Training the Mid-foot strike: Bringing it to heel.

First day back out on the streets after a recovery day and a cross-training day (70 mile bike ride). An early start meant I had to run with a flashlight/torch until my eyes adjusted. The summers are so short, it seems.

On reflecting on the aches and pains I suffered from last week I spent sometime watching technique videos and came to the conclusion that I was running too far up on my toes and not actually letting my heel touch the ground at all. Even with a move to mid-foot strike you heel is still supposed to make contact, just not initial contact. So I tried a few exercises to help me get the correct feel (hopping on each leg and doing a mid-foot strike, but then letting your heel touch the ground before you do the next hop; a surprisingly simple way to start to feel what the run should be like) and I think they helped.

Today I went out and ran another two miler as before, but with the focus on this more natural footfall. I also focused on my arm swinging as I noticed during the run that I don’t swing them straight through (I twist them across my body) and that I don’t hold them at <90 degrees. With the focus on these two areas I kept forgetting to count my uneven breathing, however, I did remember to push my feet up backwards quickly which essentially reduces the time your feet are on the ground.

For the first time today I actually think I felt the difference from pushing/lifting my feet backwards. That action seemed to propel me along and I could correlate the effort in the push with the forward momentum. That was a good feeling.

Recap of the things I am doing:
1) uneven breathing.
2) moving arms straight and holding them with a <90 degree angle, with relaxed hands. They should not cross your body.
3) pushing feet backwards and up quickly.
4) shifting foot strike to a mid-foot position, but ensuring that heel does still hit the ground.

Today's results were good and faster than previous attempts. I'm going to attach the screen grab from my iPhone that shows the evenness of the pace and the elevation of the route.

20130805-070025.jpg

At 7:29 pace for 2 miles, I’m pretty happy. A nice start to the week and the massage booked for tonight will surely help too.

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