Two weeks into transition - and I have the sore calves to prove it!

Well, after a couple of days off in agony following my total failure to read TCI properly (see previous blog) I have now completed the first two weeks of my transition to performance running.

Incoming mail 1
The small wooden half-ball I ordered online arrived meaning I could finalise my homemade stability board to match the slant board I’ve been using: I think it will be some time before I need it, but it’s ready when I am.

Strength work
The foot and leg strengthening exercises are amazing, they look so easy on paper, but I was struck by how weak I felt only being able to balance on the slant board with two poles for 20 odd seconds. It was also weird that by simply balancing, the ’burn’ can be felt not only in the foot and ankle, but right up through the leg into the glutes - incredible. Another thing I noticed (to my great relief) was how quickly improvements were realised - after a couple of weeks I can already complete more reps and balance for longer - though I'm still some way off 2 minutes and switching to one pole for balance.

Performance running
Having shared my lesson learned in an earlier post, I can now report that my runs have been strictly limited to 15 minutes each, maybe 20 on a good day. Yes I can feel my soleus and calf muscles working during the run, and they’re sore the following day, but they’re recovering quickly each time and not tender to the touch like last time.

A couple of observations:

Firstly, I find it really hard to run slowly enough. Now I’m not saying I’m a quick runner (far from it) but to run sufficiently slowly that I’m able to breathe through my nose and really concentrate on form, is something quite alien to me - I understand the reasons, but I feel a bit self conscious when I’m going so slowly especially as I feel like I’m prancing with my new forefoot strike. I’m not sure what my running partner (pictured) makes of it all.

Secondly, I also find it really difficult to accept that my mileage is limited so dramatically and the temptation to run further with bad form is pretty high. I guess patience is the name of the game and once the new technique has been fully embedded, then the weekly mileage can increase more rapidly than in traditional (+10%) programmes. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get out on the bike a couple of times and also put in some swimming miles to retain some cardio fitness.

Incoming mail 2
Second item to fall on the doorstep was my shiny new B2R trail shoes which look weird and wonderful in equal measure - I haven’t worn them yet and will definitely be transitioning slowly, I’ll update you with progress next time.

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Comment by Kevin Power on September 4, 2014 at 1:55pm

Hey Richard, great blog.  

I am just starting this week myself so it was good to read how your first 2 weeks went.

I started with 10 mins but will push that to 15 this evening to see how that feels since calves were ok with 10. I must say I too felt like I was prancing with the forefoot strike.  I'm sure in time I won't notice.

Comment by Richard Buckley on September 4, 2014 at 5:55am

Hi Robert, yes I'm at the very start of what the TCI suggests is a 4 - 6 week transition stage (i.e. 4 runs a week building up to 30 minutes each run) I'm currently on 15 - 20 minutes each run. Sore calves, but no shin pain, which is my recurring injury.

Comment by Robert Burpee on September 3, 2014 at 5:54pm
Hi Richard, great Blog, as well as the strengthening exercises are you following the Syrategic Running Foundation in TCI.
I completed this in tandem with the strengthening work & my transitioning into B2R trail shoes (not quite there yet but working on it) still do. I found this a fantastic way to go.
Keep us posted on your progress.

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