Made it through a tough 5k run

Goal : Weekend long run

Preparation:

  • Yesterday, I made a few mistakes including sleeping late last evening and lesser than usual water intake.
  • In the morning, as a result , I woke not feeling rested. Also, the advice of gradually and carefully upping the weekly mileage increase played in the back of my mind.

The Run:

  • I decided to go and run despite not being the best of physical state and mood.
  • Easy distance and slow speed, with no need to strain.
  • The breath through the run was good, never experienced shortness of breath.
  • There was a pain in the right knee during the run. After the run there was no pain.
  • The heel and the ankle hurt during the run. Overall, my legs hurt and felt heavier.

Post run

  • No stretches
  • the energy levels were only moderately high through the day.

I’ve decided to skip tomorrow’s run and just rest without any other training. Hopefully, I’ll feel better after the rest.

 

 

 

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Weekend long run

As per the plan today was to be the 2nd weekend long run:Training progress - 11th June '17.png

The Thu, 4.8 km run was a disaster. I barely managed the distance. I just got the cadence up, up to 180 bpm, on this run assisted by the metronome app on the phone. The distraction of holding the phone in the hand (as it wouldn’t work under a locked screen) and the higher cadence wore me down much faster than I’d expected. While I kept the cadence up after every step on this run, I was very disappointed. The run wasn’t satisfying, I was cramping, the knee was hurting and towards the last part I just walked.

After Friday’s rest, I decided to start easy and try a negative split for a 10K run. 1 liter of water immediately after waking up and intentionally remaining hydrated all the day on Friday was a right step. I don’t carry water on the run as I find that holding the water bottle is not helping me with my rhythm.

I started slow and easy after a quick warm up. The initial phase was slow as usual and then without any conscious effort I was running smoothly with barely any effort. I kept the focus and and a check on my pace ensuring there wasn’t any sudden acceleration. After the 1/2 way mark, I picked up the cadence slightly and it was only at closing in on the final distance did any effort come in.

10K practise - easy - 10th Jun'17

The run was satisfying and gave me the confidence that I can manage this distance at a better pace.

Drawing inspiration from the only virtual running group I’m subscribed to and with some smart eating and drinking, I should be good for another 10 K on Tue, 13th Jun ’17.

 

Prep to run my fastest 5K

The areas I’ll need to focus are

  1. Effortless movement
  2. Brisk pace – around 3 min/km
  3. Constant pace with enough in the tank for a 500 meter sprint
  4. Focus on proper form and good breathing
  5. Joy of running

Effortless movement: Drills and strength training are very important to hit this focus area. From my swimming experience, drills help to accelerate the improvement of form and motion range. The current specific issues which need to be corrected to improve the efficiency include occasional heel strike, over striding and very heavy landing.

Brisk pace: This is the toughest of all the focus areas as the body is not used to this pace. I still have not consistently recorded my 1 km pace. Speed drills and tempo runs with a metronome (@180 steps/min) have still not been included in the training. This week, I intend to have at least one speed drill – 1200 x 4  at a moderate pace followed by a good stretch.

Constant pace:  tempo runs with the metronome should surely help.

Form mindfulness: Open chest, standing tall, landing mid-foot and relaxing the back and chest should work here.

Joy of Running:  As I child, I loved to run and running meant unbridled joy. I still crave for that lost joy and during the course of each run, I try to discover a piece of that pure happiness without being overwhelmed my techniques, form and the other event in life. Meditate and be grateful for all the runs till date and the more that are lined up for you.

 

Chi running drills

My 2nd 10K, 3 weeks back; At around the 6k mark just as the end goal of completing without issues seemed to be possible, my left knee felt sore. It wasn’t the 1st time I was experiencing this pain. It does come by during the “training runs” like an old unwelcome guest every now and then. To me, someone who is jut getting used to running long distances, my breath was already labored at this stage – this is the time when ( I’m aware of it) the mind is playing tricks giving you excuses to quit running. But, on the other hand I have been carrying the tendinitis pains on my right calf. The rationalization I had was that unconsciously my left leg was over compensating to prevent the right from having to commit fully to the stride so that the stretch during the stride does not cause a flare up of the tendinitis pain in the right calf.

