Monday, November 15, 2010

Hurry Up and Gait

It’s taking some time, but I’m finally getting out of the Post-Marathon funk. It’s strange how you can train for almost five months, run one race, and suddenly become so tired and sore that you barely want to walk ten minutes let along begin another training cycle.

I’ve had the opportunity to dissect and analyze my disappointing marathon result.

Disappointing by my standard, when put in the context of celebrity finishers in the New York Marathon, it appears my time holds up. My disappointment is in the fact that I know I’m capable of better.

I spent an afternoon getting my running form evaluated. There is only one word to describe what I saw on the video.


My entire left side appeared locked. My left shoulder was higher than my right side, minimal arm swiwg on that side and very little movement in my left hip. I knew I was sore on the left side but what I saw was disturbing. It makes me wonder if the aches and pains I was experiencing during the taper were in fact more significant than imaginary.

Another obvious flaw was in my posture. I try to run upright and not bend at the waist. Instead of getting my pelvis aligned correctly, my chest is sticking out in front and my butt is sticking out in back. I’ve known about my hind quarters but thought I was correcting it better than just puffing out my chest.

The key seems to be in getting the pelvis tucked under properly and my extremely tight hip flexors aren’t helping in that department.

I’m beginning to wonder that when I’m tired if I’m also perpetually dorsiflexing my feet by pulling my toes up as well.

The last piece of the puzzle may be in another part of my foot strike. I do my best not to land on my heels. Most of the time I’m successful but there are times when I’m not in control of my pace. There are times when I’m running with a pace bunny, that I compromise my stride. I remember banging down a couple of hills in Toronto in an effort to slow down to stay with the pace group. When I paced Rebecca , I was the one controlling the pacing within some limits. We agreed on walking the water stops, and there was an early bio break within the first 3km. Our pacing varied from some 5:30’s to some 4:45’s. For the most part we hovered close to 5:10. I was comfortable, fresh and not a single twinge from the calves. For me it was simply a training run. (and a good one at that)

Lots of low hanging fruit to pick after the gait analysis. In some respects, there was almost an overload of information. I’m trying to break down what I learned in to some simple steps I can implement into my training before Disney.

Stretch: Focus on my hip flexors and piriformis. See an RMT once or twice.

Form: Fix my alignment, get the butt tucked in. Unload my calves.

Run: Relax the upper body, pull up the leg with the hamstring, and relax the foot. Land on the mid foot.

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