Sunday, September 19, 2010

20 Miler and Coach's Feedback

Not all runs can be awe inspiring, runners high educing endeavors.  In fact, on average I only consider 1 out of every 3 of my 18+ mile runs "good".  However, on Saturday, I bucked the odds and had one of my best 20 milers to date.  20 miles at 7:55 pace.

Honestly I wish I knew what contributed to the success of this run.  It had a few things stacked against it.  I had loaded up on birthday cake and burgers the night before while at a cousin's birthday party.  I reset my alarm from 5am to 6am because I was so exhausted - resulting in an ending run temperature of 90 degrees.  However, I DID hold off on any birthday beers (don't all 5 year old birthday parties involve drinking?) and super hydrated to the point of a stomach ache.  I did the same thing before my 5K last weekend and wanted to see if it would help on the longer runs as well.  Needless to say, I will be doing this from now on.

Here is the graph of my overall mileage.  I don't show this for you to have an epiphany about the massive quantities of data exploding into your cornea, but to show you that I really did have a consistent, solid run.  (And, Okay, maybe to try to explode your cornea)

Relatively steady pace (with spikes for stoplights)
Note that I pushed the pace ever so slightly for the last 5 miles

That said, my run wasn't all rainbows and unicorns.  When I was only two miles in, I felt the urge to......go.  Knowing that I was on a relatively barren stretch of desert and that the prospect of hiding behind a cactus didn't seem all that appealing, I decided that doing an immediate about face get back to my house was the best course of action.

I've had a string of long runs that have required these mid run pit-stops.  I really need to figure out what is going on prior to the Denver Marathon as losing an entire 5 minutes during the races doesn't appeal to me - which would likely result in a Paula Radcliffe style "break".


As you might recall, I recently taped myself running to have my gait analyzed by a certified running coach. I've been given the green light by Chris @ BQ or Die to let you know that the coach (his coach) was Coach Jeff @ PRS Fit. Because I know that you are all wondering with baited breath at seeing me shirtless, here again is the video of me running, Baywatch style.

When I spoke with him on the phone, as much as I thought that he would, the coach didn't say that I ran like this guy:
In fact, the coach said that my 5K form didn't look too horribly bad.  The other speeds?  Drunk Monkey.  FML.

The good was that at 5K speed, I:

  • Landed my feet under my body with my knee bent slightly
  • Kicked my knees high
  • Minimized my bounce thereby putting my energy forward
  • Maintained a high cadence

The bad was basically at all other speeds.  The slower I became, the more my form degraded, and the more I resembled an intoxicated primate. I:

  • Landed more on my heel resulting in more man-boob inducing bounce, more impact on my legs, and almost a breaking effect
  • Landed my feet more out in front of me
  • Slowed down my cadence

Ok, that is all fine and good, but what can I actually DO about it?  What is going to keep me off the couch and out of the co-pay hungry doctors office?  That is, what kinds of things can I do to improve?  There seemed to be two major points:

  • Stay only slightly bent at the waist (if any), but bend forward slightly at the ANKLES.   This seemed to make sense, however in practice was/is very hard to do.  The reason is that when you bend forward at the ankles, you will naturally land more underneath your body, land on your mid/forefoot, and will keep the majority of your stride (kick) behind you.  All of these aim to reduce the impact of energy down and instead use it for moving forward.  Try it the next time you are out while NOT bending at the waist - it doesn't have to be a lot....just a few degrees or minutes on the clock-face.  Difficult.
  • Keep my cadence high and adjust my speed using stride length.  This was actually a little counter intuitive to me.  Jeff's thought process is that when I keep my cadence high, I will be lighter on my feet making the above adjustment easier. (If I remember right)

Thanks to Coach Jeff @ PRS Fit.  While I am not financially (babies are by far cost/weight ratio the most expensive things in the world) ready to go balls-out with a coach, I really appreciate his comments. I'm really going to incorporate his feedback into my runs bit by bit to see if it helps get my feet under me.

Have you ever thought about a coach?  I'm still on the fence.


Forward Foot Strides said...

Owwww, my corneas!!! Just kidding, they're fine. I got your message about being able to have my gait analyzed, just need to find someone to videotape me running!

Courtney @ I CAN DO THIS said...

Wow. Ok, so I read the whole thing, but then I had to go back and watch the video again. How have I not seen this before? Again, wow.

Pam said...

That is the best. video. ever.

I watched it like 5 times and LMAO every time.

Anne said...

OMG that video!

Okay, about your cadence...that's exactly what both my PT and the guy who gave the conference I talk about on my last post said. You can run 180 steps per minute at any speed, you just need to modify the stride's true, you can run on the spot at 180 per minute...try it :)

Cynthia O'H said...

Hey, look, it's the Six Million Dollar Man!
I agree: the gait does look good. Funny, I've had two comments on my own gait and pacing this past week. It's got me thinking....

Chris K said...

I just found a great podcast called Podrunner. They have songs that are set to specific beats per minute. Yesterday, I tried it at 180 bpm which is my target cadence. I just tried to land on each drum beat. I'm definitely going to incorporate it into my training. BTW, if anyone is thiking about a coach, Coach Jeff's fees are very reasonable.

Julie said...

I think that your running form looks great Adam! Damn, I wish that I had your speed:)

C2Iowa said...

Sounds like Chai Running Technique. Interesting. Good run! Send me some speed -- will ya?

ShutUpandRun said...

Love this. I learned alot. I would be afraid to have my gait analyzed for fear of gettin eaten alive. I know I would be told it's amazing I can run at all looking how I do. You, on the other hand, look GREAT!

kilax said...

Paula is just too awesome. Love her.

So, you are the speedy guy I was seeing on my 20-miler out and back this week, making me think, "damn he's fast!"?

Awesome 20 Adam. You always inpsire me :)

I thought I had to go to the bathroom at mile 5 during my 20. The girl I was running with ran out in to the woods to go. Thankfully, I didn't have to go anymore.

How cool that you got the tips! I haven't used a coach but I think I would like it!

Chad said...

I loaded this page at 11pm last night and there were 6 comments. I fell asleep reading your blog, sorry. When I clicked comments this morning, there are 10 now! Four people added comments while I slept.
I need coffee.
Anyway, our blogs have a lot in common this week. I'm not sure how that happened.
Off to pee in the street!

Jill said...

Way to knock out that awesome 20! I can't watch the video here at work as they block that stuff (I know, shameful) so I'll look at it tonight. But yeah, I think a coach is a good thing sometimes ;).

Runners Fuel said...

Great pace!!

Nitmos said...

Going professional, eh?

Jamoosh said...

"Keep my cadence high and adjust my speed using stride length"

Straight from Chi Running!

Glenn Jones said...

Sounds like burgers and cake before your next big race is in order!

I have several running friends that use coaches with varying degrees success. I think the success rate is proportional to the work put in by the student though. Many I know want a coach becuase they are looking for the reason they are not having success..

Shelly said...

I've toyed with the coach thing myself. I'm just not sure I'm ready to spend $$$$ I don't have lying around just so I can win my age group in a 5K. I know I'll never do anything more than that, so...I dunno....

That was really helpful of me - FAIL!