Somehow, my stint in Europe improved my run fitness. All I know is that the week I came home from Europe, I went out for a 10+ mile run, and finished it seeing 6:30 average pace on my Garmin. Since then, I've repeatedly seen numbers that confirm that I am indeed pretty fit on the run. But aside from numbers, I've really enjoyed running lately, mostly because my form and stride feels so much more like it used to back in the day when I was a "runner". But this feeling didn't come back overnight, but rather, something I've noticed improving starting the beginning of this year. I suspect my break from racing the ironman distance (less biking, less long and slow training miles) is a major contributor to my improved run feeling. But I also attribute it to doing more single leg squats. Yes, like everyone else, I too am praising the single leg squat, the "it" girl of endurance sports this year. Supposedly single leg squats both strengthen your hips and increase their flexibility. Over the weekend, I got a clue as to how weak hips affect my running.
I was doing my long run on Saturday, and the weather was atypically warm for San Francisco. I took off my shirt, rolled it up and wrapped it around my waist tucking the ends into my shorts (you know, what you see real runners do). My shirt stayed in place, with the ends tucked neatly in my shorts throughout most of the run. The plan was to run 12 miles thus I didn't carry any water and only one gel. But I got ambitious, tried a new route, and found myself bonking the last two miles of a 14+ mile run. But more importantly, during that bonk, I noticed the shirt jostling, and loosening from the shorts repeatedly, and I constantly had to tuck it back in. It then dawned on me that my hips were fatigued, and as a result, they were becoming increasingly unstable, and bouncing more and more. The increased bounce led to my shirt jostling loose. I focused on stabilizing my hips with each stride, and sure enough, my shirt jostled less and less. And stabilizing my hips during these "bonked" miles not only decreased the jostle of my shirt, it also saw me bring back down my pace per mile. So, if you've got an ironman left this season, you're gonna want some strong and stable hips that last 10K of the marathon.
And finally, I leave you with some pictures from Stockholm and St. Petersburg.
I'm basically interested in all things funny, health and triathlon related, and sustainable living. This blog used to accompany a website I built to raise awareness about cancer as well as raise money for different causes.