There were six specific things that individually and coupled together worked to make this year so great for my running.
1. God's blessing and His healing power. I know it is God alone, who has given me the ability to run and heals my body from day to day and week to week. He truly is my Strength, my Hope, my Provider, and my Healer.
2. Forefoot striking. A midfoot to forefoot strike is so much more efficient and better for your body. Heel striking is like putting the brakes on every time your foot lands, whereas a forefoot strike propels your foot forward. A forefoot strike also allows you much more control when you land on an uneven surface and therefore makes you less likely to roll your ankle or get injured. I really focused on changing my foot strike and becoming more of a forefoot striker after rolling my ankle in May.
3. Downhill running. I really worked to run the downhills hard yet also allow my body to slightly recover on the downhills. On downhills I focused on leaning forward, but keeping my stride under me and my hands low and relaxed, and of course landing on my forefoot and not my heels.
4. Crossing the center line. Roger Niethe shared this tip with me at Baker. When walking up hills during a race swing your arm across the center line of the body. This recruits more muscles in your legs and hips, which shares the work load and helps your muscles to be stronger and less fatigued later in the race. I credit this tip with faster times from 27AUG and every race after that.
5. S-caps. I have been using S-caps for my electrolyte and salt replacement during longer races for a couple years. Just this year I learned that if I am already have leg cramps that opening one of the capsules up and placing the contents on my tongue causes it to go directly to cramps in less than a minute. This made a huge difference on the final long downhill of Tussey, when I needed to be able to run the downhill, but leg cramps were preventing me from running.
6. 100-Up Exercise. This simple running exercise invented by W.G. George helps reinforce a natural forefoot stride that "is incapable of harm when practiced discretely." I have been using this exercise on my non running days since the end of November and feel it has been helping me develop a more natural and efficient forefoot stride.
Thanks for reading.
Run Like a Horse,