My running self-experimentation: Progress?

It was about 3 weeks ago now when I decided to adopt a different running style. Hopefully I would increase my endurance and reduce the frequent injuries. After all if I could resolve those two issues it would mean I could enjoy my running even more.

So how am I doing?

Week 1: This was a steep learning curve. I went out for a few runs around from 6-8 miles. The first thing I learned was how much concentration is required to adopt a new running style. As soon as I switched off my technique returned to my old form. Quickly berating myself, I would start concentrating again. Mid foot strike, short quick students, keep foot, knee and head in alignment and remember to use those butt cheeks.

At the end of the first week I felt surprisingly good. No signs of and aches or pains in my shins or knees. The only issue I was suffering from was muscle ache. My calfs and butt cheeks were really aching, but then I was exercising muscles to an extent not previously used to.

Week 2: Unfortunately this was a complete write off due to work commitments and the little one being ill at home. In away this allowed my sore muscles to recover, but I was eager to continue.

Week 3: Everything was going so well. Managed to get out for an hours run early in the week, covering just over 12.5km. Felt really good, foot strike and form were going well and didn’t feel tired at all by the end. Disaster struck when I went out for my next run. I was feeling so good, apart from a little aching in my calfs and glutes, that I became ambitious and went for a HM stroll around the Great Park!

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Totem Pole at Virginia Waters

By the time I had finished my knee was in agony. Having slept on the problem and waking up with little improvement in the knee pain, I wanted to analyse what went wrong. The run started fine, felt good barring the aches and I was really looking forward to it. The scenery in the park was fantastic. At the halfway point my knee was starting to show signs of soreness, I was beginning to feel tired and my muscles were aching even more. At this point I should have probably listened to my body and walked the rest of the way, however my stubbornness meant I kept on going wanting to complete my HM. Another lesson to be learned!

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HM halfway point in Virginia Waters

My conclusion was that my painful knee was a direct result of my failings at maintaining the correct running form. As my calfs and glutes ached before I even started running, my form was slightly off leading to a greater impact on my knee. Rather than a mid foot strike, which would have naturally absorbed and taken the shock away from my knee, I had resorted back to a heel strike. Coupled with fatigue I failed to identify the issue and correct the problem.

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The local wildlife came to watch my run in the Great Park

Moving forward the first thing I need to do is give my knee time to recover. Next I need to address the root cause, which was muscle soreness. If my calfs and glutes hadn’t been aching so much, my running form would not have suffered. Therefore I need to reduce my distance and allow the calf muscles and glutes to strengthen. Once I have done this I will be able to retain the correct running form.

To be continued.