Saturday, August 12, 2017

Keys

I'm finally getting back to a level where I got through 2 workouts which could be construed as full workouts, even though I still have a long way to go before I feel that I'm in decent shape.  The first was 2 hours of hill repeats on Thursday and the second was 5x1 mile repeats today.  In both cases, I got through the workouts due to some keys I hit on during the workouts.

The key I hit on in the first workout came from the Mary Poppins movie in the scene where she is helping Jane and Michael pick up the play room. Well begun is half done which according to Brainy Quote is from Aristotle.  I felt like quitting at the beginning of the third rep but noticed that after I got started up the hill, things went pretty smoothly.  So I recalled that quote just before I started each subsequent rep and that got me through the workout.

The problem going into the track workout today was that my flat runs have not been going well at all. In addition, running with shoes (except my New Balance on trails) has not been going well. Today's warm-up consisted of riding my bike to the high school, then jumping jacks in the grass, a couple of carioca passes and then 4x40m in the grass, but not that fast.

But the important thing is to start that first rep. As I write this, I recall yet another quote, attributed to Goethe by W.H. Murray: Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. So I started the first rep at a pace that was a bit too fast since I had no idea what my pace would be. The pace settled down but my problem wasn't a pace question; it was a form question. I started the third rep but then quit about 10 seconds in. I walked back to the start and I think at that point told myself a familiar key, which is to "lift my heels".  With that, I restarted the rep. After that, a smaller problem was that I was going from sticking my butt out to tucking it under, neither of which was correct.  So that eventually clicked to the other key, stay long through the hips.

Any runner ought to have some familiar keys to which they refer either in workouts or races. My key with the hill repeats was more on the inspirational side, basically telling myself to start each rep well. My keys with the track workout were more form cues on how to use my body. I've used both type of keys in races.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Eureka

I think I may have found my (running) problem.  Let me narrate the thought process:

I hooked up with my old training group and ran stadiums that night.  I was taking short steps on the stairs, not bench to bench as I used to.  I think running those steps and working on turnover may have clicked something in my head about how to relax.

So the next time I ran hill repeats at Workman Hill in Whittier, I started working on relaxation while going up the last climb.  This translated quite quickly into a feeling of "tossing" with my foot by relaxing before I've even left the ground.  The next hill workout, mostly on just the other side of Turnbull Canyon was an exercise in tossing the foot in the same way.

This worked with no soreness or tightness as a result.  I'm super-optimistic.