Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Course & New Personal Best Distance

I plotted out a new course last Monday using and then went out and ran it. It was a 12 miler from my work. The first and last two miles were all on nice smooth cement sidewalk. I was afraid the course might have a lot of gravel and glass since it follows an industrial use road. But it was actually fairly clear. I did most of my running on the white lane marker line (we call that the "fog-line"). The last section before the turnaround point is 1/2 mile up and back on beach sand, which was kind of nice! I even did some running in the water just for fun. The area is near a bird refuge, so there were a lot of birds flying overhead. I think they were trumpeter swans by their very distinctive sound. This run matches my furthest single distance I've run so far!

Someone asked me about my recent success in increasing my running distances & frequency. Here's what I answered:

Most recently, I have focused on keeping my feet more beneath my torso and keeping my knees bent. It was such a hard to shake, in-grained belief that I had to put my feet out in front of me to run.
I have been thinking about the angle of my shins with each step. I try to keep the angle of my shins relative to the ground as close to 90 degrees or less (when my legs go behind me) and try to never let them go more than 90 degrees (meaning I'm putting them out in front of me too much.) This has helped me a lot.

Closely associated with this exercise is knowing that I need to keep my knees bent more than I thought necessary. This forces me to automatically place my weight more towards the fore-foot, so I don't really have to think about BHB (ball-heel-ball) action.

These two things, angle of my shins and knees bent, have helped me to stop sliding and twisting of my feet against the ground, which was causing me to have skin erasure.

One other thing I have been working on is increasing my "swivel-hip" action with each step. This also seems to help align my foot as it is placed on the ground and helps eliminate friction to the skin on my feet.

So, those have been the secrets to my slight rise in success lately. I'm always working on improving things, though. As I slowly increase my distances I am also increasing my over-all conditioning. So form and conditioning go hand-in-hand, or foot-in-foot. I can't improve conditioning with bad form which limits my ability to run.

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