Post the run, the pain was mildly present over the next couple of days. I avoided running fearing it could make things worse.

On the next run, exactly 3 days after, the knee pain was back. I realized that this was now a posture issue which needed correction along with strengthening the muscles around the knee that can absorb the impact thereby protect the knee from further damage.  The search and reading cycle on the internet ensued and along the way I rediscovered Chi running, something I’d read about a few years back. The Chi running technique is supposed to minimize the impact on your joints while improving the efficiency of the run. To get started, it is recommended to correct the posture, coupled with a set of drills to imbibe the right Chi running form. Here are some of the drills that seemed to be easier to adopt for beginners that I will include in my training:

Heel Strike killer: (from: the guardian)

1) Stand with your feet pointing straight ahead, a hip-width apart.

2) Lengthen your spine so you’re feeling tall – raising your hands in the air above your head and allowing them to fall back can help, especially for corrections as you run.

3) Level your pelvis, which is generally tilted forwards. To do this, place one hand face down on your tummy with the thumb in your belly button and the other hand face up on your back directly opposite, then gently tip your pelvis back to a level position. You should feel your core muscles engage – but don’t go so far that your core becomes tense or that your glutes tighten.

4) Place both thumbs on the prominent front hip bone at the top of your legs and pivot forwards from there until you are balanced over your centre of gravity. For me, that meant leaning my top half forwards until I could just see the knot in the laces of my shoes when looking down – an extremely useful reference point which is key to the method for me.

5) Set a metronome at 180 beats per minute lean forwards (pivoting at the ankles) and let gravity do the work of moving you forwards.

Walking Spiderman Balancer :(from: running competitor)

From a standing position, take a long stride forward into a deep lunge position and lower the same-side elbow to the heel on the forward leg. From this position, drive off the forward foot, return to the upright position, and pull your trailing leg even with your forward leg. Repeat the movement with the opposite arm and leg. Continue lunging forward in a walking manner. Keep your chest up and try not to let the lower back round as you lunge.

Lander : (from: running competitor)

Concentrate on squeezing your right buttock the instant before your right foot touches the ground when you run, and doing the same on the left side. With the increase in stride rate, this one cannot be made permanent unless you do it consciously on every stride until it starts to happen automatically, which could take a few weeks.

Peg Leg: (ref: chirunning.com)

This exercise is best done walking. Use it as a warm up for a run; during the walking portion of your walk-run training plan; or whenever you’re just walking somewhere.

Walk as if you don’t have feet, as if your knees are what are directly in touch with the ground. Another image you could use is that you are walking on stilts. You should feel a set of muscles engage that you probably don’t feel while you are running. You’ll also probably notice your hips and hips flexors more than usual.

This drill helps engage your core, keeps your upper body forward, shortens your stride and helps you to completely relax your lower legs. All of these key components of good running form are contained in this simple exercise.

Walk using the Peg Leg image for a few minutes at a time, then run or walk while focusing on being aware of engaging the same muscles and a similar movement in the hips. Feel your posture while walking with Peg Legs, and maintain the same posture.

This is just a drill. It is not the way you want to run or walk all the time, but it helps inform your body of a more beneficial way to move.

Hold the Chi Ball:  (ref: chirunning.com)

This exercise can be practiced first while standing, then while ChiWalking® or ChiRunning® in small intervals. Practice in first or second gear when you are running (not a good idea for 3rd or 4th gear).

