Time to Train

Last night, I was looking through some old photo albums and came across some running pics from back in the day.

Heel striking like a boss since '96.

Heel striking like a boss since ’96.

So it appears this poor form thing is nothing new. It’s just that years of wear and tear are taking a bit of a toll. When I think about the fact that I’ve been running (somewhat) competitively since I was 12 (with the exception of a few years of injury-induced hiatus), it’s kind of a miracle I didn’t feel the effects of my heel striking on my joints sooner than last year.

However, it’s comforting to know that old habits die hard.

heel striking monument10k

Yep, that’s what was happening last weekend at the Monument 10K.

Still, I have my heart set on training for the Decker’s Creek Half Marathon on June 1. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a kick ass time and that I was going to let myself just enjoy the run. I want this to be a comeback race for me. I need this to be a comeback race for me.

I’d also be lying if I said I felt 100% confident that my hip/back injury was fully healed, especially since I’m pretty sure it wasn’t during my marathon training last fall. In fact, I probably made it worse. The 4 months I took off after the marathon (btw, every time I try to type that word, I type “marathong.” sheesh.) were absolutely necessary, and I’m sure they helped. My new found love of strength training is working in my favor, too. I’m a lot stronger now, and that has to make a difference in keeping things where they’re supposed to be. Still, I know I need to be careful.

The fact is this: when you heel strike, you put 2.5 times your body weight on your foot with every strike. That force travels up your leg to your ankle, your knee, your hip, your back with every strike. For a 30 minute run, we’re talking about 2,500 to 3,000 strikes per foot. I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to have that not affect your body in some adverse way.

I do still want to remake my form, but I know I can’t do it while I’m training. And horrible decision or not, I’ve decided to train knowing it could cause me to re-injure myself. I am, however, attempting to be smart about my training so that won’t happen. That means leaving my watch at home and taking it easy on the majority of my runs. One speed/tempo run per week is plenty, and my long runs have to be slower–at least 60 to 90 seconds slower than my target race pace. And strength training? Non-negotiable. I’m committing to at least 3 weight training sessions per week, plus core work. Finally, I have to make myself stretch. Must must must. Before and after–even if I don’t feel like it.

Even with slower runs (and shorter ones, too!), I know my training will still be intense and that I have to be very careful. But I also know that I’m ready to train again and that I can do it. gone mad

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11 thoughts on “Time to Train

    • Oh stop! I’m so impressed with how much you’ve been out there lately! I would definitely get your stride analyzed–it’s fascinating!

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  1. PattiR says:

    Okay, so i’ve recently realized that i’m also a heel striker. And who’d have thunk it…have also been dealing with a knee issue. I’m new to distance running (first half was last year) so i really don’t know where to start with working on my form. What is your advice? Should i hire a running coach…..how do i get my stride analyzed? I buy my shoes from a running store, but they’ve never watched me run (should i go to a different store)? Any advice you have would be fab….thanks!

    • Oh no! Sorry to hear about your knee issue. I would definitely get your stride analyzed. They do it lots of different places, but if you’re up for hiring a coach, I’d go to that person and see how they can help you. I know a lot of running stores do it now, but they’re also trying to sell you shoes, so I’m a little wary of their analysis. If you don’t want to hire a coach, try to find a Newton Running Form Clinic (http://www.newtonrunning.com/running-form/form-clinics) near you. I loved the one I attended and learned a ton! Good luck!

  2. Anna says:

    Any advice on training for a half marathon that’s two weeks away? The furthest I’ve gotten to run so far is 6 miles, but I felt great doing it! I’ve had finals the last two weeks and haven’t had much time to run. May 5th is creeping up on me and I desperately need to log some more miles.

    • Hi Anna! That’s tough–have you ever run a half before? I don’t know how much you can build your endurance in 2 weeks, but if I were you, I’d try to get in at least one 10 mile run either this Saturday or next. Keep your mileage shorter during the week–you don’t want to jump up to 25 miles per week if you’ve only been doing 10 or so because your body won’t like it. Otherwise, I’d just keep it slow and steady on race day, walk the water stops if you need to, and just have fun. Good luck!

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