Just over 5.3 miles. Tuesdays are usually speed days, but I’m being conservative in coming back from last week’s illness, 20, and race. I feel like I’m almost back to 100%, but there is still some lingering drainage that’s more annoying than anything at this point.
My legs felt pretty good overall today. They were initially a little weakish (think newborn horse learning to stand for the first time- kinda uneasy before getting the hang of things), so the “speed” element of today’s workout was mostly just going after a negative split (mission accomplished) and concentrating on leg turnover–something that’s worth doing when your legs are fatigued, especially because you will reach that point in a race when fatigue has set in (if not lactic acid) and it becomes a matter of willpower to move. those. legs. and. arms!
Coach Jack Daniels (yup…) has written about this before and has maintained that optimal range for strides per minute is 180 steps– a number that’s typically a bit more than what most people do. This article has a really great explanation of this concept, but here’s the main jist (in Coach Daniels’ words):
“Stride length, both natural and optimal, increases at faster speeds. The key is to discover the way your optimal stride length feels, and it will follow you at any running speed. Renowned exercise physiologist, coach, and Running & FitNews editorial board member Jack Daniels, Ph.D., has observed repeatedly that leg turnover naturally determines stride length.
Focusing runners on reaching 180 steps per minute is an excellent way to move their stride length into the optimal range, without unduly placing all of their focus on running form. For many people, this running cadence is faster than they are used to attaining, but it achieves several noteworthy results.
Daniels writes, “The main problem associated with a slower turnover is that the slower you take steps, the longer the time you spend in the air.” This displaces your body mass higher, and leads to a greater ground landing shock. A shorter stride means a lighter stride. Daniels advises that optimal stride rate should feel like you are running “over the ground, not into it.”
Try to get the feeling that your legs are part of a wheel that just rolls along … Try counting the strides of one leg for one minute and see how close you can get to 90. Alternately, you may count arm swings or count steps for 30 seconds and multiply the result by two. So optimal stride length and running turnover are really two sides of the same coin.”
It has been a long time since I last counted my steps while running, but it looks like it’s high time to do so. It’s also time to begin incorporating striders at the ends of my runs; this article from Running Times gives some easy-to-follow instructions as to how to do them.
Onward and upward. The more I learn and read about running, the more work I realize I have yet to do.