These days I’m going for a little less gimp. I need to get rid of that I’m-hanging-on-for-dear-life stride that gave me shin splints and calf strain.
I’m changing my gait. Not completely and not entirely on purpose either. But it would be nice if both feet hit the ground the same way instead of the lame-looking left-foot heel strike/right-foot toe strike move I showed the running coach last month.
The bike has helped. I feel more strength in my quads and glutes, and I got to thinking: If I was going to push 170 pounds with my legs (as in with a leg press), would I do most of the work with my calf muscles or would I use my quads and glutes?
Definitely quads and glutes – they can handle so much more. So I’m trying to run with them, powering them through my core, which is giving me more of a heel-strike type gait, I think, in both feet. So, technically, I’m only changing my right side.
I’ve had to concentrate more on my stride while running, though, in order to do this and that sometimes makes my brain tired. However, I am faster when I run this way, and I feel stronger and more powerful.
In doing a little research about running and foot strike, I’ve read that a heel strike can make you slower. But, so far, I’m faster. It would be interesting to see if I really am hitting the ground with my heel or if it’s actually a mid-foot strike. Either way, I’m staying away from toe-striking.
I’m pretty sure the right-foot toe-strike caused the calf strain and shin splints, which were a lot worse in my right leg.
On Sunday, I tried to stay focused for all 3.5 miles. Sometimes, I counted 1-2-3-4 over and over to make sure my legs where hitting the ground evenly. I’m hoping I’ll be able to run without thinking about it this much eventually.
A nice side effect to concentrating on my gait is that it reminds me to drop my arms down to my center, near my hips, and thrust them back and forth, instead of the power-sucking side-to-side thing I do when I get tired. I think this also has contributed to my improved pace recently.
I’m not exactly sure what was contributing to each leg having its own unique stride. I hypothesized with Coach Tony: “It could be my herniated disc. You know, one side compensating for the other. Or an subconscious thing I do to avoid back pain.”
He hypothesized back that it could be that my right leg is shorter than my left, thus throwing of my balance, which is what may have caused the herniated disc and may be why the arch on my right foot is high and my left arch is flat.
Coach Tony also recommended I got to a podiatrist he loves in Seattle, and I have yet to make an appointment. I don’t know why. I guess I was hoping everything would just go away.
It is. Slowly, but it is. However, I know it can all come back. Plus, I still get back pain, and although, it’s NOTHING like it was just over a year ago (before the days of this blog), it’s still there. Maybe a professional can shed some new light on that. And I should have my feet and legs examined while I’m not training for an epic 26.2-miler. That would be smarter.
I don’t want to go gimpy again and have to miss my big race whenever that’s going to be.
I took an unscheduled rest day on Monday. I got up early to go to the gym, but I had a headache and felt exhausted. Sometimes, you just know when you need to sleep more. I still have this cold! I’m still blowing my nose and popping my ears. It’s annoying.
T Junior and I just sort of hung out in our jammies for the morning, but then he came up to me and said, “I go a libwawy.” How could I resist that?
So, we got dressed and went to the library. Then we went to the Goodwill to find him another pair of jeans. It’s just not getting warm here and he had a growth spurt. I found a pair of new Gap jeans for $7, too! It turned out to be a fun morning.
During T Junior’s nap, I finally got around to Dimity’s Core Workout (still had a headache). The goal is M, W, F. I started it last week.
2×25 crunches on the ball
2×15 squats with ball against wall
2×15 pushups with the ball
2×15 lunges with the ball – each leg
25 sec. plank hold; 26 sec. plank hold
12 tricep dips; 11 tricep dips
2×15 back extensions on the ball
2×30 oblique twists on the ball
Monday night, I folded the piles of laundry that had been strategically placed on unusued furniture. It took about an hour, then I got my gym bag ready for the morning. I did not want to miss another bike workout.
I got up at 4:30, but it wasn’t early enough. I wanted to do an hour bike ride, but I only had time for 30 minutes with a 5-minute cooldown. At least I got there!
I rode 8.46 miles in 30 minutes (level 8 on random) while I read Run Like a Mother. The 5-minute cooldown turned out another mile. I stretched afterward.
In the car, my stomach started to hurt. Not like I ate something bad, but it felt like menstrual cramps. There is no reason for those right now, so I wonder if I pulled a muscle in my abdomen or something. It was gone by 9 a.m. Weird.
At lunch, I made the podiatrist appointment. It is Friday.
Oh, and I bought a new running skirt because they are having a sale! If you want to try one, I highly suggest buying one now. They are 50% off — the one I bought was $27 (that’s with tax and shipping). I like the RunningSkirt brand because they are a little longer than the skirts I own that are made by other companies. They also are cut in a flattering A-line shape.
Mr. T bought me a black Skirt Sports skirt for Christmas. It’s cute and has a pocket in the back, which I like. But I tried it on on Sunday and it’s a little skimpy. I told him I need to drop 10 pounds before I can wear it because I look a like a jogging hooker.
COMING UP: A giveaway!
Be careful with the gait changes. It's tricky to get right without causing further stresses.I stocked up on running skirts too. Love your comment on being a jogging hooker! too funny!
I got a running skirt too! I couldn't resist. I tried to see if any of the colors were available…and the only one in my size left was the hautepink/pink…so I'm down with that. What color did you get?And I think it's great that you are trying to change your gait/stride. At first it might seem a little annoying to think about it so much during your run, but I'm sure it'll get way easier and prevent those pesky injuries. T Junior is seriously wicked adorable. It was great to see you two on Saturday!
I've been browing their sale today too!
I think it's a really good idea to be using this running “down time” to improve your gait. I hope it pays off!!
A jogging hooker lol.. that's funny.I'm impressed with the amount of thought that you put into running. I don't do that lol.
Okay, you're the first person who's ever mentioned the whole menstrual cramp type pain after exercise. I totally get that whenever I do a difficult, long run and I find it just weird. I've always chalked it up to maybe using some really deep core muscles while secretly being paranoid that I'm jarring my uterus out of place. 😛 Good luck with the gait change… it must be hard to change your natural gait, but sounds like it with pay off.
Thanks for the reminder about the skirts. Just snagged one. 🙂
Good for you Kerrie!! I am impressed with your ambition! I do spin class two days a week (for 30 high intensity min, 25 warm up) and definitely know that my quads are working when I run! The bike is a great item to use to help you be a better runner!!! I look forward to the day I can keep up with you better!
Adjusting gait is difficult. Seems like you are attacking it the right way though. Give it time.
darnit! all my size skirts w the compression shorts are sold out! I'm afraid of the brief…chafey.
ok wait! I got a princess skirt in PINK! I don't usually wear pink so i'm going to have to draw strength from you 🙂 speaking of gait…that's what i've been working on w/ my pt guy (who you saw at NODM, cutie-pie-too-close-talker) who got me into the barefoot running as a way to change my gait. he is making me go from heel-strike to mid-foot strike. anyway – it's the second time i've used a Therapeutic Associates clinic and it's been really good. It seems they specialize in staff who are runners?If your insurance will cover it, it might be work getting a referral to see a sports PT? there might be a TA clinic near you? I think they're all over around here. they could watch you run & do a gait analysis and give you tips on how to improve your biomechanics. plus, give you tips on how to deal w/ calf issues, shin splints, etc. they would have more science to put behind your gait analysis than the coach?either way – it's great you're thinking about that stuff. i hope that your strategy helps you overcome this bump in your training.
You might want to look up the book “Brain Training for Runners” by Matt Fitzgerald. In that book he has several drills to assist with your gait. The bottom line is you concentrate on one drill per week as you change things. After all – you are “training” right?