Still rather chilly outside, but it is still Wintah, heah in Maine, so there isn’t much to do about it other than to smile, put on your shoes and enjoy the bright sunshine and brisk weather.
In other words, I got to run!
For the last three runs, while finishing reading the Lost Art of Running, I have been tweaking some things that I knew needed work, and this morning’s four-miler to Pepin showed me how quickly those changes could be incorporated into how I run. The problem I have is building a bigger engine and tweaking a few things that I know need tweaking.
I did my leg swings at the mailbox.
If I attempt to do a warm-up in the house, Bennie becomes rather obnoxious because he believes that he has to go running with me like he used to. He believes that if he doesn’t go with me, who will protect the old guy from all those things that go bump outside. He can be a pain, but he is our pain, and now that he is probably around 12 years old, running a long distance with me is not really a good thing for him.
The first mile today was good. Especially going down Philbrick Hill, I worked on staying in control and not hammer my heels into the road. After I got down to the flats, I felt comfortable. Usually, there is the thrill of remaining upright or that I had to over-apply the brakes. Today, I felt as though I changed gears a few times, I didn’t step on the gas too hard, and still came down the hill faster than I usually do.
I maintained a nice steady pace/cadence/effort for the first two miles. However, at this point, two miles is about how far I can hold the focus for the style of running that I am attempting. Pepin was against the wind and uphill, so maintaining focus was more difficult than it was going in. 😁
Today wasn’t supposed to be a workout, where I stop at the end and puke my guts out and didn’t want to end up that way. So I relaxed, lost focus and my cadence/stride suffered. While I am making baby-step progress on the changes, I am making, as soon as I stop focusing on how I want to run, I quickly revert to my many bad habits.
I have also changed back to my FR35 with the H/R monitor and set the alarm to 160 bpm. Yeah, I know that I am supposed to be a lot lower, but as long as I feel comfortable, I will not be stringent about the heart rate until I get in the 160s.
Coming back up Philbrick Hill, I cracked the 160 bpm barrier and slowed down to a walk a couple of times. No biggie, I am working on stuff that is more important than merely slogging up that hill to say that I didn’t walk. It just means that my cadence and stride length is a little off when I look at the averages, and my runner’s no-walk ego takes a hit. Nothing serious to say the least.
Once I got over the top of Philbrick Hill, I felt pretty good and decided to finish up at the lower gate. Mainly because it is all downhill, and I like running downhill. Yes, the heart rate climbed a bit higher when I picked up the pace/effort a little at the upper gate, but I was still in complete control and focused on what I wanted to work on.
When looking at my Strava and Garmin stats, I have difficulty holding my cadence going uphill. I think it is almost an unconscious thing, and I purposely slow down to restrict the effort levels without realizing that I am doing it. I also know that I don’t pick up my feet as much and run like I am stuck in glue going uphill. That is a significant thing I have to work on to improve my running.
Today was a good run where I figured out a few things and what I should be doing more to keep improving.
I also wore the On Cloudflyer OGs. I still am not a super fan of how firm they are, but at the same time, I always seem to run well in them. I had them outback of the garage to go away and, on a whim, decided to run in the “one last time” today.
With the things I am attempting to focus on in my running now, they seem to be a better fit for what I want from a running shoe. I had no issue with the Cloudflyers during the run, and while I grumbled a few times to myself on the flats about their firmness, while I was going down Philbrick Hill with that different stride, they did quite a bit better than they did before.
If I don’t run with a heavy heel strike, the Cloudflyers perform well enough that I will keep them around as a change of pace shoe. I don’t like them enough for them to be my full-time daily trainers, but to get them out every so often on a 4-5 mile run, they will be fine. So they have escaped the dreaded give-away table for a bit longer.
Overall, a good day for running, refocusing, and learning that I am not a hopeless case after all. Now, to get the videotape done of how I am running and not get all flustered because it ain’t what I expect or want. The video results will be a part of the process to improve, not beat me up for no real reason.
Thinking this way is a different thought process than my usual – I haven’t changed anything, why bother to keep trying thoughts.