Hi Eric - I'm about 12 weeks into the transition to midfoot striking. I did your 8wk strength building program (more or less - I'm not great at following a program religiously). In any case, I feel like my strength is really just about there. 9-10 mile runs are easy, and I'm running in New Balance 100s on pavement - so not much cushioning, and still no problems.
But man am I slow!! As a heel striker, 8-min miles were standard for anything under 10K distance. Now, if I break 9-min miles for even a five mile run, I'm elated. (I liken the feeling of running fast to bounding like a kangaroo down the road! So cool.)
I've accepted that even if I always run slower, I'm doing the right thing for my body and will be able to run longer (both in terms of miles and years). However, I keep thinking that using my body as it is supposed to be used, I should eventually run faster than I did as a heel striker.
Isn't that the case? What should I expect in terms of speed as I continue to develop as a "natural" runner?
As always, thanks for being a leader in this movement.
Hey there - Good to hear from you again. This is a toughie for me to answer not knowing exactly what you are doing in your training. But keep in mind that doing faster, harder run intervals will help you improve your speed endurance AND, running faster in shorter intervals helps build great run economy. Runing at a steady, moderate pace all the time is not the best thing for your improvement AND for your body. So you might want to go back to the 8 week plan and pick some of the higher intensity workouts and perform them once or twice a week and actually slow down a bit on your easier days for recovery. The HR training really does provide a purpose.
More to the point. It sounds as though you have slowly morphed into running all your runs at the same steady pace, which usually means this pace is in a grey area of not producing much benefit long term and will most likely lead to a plateau. Your body will adapt to how you train, which is a good thing, until you do the same thing all the time. So, I am assuming a lot here, but hopefuly giving you some insight on what is going on.
Thanks Eric. Maybe a little more info will help. I've always been the kind of runner who starts pretty slowly and is running flat out by the end. It's a rarity for me maintain a steady pace throughout a workout - usually only when I run longer distances (so I don't run out of steam). I like running fast, and I believe in the old saying "train as you fight" (yes, I'm ex-military), so if I want to run fast in a race, I need to run fast when I train. I have definitely seen my times coming down (SLOWLY) with the avg heart rate staying the same. I guess I'm just wondering if your experience is that people eventually end up being faster after they switch to a midfoot strike (all other things, such as training style/intensity, being equal). And if so, is it three months, six months, a year? I know it's probably impossible to assess. Just curious if you have a general opinion on this topic.
I definitely need to learn to run at a low intensity some days. Running 10+ minute miles is pretty agonizing mentally - just a little better than running on a treadmill. But I know it's the right thing to do.
Here's a link to a recent run to give you an idea of what a typical workout looks like for me. Notice the splits - mins/mile going steadily down, and heart rate going steadily up right to the end. Maybe I should keep doing those and follow them up the next day with slow, steady, low HR runs? (My max HR is 195, btw.)
Hey Wilson - I have never coached a run independent of a coaching/training program, so all of my runners success has been a product of run training, good form, and recovery. But I can say that when I made the shift in run form 20 years ago, it took about 6 months before it became second nature to me.
Also, I believe that your run workouts should reflect your run goals.
Richard - thanks for the thoughts. Definitely helpful. I'm committing today to dialing it back and doing at least half my workouts at a lower intensity.
One thing is for sure - if I try to go flat out, I feel like my legs are moving superfast. It's fun, but still a bit awkward. I have the same experience of picking up speed when I focus on a faster cadence. I actually stopped running with music because most of what I have in my iPod is too slow, so I end up running at a much lower pace. The lean also makes a difference with speed.
All in all, how long did it take for you to feel like you were faster than you were before you switched?
We are about in the same boat. The difference is that I am not up to cadence, but my speed is there. I posted about a month ago about running below an areobic heart rate.
I did this on all my runs for 13 weeks. Even so far as a 2hr 45 minute 13 miler. During this slow period I concentrated on my stride. Didn't really work on cadence all that much. I was doing a once a week treadmill incline exercise. I would raise my HR to 155+ (I don't know what zone this is, I base my Hr off of 180). When I started I was running @10min/mi for 45 minutes and my HR would soar to 145-155.
I more recently moved up into the aerobic zone. I am must faster than I was 6 yrs ago. I was a gradually get faster guy as well. Sprinted my last mile to finish strong.
HR monitor was humbling at first, but if you concentrate on form the miles still go by fast.
At a faster pace, I still find it hard to slow down and run in the recory zone. I concentrate on cadence. I am experiencing the same muscle soreness shifts you discribed in another post. Calfs to hamies to quads. Its interesting to me how the body is doing the same thing as before (stride wise) but your muscles have to gain more strength to move faster. Still waiting for that ureka moment when it all comes together.
I have found that the super slow 13 weeks are helping me on long tempo runs, recovery on intervals. Just remember to keep switching it up and do the core excercise curcuit. Get an ibook download for your slow recovery runs.
Keep your miles happy.
Now I know what the deal is!! Went out for a easy 4 miler today. Kept in mind what E said "pace does not equal cadence'". Forced myself to run slow and try to hit 180 cadence. About two miles in I started warming up and then it all changed. I started to run on my forefoot!! Ran for the rest of the 4 that way. I got home and have been walking around with sore calfs and achillies. So now I get to experience some soreness with my calfs. Now how do you intergrate this in with 10 weeks left on a marathon training program?? Do I wait on the marathon to start really working on forefoot running. Or just run forefoot on easy days? When did running get so complicated?
Wilson- I am not as fast I think I am. !6 miler over the weekend was slow. Treadmill was lieing to me......bad treadmill.
I guess the answer to my big question, and Richard has been posting the answer all over the place, is at 180 you have to run on your forefoot...or you don't get to 180.