Begin by aligning your posture with shoulders, hips and ankles in a line. Then, curve your arms out in front of you, chest-high, as if you’re holding a big exercise ball. Notice how bringing your arms into this position brings your upper body slightly forward and engages your core muscles. Holding the Chi Ball puts your body into a perfect posture that is ideal for walking and running. Just hold the Chi ball for 5-10 seconds at a time. Then, try to hold onto the same posture feeling as you let your arms fall slowly to your sides. Finally, bend your arms to 90 degrees and resume the normal rearward ChiRunning and ChiWalking arm swing.

Throughout this exercise keep your shoulders relaxed and your core will engage even more. Allow your legs to relax as well. When you focus on holding the Chi ball, your legs will naturally relax and you’ll feel your body pulled forward by gravity. Try to memorize that sensation and duplicate it.

Do the Chi Ball Exercise for ten seconds every two minutes, until your body moves naturally and with good posture.

Running plan

I’ve have chosen to use the this plan to run my 1st half-marathon. Today was the 1st day of the plan and started here

training - start

Tried to keep the pace easy for the 1st half – 11:00 min/mile and a little faster in the 2nd half around 9:00 min/mile. The calf started acting up in the 2nd half with the tendon pain recurring. A cold pack post run didn’t do much to relive the pain. Getting a doctor’s appointment at the earliest is important now.
The post run stretching is also something that is missing in the routine. For the strength training, I’m looking at kits online. It also means that before buying the kit, I need to understand the strength training routine needed for running.

The routines I’m currently evaluating are:

The idea is to pick a sustainable initially easier routine and then look at advanced routines thereby avoid injury and fatigue.

The strength training kit, I’m looking to order is this.

My 2nd 10K

Featured

TCS World 10K 2017, this was the 2nd 10K after my debut in the same event last year. I clocked 1:04:41 this time. Overall, it was very satisfying to have trained, albeit very moderately owing to a calf strain, and to have completed the event.

Tried some changes with the diet too by changing the carb intake till a few days before the event. Since carbs are expected to fuel the run, I stuck to rice for 3 days prior to the event and supplemented potatoes for the extra carbs. It did not make a lot of apparent difference though during the race, but the post race recovery was quick, not sure if it was the carbs. Another change was vitamin D3 supplement. I was diagnosed with low vitamin D3 about a decade ago and prescribed Vitamin D3 oral supplements with instructions to be in the sun for 30 minutes everyday. This time during the training run, I repeatedly had calf strains. Reading online to understand the issue, it seemed to be like a case of Achilles tendinitis. Any additional strain like an uphill run would result in acute pain for about 2 days. The doctor advised me to go through the course of the oral supplement which I’d resisted all along.

The training sessions, while preparing for the race, were interesting as I stuck to my 5 km goal for every run. While the recovery in the practice runs after the 5 km was never an issue, the actual 10K race gave me sore knees and muscles – its a couple of days since the event.

The race was different this time, as I focused on breathing well throughout the race and not worrying too much about keeping my heart rate in check. As advised by most runners, the two stage view of the race helped – the 1st stage being till the race midpoint. Stage 1 pace was evenly paced around 10:15 min/mile (per my Fitbit surge). While the fatigue started to creep up, this still was ok considering that this was the practice run distance. The 2nd stage was labored especially after the 7 km mark and I stopped at least twice. The pace was also slightly faster (9:03 min/mile) in the 2nd stage as the push was to go sub-60.

The tendon and the calf area were mostly cool and only towards the fag end did the pain come back. I’d popped a analgesic the day before as there was soreness in the calf area from the previous practice run from two days ago. Also I used a different shoe as opposed to my regular trainers. I used the Lunar Glide for this run and the added heel support worked in my favor.

For now I’m just sticking to some hand exercise and stretches to avoid injury.  Some changes I will start to make when I restart the training on Thursday:

  • Speed sessions
  • Long runs over the weekends – at the bare minimum 10 km.
  • Weight training for running
  • Running drills
  • Dynamic stretches.

Also, I’ve in my cross hair the next 10K which is a couple of months from now.