Um, newsflash ... changing your running form completely is kinda hard.
It hurts. It makes you slower. I takes focus and dedication. It's frustrating. And it hurts. But I've had great support from numerous people, especially Coach Ken Schafer and Jill at Run With Jill, who both have offered personal experience and professional help! They have been awesome.
To recap - I've ran about 10,000 miles in the past 6 years ... all as a notorious heel striker. In that time I have been fortunate enough to BQ three times & run Boston last year, win my age group several times, and typically run 6 days per week ... all without injury. I've been very blessed! But over the last couple of winters I noticed growing minor aches and pains in my joints and ankles. I felt that as I grew older, I needed to find a healthier and more efficient way of running so I would stay healthy, and also so I could eventually be one of those 80 year old guys you see from time to time in marathons. I did a lot of reading and decided to change to more of a forefoot/mid-foot strike to protect my body from the constant jarring that accompanies heel striking
In early December, I embarked on the whole POSE way of thinking. I started striking with my forefoot, and concentrated on quicker strides to eliminate the long over-striding heel strike. It's been pretty tough so far, but I'm finally starting to work it out a little. I'm right handed. And I try to explain the change to other runners as trying to learn to write with your left hand. Everything just seems backwards, slower, and frustrating.
I've had to drastically reduce my mileage, which if you follow my blog, you know is killing me. But my legs just aren't stable or strong enough yet to go back to a full mileage load. The most miles I've been able to log is about 40-45 per week. And all of those are much slower. For most of the races I've ran since the change, which has only been 3, I just haven't felt adequately prepared - and my times have definitely shown it.
The good new is, almost all of the soreness in my calves is gone. They are stronger and getting used to the new stress they are under. (This method is a little like running on your tip-toes ... but not really if you do it right) Plus, with the shorter stride, the tendinitis in my right hamstring that I struggled with for most of last year is fading. It's mostly due to the shorter quicker strides, but I've also done some ART and additional stretching and strengthening. Good balance has always been an issue for me, which is essential with this form - and I'm still working on that. So save your "GO TO YOGA YOU DUMMY" comments. I know it works ... but yoga hurts - I'm trying other things.
So this weekend I'll put the new form to the first real test at the Little Rock Half Marathon. I think I can run it relatively healthy and relatively fast - hopefully around 1:37 ... but that's still about seven minutes off of my 1:30 PR. But at this point I'll take it! Getting back to full speed is still several months away. but I feel pretty healthy and still am pretty positive about the change. So anyway - there's the update. Hope your running is going well!
... be great today!