Sunday, June 17, 2012

Training log - Week ending 6/17/12

This week was 71 miles of “real running” and 14 “miles” pool running, plus 2500 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Got a running gait analysis done this week, which I try to get done on a somewhat annual basis. Takeaways were that I’m not horrible, and in particular have a very good cadence. But, I’m still struggling with lordosis in my back (aka "swayback", aka “ghetto bootie”). My lower back arches too much, which means that I end up overstriding slightly, and also hit the ground pretty hard. My back arching also places a lot of stress/compression on my L4-L5 vertebrae and the nerves in that area, which results in periodic sciatica (nothing new about the sciatica – I’ve had it for decades).

fun random fact:
For DC locals who run the "Rock Creek Loop"
- this picture was taken at the stables just north
of Rock Creek Park that we run by.
The lordosis isn’t a strength issue – years of horseback riding have given me a ridiculously strong core. But years of horseback riding also mean years of constantly striving for “Shouders BACK! And stick that butt out behind you!” And that ingrained muscle memory is REALLY hard to overcome. All I can do is keep working at it.

So, my cues to work on are a) POSTURE!, b) leaning ever so slightly forward from the ankles (not hips) to avoid overstriding, and c) trying to land as softly and quietly as I can. These cues make a lot of sense, especially since I know how I get into trouble when I’m running.

When I get tired or want to really pick up the pace, I start to arch my back more . As a result, I start overstriding some, and also hitting the ground harder and harder. So I lose efficiency, and start slowing. And then I get pissed off, and I start trying even harder, which means that I arch my back even more and pound at the ground even harder,’s a vicious cycle. It’s part of why trying NOT to run my hardest works so well for me – because then I’m not working against myself. So, when I start to get a bit fatigued, I’m just using it as a chance to NOT try to work harder, but instead to invoke the cues, and see how they work.

And I’ll be darned if they don’t work pretty well. I focused on them during the second of my cruise interval 3200m repeats on Friday, and….12:21 for 3200m – faster than I normally run those. Played with them again on Sunday for the long run, and ended up running the last 2 miles at about 6:40-ish, while the perceived effort was much less. So, I know what I’m working on this summer.


Monday: In the morning, 50 minutes of easy poolrunning for “5 miles,” followed by 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills and then some light strength training and injury prevention exercises. Foam rolling and stretching in the evening.  

Tuesday: In the morning, 13 miles including a workout of 6 hill repeats – nonstop circuit of up a hill for about 2 minutes, a 90 second easy jog, a stride, and then some more easy jogging to the bottom (whole circuit takes ~5 minutes). Pretty humid, and I didn’t take slow enough recovery on the first, so I ended up with my heart rate peaking into the 200s during each fast part, and “recovering” in the 170s (which is my normal tempo HR). Yup. It hurt a bit. But will make me stronger. Followed with injury prevention work and 20 minutes of easy pool-running. Floor barre and foam rolling at night.  

Wednesday: In the morning, 12 miles easy (8:06 pace) and then a yoga class. Later, did another 4 miles easy (7:39 pace). Got a running gait analysis done in the afternoon (which we’ll count as one more mile). Foam rolling and stretching at night.  

Thursday: In the morning, strength training and injury prevention exercises followed by 1500 yards of swimming and 35 minutes of easy poolrunning for “3.5 miles.” Foam rolling and stretching at night.

Friday: In the morning, 13 miles including a cruise intervals workout of 2x3200m with 800m jog recovery. Splits were 12:48 (6:32/6:16 – very sluggish first 800m, since I ran out of time to do drills) and 12:21 (6:18/6:03). Followed with injury prevention work and 15 minutes of easy pool running. Foam-rolling and gentle pilates in the afternoon.  

Saturday: In the morning, 11.5 miles very easy (8:18 pace) plus some drills. Upper body strengthwork and foam rolling in the afternoon.  

Sunday: 16 miles progression (7:40 pace, split as 8:23 pace for first 7 miles, next 3.5 at 7:30, next 3.5 at 7:05 pace, and last 2 averaging 6:37 pace) followed by injury prevention work, foam rolling, and 20 minutes of recovery pool-running. Flow/restorative yoga tonight.


  1. Hm. We have the same posture cues in synchro. I wonder if it's led to my running being screwed up.

  2. Interesting about the horseback riding position. I had a bulging disc in my L4/L5 and no matter how much PT I did it was weak and pathetic until I started doing Bikram yoga.

  3. Sounds like you found what really works for you! Did you go back to Dr. Maggs?

    1. Nope - used my PT - Robert Gillanders. I liked Dr. Maggs a lot, but it's a bit tough to have one person do the eval, and then have another person work with you to correct what you find.

  4. Ditto the riding/synchro comments, but for dance -- granted, we had "tuck the booty," but the whole shoulders back/straight up bit definitely wreaks havoc with what I know proper running form should look and feel like.

  5. I always arch my back when I get tired and now I am wondering if that causes my overstriding. I never made that connection before. Nice mileage this week!