RtR Week 9 – Finding My Chi

Happy Monday!

Last week marked week 9 of Run to Remember training, and while I’m no longer closely following a training plan, I still like to use these weekly check-ins to hold myself accountable. And, as always, I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for the #WeeklyWrap.

For the most part, it was a pretty uneventful week – a good mix of some easy runs, yoga, planks (of course), and strength work.

The highlight of the week was attending a Chi Running clinic!

The clinic was just awesome! As evidenced by the fact that I was so engrossed from beginning to end that I took not a single picture. There was so much great information  – seriously my head’s still spinning!

I completely lucked out in that we had a great group of just 7 – all dealing with varying challenges/past injuries, and with big goals ahead. Our coach Marc did an excellent job of breaking down the posture, arm swing, foot strike, cadence, gears, and hills. Yeah – like I said…a lot of info!

We did a mix of drills and my favorite part was the group run at the end, where Marc ran with each of us giving cues on things we needed to focus on. By the end, I can understand why Marc kept emphasizing that Chi Running is a practice (like yoga or meditation), not a quick fix.

I can’t wait to get my video analysis and am already looking forward to Marc’s next session!

So, of course, I had to head out Sunday morning to start to put my new Chi knowledge into practice!

How was your week? Have you ever attended a running clinic?

signature

May 2017 Coffee Date

It’s the first Saturday of the month, so of course, that means it’s time for catching up over coffee! Thanks to Coco and Deborah for hosting the Ultimate Coffee Date link-up.  Grab a mug and join me!

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I cannot believe how fast our new pup is growing! He weighed in at just over 26 pounds at last week’s vet appointment, gaining 8 pounds in 2 weeks! Everyone who sees him comments on the size of his paws – he’s gonna be a big boy I think.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I think I’ve finally got all the camps and various activities figured out for my boys for the summer. I even have the pup’s trainer lined up to start in July. Now if I can just figure out a vacation spot for August that will take dogs. Any suggestions?

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that my latest snack addiction is Turmeric Pepitas. These things are seriously addictive! I found them in Run Fast, Eat Slow (affiliate link) and it’s become an instant favorite.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I’m heading to a Chi Running clinic this morning. I did a one-on-one session with a Chi Running coach 6 years ago when I wanted to make the transition from heel strike to forefoot strike. My chiro and I are convinced there’s something that’s gone awry with my gait, so when the opportunity to join this clinic came up I jumped on it.

Now I should get moving – got a busy day ahead!

What would you tell me over coffee?

signature

Taking on the hills

It’s Friday! And my legs are toast!

It has been a good week for workouts – my runs have felt good, though yesterday’s hill work was killer hard and did leave me wondering – “How will I do this for the next 5 weeks?!” The plan called 8 x 250 meter hill repeats with 5 miles of warm-up and cool-down. Somewhere after the 5th or 6th repeat I think I may have started to question my coach’s sanity, and by the final repeat there was definitely a fair amount of cursing involved.

While I have done an occasional hill workout on the treadmill to break-up the monotony of a mill run, this is the first time I have hill work as an integral part of my training plan. I have always read that hill work will make you a stronger runner, and I’m definitely up for that benefit! I also freely admit that I’ve always had a bit of a mental block when it comes to hills – I can easily psyche myself out, so I’m counting on this devotion to hill work to help me break through that barrier.

After yesterday’s torture session, I know the key to taking the sting out of hill running is proper form. I went back to re-read a timely article my coach included in his most recent newsletter from the International Association of Women Runners – which you can read HERE. I also broke out my notes from my Chi Running workshop and their Hills and Trails DVD. Lean into the hill, quicker turnover and increased arm swing…Yes I’m going to become a student of hill running! I’ll let you know how it goes.

So tell me – do you find hill running easy? Is it a regular part of your training?

signature

Natural Form Running Clinic Notes

Last Friday, I attended a Natural Form Running Clinic hosted by Newton Running.

I met up with the Newton guys, was given a pair of Newton Light Weight Universal Trainers to put on and after quick introductions, we were off on a quick run over to the Boston Commons for our clinic. Led by Michael, we went through proper posture (head up, core engaged, “athletic positioning” of flexed ankle and flexed knee, arms at a 90-degree angle), the benefits of midfoot/forefoot strike (cushion and energy return) and quick cadence (ideally 180 steps per minute). We did a couple of exercises to get a feel for a quicker cadence and to work on the forward lean, leaning from your ankles (visualize leading with your sternum).

