My running form has been pretty abysmal lately. Legs like lead, pace like an old lady(okay, okay, don`t start!) and I`ve gloomy thoughts creeping in about last year being maybe as good as I`m ever going to get.
Hmmmm. Time to change things around.
Have been reading Danny Dreyer`s “Chi Running“. It appeals because it claims to minimize injury while also minimizing the effort one puts into running. And anyway, I`m biased towards anything that encourages me to really enjoy running.
As I`ve been leafing through the book, I realised I`d had Danny Dreyer`s epiphany myself. Not quite on the road to Damascus but on a long slow run last September. My feet were protesting just a tad back then-Achilles stuff rather than my subsequent marathon ligament and joint crap-and I just felt I`d have to really really relax my feet, relax my body as I ran. And, even more critically, shut the hell up and totally concentrate on what my body was trying to say. Didn`t go down too well with my running buddy at the time but it sure worked for me. After a mile or two of niggles, my feet co operated again, and, as the run went on and I hit an almost meditative frame of mind, enjoying the rhythm of the whole thing, have to say I didn`t feel I`d run twenty miles at all. Just felt really really good.
Well, I`m plainly not in that position in the past few weeks. Yep, recovery of feet from marathon really has taken a long time. I haven`t signed up for physio or anyone else beyond getting orthotics for work wear and walking. I`m just tuning into what my feet want. Doing whatever running they can manage and, from a foot recovery point of view, that approach seems to have worked for me. But at the cost of speed and possibly endurance.
Yesterday was meant to be a long run. Ran with leaden legs a total of 3.20 miles. Hated every second of it.
So, last night, I dug into Danny Dreyer`s book in ernest. Learnt how to change my posture in order to improve my running form. Also decided, even though I`d use the Garmin to time my run, I wasn`t going to fuss about time, just really relax, almost hit into meditative mode and just enjoy the whole movement.
Another factor was the route. I didn`t plan to go to a particular place or distance. But I did start off from a completely different part of town, with the intention of just following my nose around the place.” Relax and enjoy” were the key words.
And I did. I was barely breathing. Just moving along, tuning into the forward lean and the back stride that Danny recommends. My pace was slow-real slow. But I didn`t care. I`ve plenty of time to get faster. Aim was only to enjoy myself. No mega push. I`d say my heart was barely breathing. And all of me felt good.
It`s been good to get used to the Garmin too. I like that it keeps a record of everything and now, that it and Chi Running are new to me. I might as well start at a very low base line. Which I have. Pace was just shy of eleven minutes. Distance 4.50 miles. And yep, I enjoyed every second of it.
The runner in the above pic is Irish athlete Catherina McKiernan. She does a lot of work with Chi Running. She has weekend workshops on the topic and I emailed her about attending one of them. Won`t quote her directly here now, as I haven`t sought her permission, but I did get a delightful and lengthy email back from the lady herself all about the whole Chi Running workshop and how it might help with my foot problems. I am sorely tempted to attend. I really want to run the marathon again this year, really want to do it injury free and under 4.30 minutes.I just don`t have €110-€150 on a workshop right now.
So, my recessionista solution has been to invest in the paperback from the originator of the Chi Running principles. It`s not quite the same as having Catherina analyse my form on video and in person, but `twill have to do for now.
I`m hoping I`ll tune into some of my September LSR form, time and distance, over the next couple of monthsa and all with even less effort.
Anyway, tonight`s run has been encouraging. So, we`ll see.