Friday, January 6, 2012

The Spring in My Step

Or rather the lack of spring in my step is what I need to rectify. I was doing a run last week and as I ran up and alongside another runner, he picked up his pace to stay with me. Running side by side allowed me to compare and take note of our run gait, and I immediately noticed how much more springy and more lift he had with his stride. I had him on turnover and that's how we managed to stay in sync pace-wise, but definitely not stride-wise. I suspect he is a college-aged runner not only because I was running through the CAL campus, but such a springy gait could only come from someone with youth on his side. As I age, hitting the number 41 this year, I notice more and more factors working to bring down the spring in my step, and I'm speaking literally here as in my run gait, but I'm sure figuratively there are such factors as well. I've lost flexibility and muscle mass in my old age, and both contribute to the decline in my spring. To make matters worst, I've been racing the ironman distance the past three years, and the key to a fast ironman marathon is consistent fast turnover, and not spring in your step. But since I'm racing short this season, I need to find the spring in my step.

I've been focusing less on turnover and more on bounding during my runs. I exaggerate the bounding even more so when I'm running up hills. I also focus on getting more lift and more distance out of my rear push off leg, while getting more knee-lift out of my front leg. I gotta be careful and ease into it because the last thing I need is a stress fracture. I'm already noticing an improved distance per stride after three runs, as demonstrated in a drop in pace at the same heart rate/effort. As an old fogey, I have a harder time holding onto muscle mass so not only do I need to hit the weight room more frequently, I have to back up each weight session with proper nutrition, like a big glass of chocolate milk or putting glutamine in my smoothies. After two weeks, I've already noticed an uncomfortable tightness in my speedos, and the scales confirm more junk in the trunk. I hope to run into this guy again in the next couple of weeks and if all goes well, we'll be going stride for stride.


Beth said...

Here's to springy steps and junk in the trunk!!! :) Happy training Kiet!

Matt said...

have you tried the old school "bounding up hill" drills, they are fun... may help with spring ;)

martin briars said...

i hit the big 5 Oh this year (2012), so smiled at your "old age " remark :)
i couldn't agree more though about the loss of sring, the loss of muscle mass, and he general slowing down of the system... it is difficult to accept, but i've learned to go slower for longer - beats going short and fast anyday :)))
happy 2012 to you and yours