Changes and Flexibility

Tuesdays are well known to many runners as speed workout days. This morning was my speed workout as usual. Today I ran a 2 mile warm up and then into 4 x 800 meter repeats. I ran them between 4:23 to 4:26, it was a challenge, but I felt good. Next I ran 4 x 200 meter repeats to get my legs turning quickly – all within 58 seconds to a minute. Since I wear a foot pod when I run I am able to track my steps per minute. Legendary running coach Jack Daniels noted that the most successful long distance runners take 180 steps per minute, or 90 steps per foot. For most of my runs I take 81 to 83 per for or 162 to 166 steps per minute. Running quickly with the 200 repeats helps get my motor skills accustomed to a faster turnover. It is a different way to run for me, but it is working. I did notice today that when I went into my mile cool down my pace slowed and it felt different. Hopefully in time it will become a natural feeling.

This afternoon I lifted weights and felt the fatigue in my legs from my run this morning. I am not sore, at least today. My training partner lifted with me and I introduced her to the new ab workout. I felt the burn when I did mountain climber and again for all sets, 30 seconds is much longer than I had thought. Both of us agree we felt good after, like my run, we shall see if soreness surfaces tomorrow.

No matter how long I am involved in the sports I train for, there is always something new to learn. Something has changed and what was once good (bouncing when stretching) no longer is good (better to hold the stretch). Running shoes went from little support, to many different types of support, back to “minimalist”. Stroke fast when swimming, stroke slow and glide. Carbo load before races has been the popular guide, now some studies suggest it does not make a big difference. Crunches to tighten abdominals has been the norm, now I am learning holding the core in plank poses is more effective. Some of the changes do make a difference, at least for me. I still prefer my stability running shoes, my slower stroke is speeding me up in the pool and my faster cadence is helping me run faster. Holding a stretch is by far better than bounce, and this helps with flexibility. Mental flexibility is also important. Without changing our core beliefs – in sports and in all aspects of life – being flexible to different approaches can do a body, and soul, some good.

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