Monday, June 25, 2012

I just want to play ball

I have a race coming up — 10k on the flat roads of Surfers Paradise this Saturday morning. A 6:30 A.M. start — not my favourite time of the day to unleash a cold, creaky body into the fray of a fast race. I should awake a couple of hours earlier. Yes, that might work. In 2010 I ran 49:26 but wasn't in the aerobic shape that I am this year. Back then my 10k local runs were at 750 heart-beats per km or higher — now they're consistently around 700. I should be good for around 680 in a flat 10k race so that indicates a possible time of 45:20. I'd be happy with that. I haven't had a serious race in a while so I'm keen to play ball. At least I've never missed out on the chance to play ball — like the women marathoners of the '70s or women steeplechasers of the '90s.

Joanie is 55, runs 70 miles a week [I saw this on Jeff's blog]

A couple of interesting images have shown up on Twitter: stills of the foot-strikes (captured from high-speed video) of every competitor in the U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000 metre races — men and women. The variation is quite incredible: there is heel-striking, toe-striking and mid-foot striking — all from elite (fast) distance runners. I think it shows that how the foot first makes contact with the ground is the least important aspect of running form. Forget about foot-strike. Think about hip extension, body position, relaxation and cadence if you wish to improve your running form.

 The foot-strikes of elite 10k runners is somewhat variable


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the footstrike photos -- very cool.

3:01 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Hi Ewen good luck with your 10K next weekend.
yes 6.30 in the morning is pretty early, a shot or two of caffeine might help!
I hope you can pull off something good, going by your training results things are looking on the up :0]

4:36 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Good luck with your 10K on saturday. I would like to run a flat 10K!!!!
06.30 a.m. is very early and the body is sleeping again at that time. You are right about the 2 hours earlier. Never raced at that hour in the morning.

8:00 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

That's a strange time to start a 10K. Good luck with it!

Great photos, I'd love to show them to some certain people.

9:19 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

SK, no worries.

Thanks Rick. I'll be going for a very strong coffee and be giving the legs a good talking to on the 3k jog to the start.

Thanks Stefano. This one is about the flattest 10k in Australia. Besides the track ;-)

Thomas, I think the early start is due to traffic issues - the start is near a big mall.

9:49 am  
Blogger Janene said...

ET. I hope you have a great run in the 10K at GC. It will be pretty warm by Canberra standards, so you won't be that creaky at 6:30am. I'm not a fan of the GC, I just don't get why people keep going back each year. Here's hoping the Sunshine Coast running festival proves to be a good one, a much nicer location That said, a 4 lap marathon doesn't sound like much fun, but the half and other distances should be good. Oh yeah and better start time for the 10K - 9:30 am

2:28 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

I'm tipping just under 45:20 for Saturday! If I can't do it, you can!!

Wish I was there to watch! Run well.

4:33 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

6.30am is not early and Goldcoast temps are not cold so there's two "obstacles" ruled out of your way :)

I LOVE the GC events and wish I could be there as per usual but running in NZ last weekend means I can't make it this year. Go well! I'm sure you will :)

8:16 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks J. I think it's popular because it's a break from the cold. Fast courses too. Didn't know about the Sunshine Coast festival - looks good. 9:30am is bliss!

Thanks Luckylegs. You'll have to make a triumphant return one year.

6:30am IS early Liz - I'm an afternoon runner ;) Just looked it up - 15C at 6:30 - could be a tad hot! Thanks - you should have enough frequent flyer points up for a free trip next year :)

8:41 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Good luck with your race! That is an early start. I tend to like sleeping in these days, and worry that if I ever race again, I will forget how to get up early!

12:37 am  
Anonymous Karla said...

Good luck with the race! It's always fun to get back out there and give it your all. Thanks for sharing the foot strike photos. As people, we come in so many different shapes and sizes with wide variations in biomechanics, that it makes sense that one strike pattern might work for one person, while another works for someone else. It's definitely not a one-size fits all thing.

2:09 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize. Pick an afternoon race for your comeback ;) I know a bloke who once slept in on a marathon!

Thanks Karla. Good point about running form being a very individual thing; that we can tell who a runner is from a distance by their form, before recognising their face. I think it's fascinating that form can be improved (and thus speed/injury prevention) even if that person's form isn't dramatically changed.

9:01 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

You should of finished your 10K by now, it's Saturday afternoon here. I hope all went well. Looking forward to hearing about it.

4:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Scott. Had a great race - 45:11 - fastest 10k since 2008. Very relieved! Will do a write-up in the next day or two.

6:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting those interesting pictures of foot-strike. I agree that there is no simple rule about foot-strike, though I believe that it does influence efficiency and safety. There are risks with both forefoot and heel strike. The optimum foot-strike depends on pace and other aspects of the individual's gait. One crucial requirement for efficient safe running at high speed is spending only a short time on stance and if this is to be done safely, the way in which the load is distributed across the structures of the foot and leg is important. At paces faster than 3 km/min, I consider that extreme heel strikes such as those of Landry and Mecheso are not optimal. However the fact that they both recorded times faster than 28:40 demonstrates that factors such as aerobic capacity and type 2 fibre endurance are probably more important that foot strike in a 10,000m.

2:22 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

No worries Canute. The extreme heel strikes that you mention raised my eye-brows. Perhaps the photos aren't telling the whole story though - maybe it's possible to have the foot angled like that and still touch the ground lightly with the heel, roll over that point and have most of the force taken by the mid-foot?

6:56 pm  

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