Getting Faster

on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 8:26 PM

I lied when I said I didn't have a goal in mind during previous post.  I would obviously like to try and meet my BQ time which would be 3:15 to run in 2016. Seems such a long time away.  In a perfect world, I would have used NY last year as a springboard for winter training to make an attempt for a spring BQ that would enable me to run next year, but a winter of being lazy recovering messed that up.

So I've been giving some thought to trying to improve my form which a foot pod should help with. I think faster turnover is better efficiency which should result in increaseed speed.  Just manually counting, I am usually around 86-87 foot falls a minute at long run pace.  I can get it to 91-92 when doing LT runs.  I've been trying to do my recovery runs at 90, but it just doesn't seem to translate when I swtich back to long runs.  90@ recovery pace just feels very unnatural to me. Maybe if I keep at it, it will eventually become the norm.

I've been spending a lot of time on youtube researching running form and the big thing seems to be the pose/chi running style of midfoot landing.  This got me thinking of how do I actually land. Judging by the wear on my shoes, I'm not quite a heel striker, but I land towards the outside of my foot about 3/4 of the way down, so not quite a mid-foot striker either. Back in my 3:10 marathon days, the forefoot would wear faster than my heel so maybe my form just naturally changes as I get faster. I'd like to change that around though and change my form so that it results in increased speed.
Decided to try and confirm with a video. Drove my DSLR camera and tripod to the track and recorded myself running at various paces. 

Channeled a bit of Baywatch and Michael Bay as I probably overkilled a bit on the slow motion. It's only about 30 sec of actual running that somehow became almost 10 minutes of video. These are at increasing paces so scroll towards the end to see the more relevant runs.

The first two are at recovery pace and I'm just sort of hopping along and the last two are at strides pace. At strides pace, I'm pretty sure I'm mid-foot landing, but it's hard to say as my foot is pointing upward until the foot almost touches and them it sweeps under me as it takes my weight to land mid-foot. At slower paces, there's the odd time that I appear to mid-foot land, but for the most part, it looks like the 3/4 foot landing.  It could be as simple a fix as just pointing my foot down or increasing my flexiblity to land more mid-foot or just increasing cadence, I'm not sure.  I'll try the video again in a few months once the speedwork starts kicking in and see if there's a difference. 

Foot pod

on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 8:05 PM

After thinking about it for a little while, I really think cadence information might be useful so I tried my luck on ebay and ended up buying a footpod from that place where we all get our cheap electronics from.... Israel.  I'm still trying to figure that one out.   Polar devices are made in Finland, so I suppose it's kind of close, but not really.  In all it was $62 US and depending on whether Canada Post does their job of screening imported stuff, there may be import charges and taxes of another $20 or so. 

Total damage will be a bit less than $90 CDN in worst case scenario.  Considering I can get a Garmin footpod from Amazon for less than $80 all in and shipped to my door next day, it's still a bit pricey, but they way I look at it, I won the Polar GPS watch in a contest so I suppose Polar deserves a bit of money from me. Shipped the old fashion way so I"m guessing that it will be at least 3 weeks until I get it.


on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 9:18 PM

So it's that time of the year again for my first post of the year. Last year, I waited till August, so a whole month earlier is a bit of an improvement. 

Yeah I know I still haven't written a race report for NY. There's really not much to say, other than:

I went. I ran. I finished.

3:55 and change which looking back now was surprising considering the circumstances of my injury.

After a winter of forced rest and allowing my leg to heal, the training is back on.  Right now I'm targeting a fall marathon.  Tentatively was looking at Niagara falls with a back up of Hamilton.  Niagara though seems to be filling up pretty fast. It's two-thirds sold out and there's still a good 3 months till race day.  Looking like I won't be able to do the last minute registration thing like I've done in the past. 

Not sure what goal time will be, but I'll let the training dictate that and figure it out a few months from now. As for training, I'm sticking with the Pfitz plan basically but thinking that I should try and improve my running efficiency a bit. I've been very intrigued by cadence measurements that you can get in the new garmins. I use a polar GPS device and can only get cadence through a foot pod.  Not sure I want to spend over $100 to get cadence information when I can just as easily count myself during a run, but it would be nice to have it automatically collected.