Then we were off for a run around the Commons. Since there were only two of us in the clinic, Michael was able to watch each of us closely and provide lots of feedback. We covered uphill, down hill and flat surfaces so we could feel the difference in the lean and learning to “flow forward with gravity.” Using his iPad, Michael then video taped each of us and then show us the areas we need to work on. For me, increasing my cadence will help to take better advantage of the elastic recoil in my lower leg muscles; also need to lean forward just a bit more to make sure I’m not sinking back on the heal when I land. I was happy to hear that overall my form looked good and I was definitely moving in the right direction! Michael then took us through a couple of post-run exercises to help re-enforce proper foot placement/landing and the mechanics of the leg rotation. He emphasized the benefit of doing these exercises at the end of every run to help build muscle memory.

When I got the invitation to attend the clinic, I went, in part, to see how their approach might differ from Chi Running. I actually found them to be very similar, though I did think with in this clinic there was a greater emphasis on the bio-mechanics of developing the proper foot strike. This may be in part due to their claim that Newtons are the only shoe on the market that will help you develop proper midfoot strike so they have more of a focus here. Also, given that I’d been through a Chi Running clinic and had a better understanding of the overall approach, I could now geek out on the details a bit more. (Quick aside: Running in the Newtons definitely felt different and piqued my interest regarding the role they could play in helping my form, but honestly that $175 price tag puts them out of my range for now).

Overall I thought it was a great clinic – the crew from Newton were a lot of fun and I definitely picked up some new tips to incorporate into my running! Thanks again to Newton for inviting me!

signature

Thursday Thoughts plus a Winner

My brain is a bit mush right now….so if you continue reading, just remember you were warned!

Playing race director has me ready to pull my hair out! Managing the logistics isn’t too bad, but securing donors and sponsors…well let’s just say I’d rather walk over hot coals than ask people for money. I am grateful for the team I have assembled to work with me on this event otherwise I’d be WAY over the ledge by now.

Running with my boys last weekend was so much fun and the best part was they really enjoyed it and have talked about going again. Hopefully we get some a little running in while they’re home on April vacation week next week.

Hills are hard….that’s all.

I was invited by Newton Running to attend one of their Natural Form Running Clinics taking place in Boston as part of the pre-marathon events. They’ve teamed with my favorite local running store Marathon Sports to host these sessions to help runners learn how natural form running can improve speed, efficiency and, hopefully, reduce chances of injury. I’m interested to see how this approach differs from Chi Running – so tomorrow morning I will be up bright and early running along the Charles River and soaking in some knowledge from the Newton experts!

Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to Random.org the two winners of the ProFoot Insoles are:

Christy from The Buhrs and Dai from Lazy Punch

Please email me at runningwithattitude (at) yahoo.com so I can get you hooked up with ProFoot.

signature

Some of the Best of 2011

Recently, Miss Zippy posted a great list of questions on the “best of” for 2011 and invited us all to do the same…so here are my answers!

Best race experience? 
Without a doubt Boston’s Run to Remember – this was my first half marathon! I felt like I had achieved a huge accomplishment just making it to the start line, and the whole race I had this “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this!” feeling. Also, I had my whole family there and they went through herculean efforts to see and cheer me on in multiple sports throughout the race.  It was a great first experience and laid the groundwork for my growing love affair with the half distance!

Best run?

Another first — the first time I ever ran 10 miles. It was one of those perfect runs, everything felt good and even the traffic lights cooperated so I never had to stop. I remember my confidence growing as the miles ticked off and when I finished I did a little happy dance in my driveway (neighbors must have loved that!)

Best new piece of gear?

This one’s hard – I did a lot of….um..er…accumulating this year 🙂 It’s a tie between my Brooks running skirt and my Saucony Kinvaras – for both it was love at first run!


Best piece of running advice you received?

Everything I learned during my time with Ryan Miller, certified ChiRunning instructor! Also, to make the transition to minimalist shoes slowly.

Most inspirational runner?

Way to many to pick just one! I have been inspired and motivated by so many runners’ stories this year – from daily training, to racing, to overcoming injuries.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Moving in the right direction!

There is so much to reflect on this year. This list was a fun way to get started! 

What were your 2011 highlights?


 

signature

March Rewind

Good things for the month:
  • Logged 69 miles and for the most part my left leg cooperated.
  • Started my training plan for my first half marathon!
  • Participated in Detroit Runner’s “I Just Felt Like Running” virtual 5k
  • ChiRunning one-on-one workshop — so many good things, (if you missed it, you can check out my post about it here)
  • Continued to add more yoga to my plan.
  • 81 of you now follow this little journey of mine — welcome to the new followers — and to all, thanks for the support!
Things I could do without:
  • Quite simply…this weather! Seriously…where is Spring? Snow is falling as I type this. If I ever track down that groundhog, he should be very afraid!
On the decks for April:
  • Continue to build on my ChiRunning practice
  • Start rotating a minimalist shoe into my runs — starting with my shorter runs and then build from there.
  • More strength training and core work.
  • My first double-digit runs!

