and I totally agree – “What was I thinking?”. Well, before you chime in, let me tell you a bit about my experience from this week.
I am not a good runner when it comes to running form. This summer I started a bootcamp style workout called Kosama. It is a bit similar to all those CrossFit training programs. Kosama is defining itself as a program for full body transformation and that includes a lot of core and back exercises. Having a stronger core and back is something that many runners lack – me included until this summer. Since I started the Kosama workouts I can definitely feel that my body has grown stronger which specifically helps with running longer distances. The second part related to running style or running form is the stride. I seem to be more of a heel stride runner and this type of running style can cause injuries and puts a lot pressure on your legs, joints, knees, or whatever you want to single out from your body. So, these training videos teach how you can correct your running form with some very simple tricks and I wanted to try this out.
Following the advice from the videos I modified my cadence and also my body form while running. The first run on Monday was difficult and I had to concentrate hard to get it implemented. To my surprise the run was great. I had a good average pace compared to my normal weekday runs + with almost no effort I added an extra mile to the run and I barely felt fatigued after the run. So far so good. The next morning I watched the training videos one more time and the afternoon run pretty much worked out the same way as the one from the day before. I felt intrigued by the results. Was this just a fluch or was this for real? On Wednesday I watched the videos again and again ran following the same changes, but this time my average pace per mile improved by over 20 seconds compared to the faster times from Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was the first day where I felt the effort in my legs, the fatigue had finally been able to catch up but overall it was not too bad. The Thursday run came around and my average pace per mile improved again by a few seconds. Not as dramatic as the day before, but still I was 4 seconds faster per mile compared to Wednesday.
But I paid a price. On Wednesday I felt sore in my legs in place where I never had felt sore before. I assume the different running style affected my muscles differently and that had caused the soreness. No big deal, it would go away after a few more days. However, on Thursday I felt a different kind of pain in addition to the soreness. I assume that with the faster speed I was pushing things too hard. I decided to give my leg enough rest and so I turned Friday into an additional rest day where I did not even do my Kosama workout in the morning. When Saturday morning came around my left calf still felt a bit irky, but I decided to head out for my long run anyway. The leg bothered me for a few miles, but then I completely forgot about it.
For the majority of the Saturday long run I ran my old running style, but I had several miles where my body automatically used the new running style. Overall the run was great and I improved of my average pace for long runs from the former best of 9.47 minutes/mile to 9.28 minutes per mile. I felt the effort of this run, but I was stoked about the results. My legs felt Ok after the run. The left leg still decided to be “grumpy”, but it was actually doing much better after the run than it was before the run. It is Wednesday as I am writing this re-cap and the left leg is finally doing alright. it was twitching just a little bit yesterday. I hope that by tomorrow morning everything will back to normal and then tomorrow afternoon I have to decide if I try the new running style again or if I follow the old habit.
The weather the last 3 days has been cold, cloudy, and even a bit misty. I don’t mind running in the cold, but usually the sun shines here in Colorado and that makes the temperatures more bearable. Running in cold temperatures with clouds and high humidity is not that much fun. I even had to get me cold weather gear out to stay warm – especially to keep the legs protected from the wind and the cold. Fortunately the weather is supposed to improve towards the weekend so that my last long long run is not an issue. It is supposed to be in the 60’s again starting tomorrow. Yeah.