For Christmas, my wife got me a pretty interesting book about running called Born to Run, A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen. Book titles seem to get longer and longer it seems.
The book is about a lot of things.
- The science of running
- How we run
- Why we run
- Where we came from in regard to running
- Ultramarathoners (50 miles or more at one crack and sometimes 100)
- A lost tribe of runners found in the sticks of Mexico
This book was very interesting to a relatively novice runner like myself. There was a lot of great information in it and the story was compelling to boot. I don't want to spoil a lot of it for you but if you are interested in running, I highly recommend it. It is only 300 pages or so and will provide a runner with a lot of interesting insights. The book also got me to thinking about my own running. Below is a video I took just a few days ago of me after I am warmed up. This is about an 8 minute mile pace, which is pretty standard for me anymore when I run distances of 5 miles or greater.
The main reason I took the video is because I want to analyze my stride. While I gleaned some useful info from the video, I will have to take another one, from lower down. What I am trying to do is to see how much wasted energy I have in my stride from "paddling" or moving my legs side to side, instead of from front to back.
From the video a couple of things stuck out at me right away. It is very apparent that my ankle and shin are not straight when they hit the ground. I am not sure if this is good or bad, but it is something I noticed. The other thing that I was totally shocked at was the condition of my calves. My god they are absolutely ripped. I guess I don't look at my backside too much, but I assume my thighs are the same way - it is hard to tell from the video. I guess a benefit from running so much.
I gleaned a few other things from the video, but frankly don't know what to do with the information. Last week I did five miles on the dreadmill in just under 38 minutes, a new personal best for me. I can probably squeeze a few more seconds out of my times if I quit bodybuilding so much with strength circuits but I don't really want to stop that. And I really don't want to quit MT.
I actually thought about quitting MT for a while because I wanted to take my body to places that I never thought it could go. I wanted to start getting competitive with my running and biking. At the level I am at, I will always be a good runner and biker, but not competitive - to me, competitive is to finish in the top 10% of my age group. If I quit MT and the strength circuits and gave all that time to biking and running, I know I could be an elite runner, biker, and duathlete. But that won't do. I like the strength circuits and MT too much. Plus, doing all of this different activity does not allow your body to atrophy into a certain shape - it never knows which workout is next so you stay a better all around athlete. Jack of all trades, master of none.
BUT, I can improve my running and biking, of this I am positive. I have decided to make an appointment with my masseuse, who is also an elite triathlete. She also coaches triathletes and has her own team. I think that with just a few lessons from her I can shave a good half minute off of my per mile time and certainly a good chunk off of my biking times. On top of this I just got a new bike that will be at least 35% lighter than my old one, so that will help immensely.
Last year I ran more miles than I ever thought I could and this year I plan on doing the same, only in a different way. The half marathons I ran were fun and interesting, but I think my favorite distance is 10k. I can blast that distance very easily (only 6.2 miles) and I think I can get to within the top 25% of my age group with my current training schedule. The anearobic training I receive from MT helps in this regard.
I still haven't sat down and chosen my events for next year, except for the New Years Day Dash (5 miles) and the Shamrock Shuffle (10k). As an aside, I was on the side of town where the New Years Day Dash is and the roads and trails there are a miserable mess. I am not expecting a lot out of my time in that one.
I think this next long weekend I need to sit down with the calendar and pick and choose my spots. I did a LOT of events last year and need to pare that down a bit. Carl has also mentioned he still wants to do a "destination" run in the spring when we are all sick of the cold so I need to keep that in mind.
Good things to have to sort out if I don't say so myself.