What have you got planned for April?

signature

ChiRunning – the Aha Workshop!

This morning I had my one-on-one workshop with Certified ChiRunning Instructor Ryan Miller. It was a morning of Aha moments!

We started with a quick warm up run which gave us a chance to talk about some of my concerns:

  • making sure I’m actually doing a mid-foot strike
  • leaning from my ankles, and using the lean to control my pace, and
  • managing hills (both the up and the down)

Ryan video-taped me running and then we worked through some exercises to help give me a better feel for the lean and wheel-like motion your lower leg should be making. It was clear that I’ve been running much more on my forefoot than my mid-foot. Ryan suggested that I think more about landing “whole foot.” He also suggested that I try running barefoot on a track so I can develop a better feel for my foot contact with the ground. He also agreed with my plan to shift to a more minimalist shoe with a lower toe-to-heel ratio.

We covered so much it’s really impossible to do it all justice in just one post. Some of my big take-aways included:

  • learning to relax my lower legs
  • when I hit mid-foot or “whole foot” I don’t hear the scuffing sound that I do when I hit forefoot, and my strike feels lighter
  • using my upper body more to propel myself uphill and rotating from my hips to flow downhill
  • finding comfort in the first gear and using the lean to both increase and decrease my speed

Ryan was great to work with – so patient and easy-going, and clearly passionate about his running. He had a great way of distilling a lot of information into manageable pieces. As we’d run, he could suggest just the smallest of adjustments and I could quickly feel a difference – and I was always surprised by how effortless it felt. He kept reminding me the goal is to “maximize momentum while lowering resistance.” We concluded our session with another video taping – I can’t wait to compare the “before” and “after” when he sends me the videos!

I left feeling like I now know what to be aware of, of how the run should feel. In fact, I was so psyched by what I had learned that as soon as I drove home, I went out for a quick 3-mile run. I went sans iPod, which is big for me, but I wanted to really tune in and listen to my footstrike and my breathing.

While watching the ChiRunning DVD is definitely worthwhile, having the opportunity to work with Ryan has really taken my understanding to a whole new level. If you are interested in learning more about ChiRunning, I highly encourage you connect with a certified instructor in your area or find a ChiRunning workshop nearby and make the trip!

signature

A move towards minamalism…..baby steps

Last Saturday, I was invited to attend a minimalist shoe clinic sponsored by Saucony. It was a great chance to see their full line, including a shoe that won’t be available until the summer. I appreciate their philosophy that minimalism doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. As the Saucony rep spoke repeatedly about exploring what works for you as an individual, and gradually integrating a minimalist shoe into your training.

I was particularly interested in learning more about the Mirage, their intro-to-minimalism shoe that features the lower heal-to-toe ratio of a minimalist shoe combined with a bit more arch support. I figured that given where I am in my training and my slight over-pronation, this would be a good place to start vs. taking the bigger leap  with the Kinvara. Luckily the Saucony rep had brought a bunch of shoes for us to try and I loved the feel of the Mirage. So yes, as you have probably guessed, I ordered a pair (the 15% discount sealed the deal!). I plan to use them on my easy runs first, while continuing in my Brooks Adrenaline for my long runs.

My hope is that as I strengthen some of the under-developed muscles in my legs and feet, I can make the transition to a more minimalist shoe as the year goes on. And, this combined with my ChiRunning efforts will hopefully improve my mechanics and help keep me injury-free!

Speaking of ChiRunning, I’ve got a private workshop scheduled for Sunday with Certified ChiRunning Instructor Ryan Miller. I’m really looking forward to spending time with Ryan – I’ve got lots of questions!! I’ll be posting a full report when we’re done.

Happy Running!

signature

Commitment

There’s a difference between interest and commitment. 
When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. 
When you’re committed to something, you except no excuses, only results.
— Kenneth Blanchard
Just a little something to think about on a Monday morning….

——————————–
On the plan for this week:
Today:  Yoga
Tuesday:  Tempo Run (5)
Wednesday:  Easy Run (3) and Strength Training
Thursday:  Rest
Friday:  Long Run (8)
Saturday:  Pilates and Strength Training
Sunday:  Easy Run (3) and Chi Running Workshop (much more on that to come!)
Have a Great Week!
signature