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Sunday, April 18, 2004

week 9: on the heat and good advice

yeesh. i supposedly had a bit of a break this week , with a "mere" 12 miler for the long run, but it was in the mid-80's today which pretty wiped me out. i've written about me and the heat and i'm still dealing with it. timewise, running in 80+ F degree heat seems to add 15 seconds per mile onto my time as compared to running in 40 degree weather and it seems to double my perceived exertion. i have no idea if this is "normal". maybe some people can run faster in the heat, but i'm not one of them.

last week i commented on what i thought might be an emerging case of shin splints , which can be tough to deal with if you let them get out of hand. i'm feeling much better thanks to a well-timed email exhange with ozzie gontang , maintainer of the running faq . ozzie had noticed that i had linked to his writings in the past and wrote to say that he liked the site and had hoped that the running was going well. i took the opportunity to tell his that while everything seemed to be going well, i thought i might be getting a case of shin splints. he send me an article called, healing shin splint folklore and prevention , which contains some very important advice regarding shin splints:

"I continue to believe that the shin spints come more from the overstride and the deceleration and then the overstretch of the shin which should be relaxing but hasn't had time. It is then being stretched by the contracting calf muscle. For me I define an overstride as landing on the back of the heel of the shoe. If I were jumping up and down, I would never land on the heels of my shoes nor on my heels if I were barefoot. So why run landing on the heels...and by this I mean the back of the heels if one were barefoot."

so with the knowledge that it my troubles might be due to an overstride, for the entire week, i made a conscious effort to shorten my stride and land with less force on my heels.

well, all i can say is, "thanks ozzie!" the shin splints are gone. the benefits from shortening my stride, were seem almost immediately and now, a mere week later, the pain in my shin is completely gone.

6:55 PM

Sunday, April 11, 2004

week 7-8: running meets reality

the last two weeks have been busier than normal as we're in the process of selling our house which tends to put a damper on the running schedule. i've also been feeling something in my right shin which might possibly be the first signs of shin splints, so i've been backing off the schedule a little.

in week 7, i intentionally ditched two midweek short 4 milers to give my shins a rest and then ended up missing the 16 miler because we were frantically getting our house ready to show. for week 8 i was still feeling some tenderness in my right shin so i skipped the saturday 8 miler. i did get an easter day 17 miler in today and am happy to report that by this morning my shin was feeling better and didn't seem to act up during the run at all. sometimes in the early stages of shin splints, they don't feel that bad after you get warmed-up, so i'll be keeping a close watch on how things feel in the morning. week 10 looks like i get a little break again, so that should help things out as well.

my running times are feeling pretty solid. when i run run more than 12 miles, i tend to think of things in terms of 8 mile "splits" [ i.e. am i running the second 8 miles at the same pace that i rant the first 8 miles ]. even though i'm substantially more tired at the end of the run, i seem to be keeping essentially the same split times, so that's a good sign. it's hard to imagine keeping it up for 26.2 miles, but i guess that's what training is for.

1:40 PM

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"I think you devise your own limits for your own personal convenience. There are some people who wish to have limits, and they'll invent as many boxes for themselves as they want. It's like, you know, men invented armor. They wanted to protect themselves from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and so forth. And people do the same thing psychically and psychologically. They build their own armor. They build their own rathole, whatever it is. And they choose their existence. Whether they do it consciously or whether it is helped along by a government or an education system, somebody is helping to shape this imaginary box you live in, but it doesn't have to be there."

--frank zappa

runner's world / joe henderson / chicago marathon /

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