After a rather un-sensible start, I decided to do this properly. I saw Gayle for a running biomechanics assessment, and Carl for a training plan.
I have seen Gayle’s diary fill up recently with running biomechanics assessments. Awareness is growing that running style can be improved with assessment and coaching, and the runners of Wellington are keen to learn. Gayle can watch you run just a few hundred meters, and tell how strong your core is looking, whether you are heel striking, and what your cadence is. It sounds pretty complex stuff but when she breaks it down and explains it, it becomes very simple. She is the guru of these things.
I was encouraged to hear my core looked strong, and I have my weekly FASTfit sessions with Carl to thank for that. I was also somewhat surprised and encouraged to hear I do not heel strike, I had always assumed I would be a heel striker, but I think that has more to do with the fact I like the phrase, rather than the fact I have much self awareness of my own biomechanics. When it comes to cadence, however, I was getting it all wrong. I (rather sensibly I thought) use my long legs to slope along using long slow strides. This is the exact reverse of efficient running style, which should be short fast bouncy steps. I am not a bouncy person, I suspected changing my style would take a bit of work. Gayle went through some drills with me and explained it would take a couple of weeks to retrain my body, and then running would actually seem easier. My legs were working too hard and by taking shorter steps and leaning in I would move more effectively. I felt like I got a great deal from the 40 minute biomechanical assessment, and would recommend it to all runners.
Next I saw Carl to discuss a realistic training plan. He asked me what exercise I enjoy doing most (biking), how many days I can get out and train (around 3, maybe 4 at a push) and whether I would be able to stick to some daily exercises (yes… although that was before he introduced me to the evil foam roller!). All seemed to be on-track and I was continually encouraged by both Gayle and Carl telling me that it doesn’t need to be hard slog if you’re doing it right.
Sunday morning is my favourite time to get up early and head off on my bike (and Carl had incorporated this into my plan – he’s nice like that!). Yesterday however, the wind just sounded too strong. I don’t mind cycling into a little breeze, but once it gets to the stage that staying on the bike is a challenge I wimp out. I figured I’d get my daily exercises done and hope the wind dropped later on. I was accompanied by all four kids. They were having fun, so I went off plan and got them doing joy jumps. Style and form went out of the window as the joy jumping turned into a crazy cross between twister and break dancing. Not something I could have imagined I would be doing at 8am on a Sunday morning before I had kids, and evidently not that sensible either, as suddenly the joy evaporated and I felt my back ping into spasm in that horrible way my back is prone to do.
There are times when it’s extremely convenient to live with a physio. Apparently the damage is pretty minor (again probably thanks to my core strength from FASTfit). My back is taped up and I probably should avoid anything too bouncy for a while. I’ve always been suspicious of joy jumps… and kids…the two combined should obviously come with a warning label!
*Caution – these children can seriously sabotage your best laid plans…