I committed to changing my running form at the beginning of last winter. I've noticeably increased my foot strength, balance and stability through various exercises, and I've also significantly increased my core strength (many thanks to Eric and his exercise posts).
I'm an experienced runner (30+ years) with no formal training or coaching. I've always just done it by tinkering here and there. I wish I'd have transitioned my form many years ago. I've logged over 400 miles since I restarted running in March after my normal winter hiatus, and I feel like a totally different runner. I feel stronger, more efficient, and most importantly, more resilient. I know I'm making better use of my running muscles, which is enabling me to bounce back faster than ever.
There's just one catch. I've unknowingly began another transition. I'm transitioning from pavement to trail events, and I learned this last weekend that's a whole-nother beast. Working in flat and well paved Washington DC I do most of my run among the monuments. Saturday I ran the Capon Valley 50K in wild and wonderful West Virginia (great event by the way), and I learned I'm a rhythm runner (my term). Put me on the pavement with my low 90s cadence and proper pace for the run/race, and I go in the zone until the end of the run (I go to sleep). Trails? There isn't any sleeping. Especially in the backwood of West Virginia. 4000+ feet of elevation gain. Rolling hills, not a flat spot on the course. No switchbacks, straight up. Countless stream crossings (kinda fun, but there had to be 50). Running on loose shale is nothing like pavement.
Even with being a stronger runner, these things summed up to increase my 50K time 37 minutes (over my last event). I could never get in my pavement rhythm and I did get frustrated, but every time I'd pass an obstacle I'd say to myself, "Easy, Light, Smooth." And I believed it helped in a big way. Post race, I feel good about the result (35th out of 200 finishers). So, beside practicing running downhill on loose rock without a care, now I'm in search of trail running zen. I need to avoid feeling frustrated when I can't find my pavement rhythm. I need to find my trail running rhythm, or peacefulness.
Guess I need to get out of the city more...see you on the trails!!!
Thanks for sharing Dente. Strength creates endurance! Keep us posted on the rhythm!!
50K time 37 minutes? I wish i can to run 50k in this time...
" I need to find my trail running rhythm, or peacefulness." -This is my problem, i don't know how i need to run because I think tired because of the speed, but if i run too slowly, it takes too long. If I run too fast, tired.. Good luck and...a good time am distance!