Getting Stronger

In marathon training, it’s common to be doing what you’re doing then all of a sudden, you get a sign that everything’s coming together and your body’s doing what you want it to do. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I got that feeling today and now it’s building on that to become even better. I also realised that one of the things I mentioned I was going to be working on in my last post isn’t all that important and happens anyway as a result of doing other things.

That thing is Cadence and I’ve covered it in a different post. Since my last post, I ran Parkrun in my 2nd fastest time of the year in 19:23, beating my time from the week before of 19:34, and then followed it up with a 10 mile run on Sunday. My focus on long runs just now is to run every 3rd mile faster, ideally faster than target pace, but as we ate out the night before and had a couple of drinks, the pace wasn’t as fast as I hoped but the pleasing thing was that I still got 10 miles in.

I only managed 2 miles on Tuesday night but that was to test out my new Polar M430 Running watch I won in a competition through UKRunChat on Twitter. It just arrived that day so I wanted to get it on and try it. I’ll be reviewing it in the coming days.

On Thursday, I repeated my Kilometre intervals but this time decided on 8 reps and wanted to focus solely on my knee drive. I forgot to do some exercises in my warm up that were designed to help achieve that and while I was able to do it, I was a bit sluggish and managed 6 good ones again. You can only measure the knee drive by feeling and pace etc on Strava is irrelevant.

On Saturday, I spent a day in Glasgow filming exercises for Healthclub TV, where I will shortly be offering playlists on exercises to improve performance in running, and so missed Parkrun. I knew today’s run would be harder as my body was feeling it from doing mobility exercises for the whole body as well as a few other exercises to hit the core. It’s amazing how much you feel it after doing a whole load of bodyweight exercises!

One of the exercises I did yesterday to help improve back mobility

I decided to run every 3rd mile faster again but this time, practiced some knee drive and back mobility exercises in my warm up. I felt myself trying to reign in my speed a bit in the first couple of miles as it just felt so effortless and then I felt like I was flying in the first of my fast miles. I clocked that one in 5:54 but then I was going downhill for most of it! The 2nd and 3rd fast miles were both sub 7min/miles, which is great, but it was the other miles that were the most pleasing. I had purposefully stepped off the gas but my body wanted to maintain the form in between and so I ended up running most of the way driving my knees forward and use my arms as much as I could but at a slower pace.

I’m really pleased I’ve made that breakthrough and feels like I’m getting closer to being able to maintain form for an entire distance run. I feel like I’m running a lot more effortlessly and now its about building that to become quicker.

Have you ever tried to adjust your cadence/stride length? If so, how did that work for you?

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