Running has never been a strong point of mine, I was getting serious lower leg pain last year – shin splints if you like – which really cut down the volume of running I could do. On Russell’s instruction I started back out slowly, I made a concious effort to try and land more mid-foot as I was sure that the leg pain was being exacerbated if not caused by my heel strike and by the time Wimbleball came I was feeling pretty good. A few aches and pains still, but nothing that kept me from running, but no matter how long I spend running I never seem to get any better at it. Russ put me in touch with James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution and a few weeks ago I went down for a video assesment of my running style. First we discussed my history of running (brief), my injuries running (quite a few) and my plans for next season (ambitious) We got out onto the track at the Battersea Millenium Arena and after a 400m warm up he got me to do 4 laps around the track, the first at a reasonably slow pace, 2 faster in the middle and then drop it down again for the final lap. This was to see how my motion changes under different stresses and fatigue:
The main things to come out of it were:
• Slight heel strike, I’ve moved further up towards midfoot, but there’s still a slight heel strike, however my foot is pretty much under my body so not a massive problem
• Pronation is fine – it is nowhere near a level that needs to be looked at
• Drag my trailing leg using my hip flexors and quads rather than engaging my hamstrings and glutes.
• I am slightly bent forward at the hips, meaning that I have to push off to move forwards whereas I should be more upright and using gravity – although this doesn’t happen at pace – I use my hamstrings and glutes a lot more at speed.
• By using my hamstrings and glutes more I can have a more cyclical fluid motion rather than the slight stop / start at the moment.
• Too much twist in my upper body – which is odd really, flat in the water and massive rotation on the track!
So, I went away for a week and came back for my first coaching session. With a few tweaks James totally changed the way I run, here’s a comparison at the end of my first coached session: (00:00 – 00:09 “old style” 00:10 – 00:18 “new style”
You can see the difference in the run and this is from actively picking the heel up and using the hamstrings and glutes rather than hip flexors and quads. It feels much better, more free and light (although only for short periods at the moment, it is really painful on the calves!)
There is quite a lot of work still to be done, I am back to run one minute, walk one minute at the moment to try and build up the technique, and I’ve decided to pull out of the Maidstone half marathon this year to concentrate on getting it right as I hope to be much less injured and far more efficient at running, after all, more efficiency means better results for the same amount of effort!