Sunday, January 15, 2012

Natural running vs. Organic running

Today's run was great!! The first of what I hope to be many small breakthru's.  Sunny and cold but very little breeze made the weather perfect for a little 3 mile jaunt down the CCT.  I was able to run the whole thing without stopping.  Meaning I walked the first 200m, stopped to tie one shoe at the top of the first hill and the other one at the bottom.  I did walk at the turnaround but only 3-5 steps, just enought to reverse direction and get moving again.  Don't know the pace or time, it's not important right now but I felt like a 9:45 pace was sustainable.  I find that I need to wear a bit more clothes then I would have if I was moving faster.  I'm def. still getting used to the forefoot strike and would have been much quicker in my old heel strike/mild pronator style.  But I was comfy and relaxed. 

A couple of form notes.  I did much better being consistant with the fore foot strike.  It doesn't feel "natural" yet but it is inching closer.  I have find that it helps get me into the proper form if I bounce in place for a few seconds and do alternate leg butt kicks.  From that movement I just lean my hips forward but keep my body pretty much straight and away we go.  I can feel my body working with every step, trying to adjust from what it is used to into what it will become.  Another trick I try to do is land with about 67% of my body weight on the front ball of the foot and just about 33% on the heel.  Maybe it is more like the old 80/20 rule again.  But that's what it feels like to me.  I also try to land with a bit more flex in the knee so the decelaration from landing on the ground is absorbed in the quads.  The Hammy's and Glutes, the gang responsigle for forward movement, are as strong as they need to be since they have not been complaining yet.  But my lower legs get tight and achey and tired pretty quick.  I have been working on strengthing them at the gym for 3 weeks now and I will continue to do so untill I feel that they are not the limiting factor anymore.  In the gym I usually start or finish each session with  a circuit of bent knee calf raises, straight leg calf raises (step heel drop) and one leg balance stuff on the Bosu.  Although the lower legs were hurting today like always I still had to force myself to hold the run at 3 miles rather then add the viciously steep but short half mile loop at the back of Norwood Park.

I've hear this style of running being refered to as "Barefoot Running," or "Chi-Running" or "POSE Method"  I've also refered to it as "Crazy running" before.  Now I think of it more as Natural running or Organic Running.  This form feels like the way our bodies are supposed to move if we just get out of our own way and let the body do what feels right.

Final thought.  How come when I go running, 3 times out of 5 I have to stop and poop in the woods.  Does a bear do it in the woods?  Can't say for sure.  Does a long distance runner do it in the woods?  Magic 8 ball says,"Absolutly!"

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