Week Two…. Progress Is Made!

Yes, Yes, Yes! It’s true! We have all made progress and it’s awesome! Believe me I do not use that word lightly as despite teenspeak influence upon my vocabulary I still reserve the word ‘awesome’ for those occasions that truly warrant it.

The park was beautiful in the early morning sun, here and there little bits of leftover snow lingered but mostly it was just crisp frost decorating the grounds.

It was lovely to see the girls again and we stepped out lightheartedly catching up on each others snow news etc. Our coach talked to us about gait this week – like all the SLJ coaches she is inspiring, encouraging, supportive and knowledgeable and is keen to get us into good habits right from the start. Good gait can make all the difference in improving the run whilst caring for hips and knees, which is very relevant to an old crock like me who is starting to discover aches and pains in a previously fairly well behaved body! We were given a little aide-memoire to help remind us of the key points: Talking M-P-H!

Talking: this refers to the correct relaxed running pace that allows enough breath spare to talk, and therefore one that is sustainable and thus building stamina. Too fast a pace is simply unsustainable and ends in uncomfortable puffing (or in my case panting collapse hehe!) A relaxed pace is not only physically manageable, but also encouraging mentally as it makes everything achievable- which is a tremendous boost to this beginner!

M: is for mid-foot strike as opposed to landing on either toes or heels with each step and thus avoiding damaging jarring to hip and knee joints. It also seemed to help speed and smoothness of running as we then pushed off from our hind foot more efficiently.

P: is for parallel feet running along parallel lines as if on railway tracks, without allowing knees to knock in, or ankles to kick out.

H: is for using our arms to help move us forward by drive the elbow back at ninety degrees and then swinging forward as if hammering a nail into an imaginary wall. We keep our arms along the same parallel as our feet, as allowing them to swing in front of us reduces pace and arms are surprisingly helpful in aiding forward momentum.

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A tip shared by my coach on the previous course I started but was unable to complete was to keep the hands relaxed by imagining holding an egg as this means tension doesn’t build up in the shoulders whilst running.

Our pace was definitely relaxed as we talked away the miles, comparing notes on many and varied subjects including the remarkable uses for toothpaste! I guess you had to be there as it sounds a little odd now but rest assured we had a splendid time and the miles just flew by.

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After our cooldown walk we were excited to be informed that we had chalked up another three miles AND doubled our shortest running intervals from thirty to sixty seconds, with mostly intervals of one and half minutes mixed with two minute ones…. our longest was two and half minutes so it was high fives all round!!

Can’t wait for next week!

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