Day 2: Alignment and Time Trial

October 3, 2012 at 10:28 am 4 comments

Yesterday–Day 2 of the half marathon training plan, but my first day running–I went down to a park by the river, where it’s relatively flat and practiced the form intervals for just short of 30 minutes. The focuses were feet and spinal alignment–the foundation of posture.

For the first 10 minutes I only thought about my feet–making sure they landed flat and with my toes pointing straight ahead. I would focus on them for one minute and then not focus on anything for one minute, and so on. It was actually really productive to do this–I realized that my feet have a tendency to slightly splay out, and focusing on directing the energy in my feet forward made a difference. The beautiful view also didn’t hurt.

Another 10 minutes were spent alternating focus on lengthening my spine and not thinking about anything. Before starting the run, I had somewhat scoffed at the idea of practicing these basic ideas because I assumed I already had them down. But as with my feet, I realized that only thinking about making my spine long and creating my column (as opposed to focusing on my stride length, arm swing, and a bunch of other form focuses) really helped! I felt more solid and I was able to feel my lean more. I also started playing with taking the energy I was expending bouncing up and down and directing it forward through my core and chest. By doing that I could really feel a difference. My core engaged and my upper body took on some of the load and it all felt great! Now, I couldn’t sustain it for very long, so I know I need to work on getting stronger but it was a good feeling. It helped me start to understand what Danny Dryer is talking about with your upper body doing half the work and your chi propelling you forward.

The last part of the run, I alternated thinking about how my feet were landing and maintaining a long spine. I ended up doing a 2.10 mile loop and got back to the car in 26 minutes. I drank some water, stretched, started my Map My Run app and set off for the one mile time trial.

This would determine my pace for my long slow distance (LSD) run on Saturday. Knowing that I was timing myself actually made me a little jittery and I started the mile with a bit of a race mentality. I wanted to push myself and see how fast I could run it, but had to keep reminding myself that I was just setting a pace for a longer run Saturday and not to go too fast. I ran an 11:18 pace, almost a minute faster than I had just run.

Overall, it was a promising first run. My time trial pace is about a minute and 18 seconds slower than my goal pace for the Surf City Half, but I think I can get there over the next 4 months. For now, I’m thinking positive and feeling good. I’m actually looking forward to running again.

Today is an off day–an evening of running errands and getting the house ready for my mom’s visit over the weekend. Tomorrow I’ll be back out there doing a similar run of form focus intervals–more posture work–before my LSD of 3 miles on Saturday.

Stay tuned…

What do you think? Is improving my pace by a minute and a half crazy talk?

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve made?

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Entry filed under: Chi Running, Half Marathon Training, Posture. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John  |  October 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I’ve been doing something similar, focusing on one thing in a run. At the moment its keeping my head up and aligned.

    Reply
    • 2. Steph  |  October 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      I think focusing on less really helps. And keeping your head up and creating the column is so important!

      Reply
  • 3. ejmaldonado  |  October 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

    you would be crazy to think otherwise… you can definitely do it… so much can happen in 4 months, and you’ve accomplished so much already… if it’s any help, and to answer your last question, this time last year my 5k pace was around 10:15… in November, i knocked it down by a minute… December, another minute… today, my 5k PR pace is 6:30… i don’t know if that’s helpful in showing that it’s quite possible to get down to your desired pace in 4 months… i continue to work on lowering my half marathon pace each time out and everyday i see progress… keep up the hard work:)

    Reply
    • 4. Steph  |  October 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks so much EJ!

      Reply

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