You know what? It's high time I got some schoolin'! So I went to a clinic sponsored by my favorite specialty running store: Springfield Virginia's Metro Run & Walk. It's called Good Form Running. And don't worry, I'll share the secrets from this pamphlet:
First: Cadence - it should be 180 SPM (Steps Per Minute). Oh wait, you're 6"4"? Yes: 180 SPM. Oh, you're only 5'2" and 87 years old? Yes: 180 SPM! If you are jogging or running, your cadence should bloody well be 180 steps per minute.
Second: Posture - straight and relaxed, and don't swing the arms across the sternum.
Third: Midfoot - you want to land not on the heel, not on the ball, but in that sweet spot in the middle. Somehow this isn't flat-footed. Experiment and find it - it exists.
Fourth: Lean - keep your body straight, lean ever-so-slightly from the ankles, and let gravity dictate the forward velocity. Lead with your sternum.
This class did not pretend to have a "secret". It did not take three days and $10,000 to provide it to you. It takes the best elements from POSE, CHI, and all those other programs, and for a paltry fee, they stress 4 core principles and film you running three times. I landed midfoot on my left foot, and I landed forefoot on my right foot. I saw this in slow motion - it was undeniable. And curiously, it is my right calf that has been bothering me. It's like shin splints, except it is on the inside of the shin bone. I'm icing after runs now (yeah, I put the ice directly on the leg after I warn it with ice through a towel):
So that was my morning, taking this class at the running store. In the photo above, you can see some of the bling I got: ultra awesome running socks!! The seam is nowhere near the toes!!! God, that's a relief.
In the afternoon after Maxwell's soccer practice, I discovered that I was wearing my Garmin and heartrate monitor belt. Might as well get dropped off at the track, eh? Right on! After a class specifically on running, what am I gonna do: make it a Blockbuster night? Hell no!
What you are about to read is the most disciplined thing I've ever done. First ... dig this ... I walked a whole lap. Even before I hit 'start' on the watch, I walked a lap. Normally, I just walk to the starting line and bust-a-move. Not this time. (And what did that walking lap get me? A pulse of 104.)
And the discipline doesn't stop there. No, I decided I was going to do my first lap real slow. And I started too fast, but I slowed down, and went silly slow for awhile. In all, the first lap was 3:16. Only good things can happen after a slow start - either distance or speed. My choice this evening was speed.
After 1 lap walked, and 1 lap slow jogged, I decided to do a mile at a "comfortably hard" pace. I didn't try to put a number on it, I just did the first lap (1/4-mile):
Now, my goal became to stay on that pace. For some reason, what Brian (ky_adjuster) said floats into my mind: "Stay gold, pony boy ... stay gold". I don't even know what that means, but it was nevertheless helpful. I didn't really monitor myself around the track with the watch, but I finished the second lap of my mile run:
I attribute this speed increase to gas experienced along the second turn - because I was phase-locked into this rhythm and it would have otherwise been 2:36.23 exactly. Then the third lap happened:
This was attributed to a gust of wind (externally produced). And then I repeated Brian's mantra: "Stay gold, ponyboy, stay gold!" I sped up a bit in the last 200 meters, because I sure didn't want to screw it up. And I didn't:
That is a mile in 10:18.1 - my fastest yet since the 1980s. Then, for some dumb reason, I walked for a long time (1/4-mile) and then ran the leftover mile home. My second run mile came to 11:11, which (for me) is a gorgeous number. In all, I did 2.5 miles in 29:30. That includes a slow lap and 4:44 of walking. I'm starting to think that perhaps 11:00 min/mile is within my reach. Oh, I sure hope they are!
Now, we a gonna learn somethin', kitties. Look at this interesting heart rate vs. pace graph:
You can see that a 10:18 pace isn't a good sustainable pace for me. My heartrate went into Zone 5, and there is no way I can do another 2.1 miles in that zone. You can also see that I walked too long, I'm fond of those 1/4-mile increments, and didn't want a mixture of walking and jogging in one. But, getting your heart rate down under 110 is pretty much overkill. Then, my 11:11 mile back home looked pretty sustainable (not going into Zone 5).
So, I learned things in class today - and better, could see myself run in slow motion in their video captures. And secondly, I bounded my running pace versus cardiovascular conditioning.
Also, this is the first time I've ever really iced a leg. Stings like hell for a few minutes, but then it's actually quite pleasant. Kind of like getting married, I suppose - right, honey?
Finally, for completeness, here are the stats: