I haven't posted about running in a while, and generally don't write about it very often...but I feel like doing so today. I've increased my mileage to 20 miles a week for about 3 months now (with the exception of a few bad weeks) and am so glad I did. What was at first a daunting weekly assignment has become somewhat of a habit and slight obsession. I haven't loss any weight (but my legs have gotten bigger), nor have I gotten significantly faster (maybe about 30 seconds from last year's times) but I just feel better and am running more than ever before. Oh it hurts so good to punch out a good run after an underwhelming work day! Anyway, here are a few thoughts I had on some recent runs:
- Changing my arm swing and footfall patterns help me up hills. As I start going up a hill, lowering my arms (to just above my waist) and swinging them in a way that looks like I'm making small arm loops powers me upwards. As for my footfall pattern, I switch from a parallel pattern to a single-file pattern. Allow me to explain. When you walk or run, you (usually) do so in a fashion where your feet land parallel to each other (imagine your footprints). If you imagine a supermodel walk, one foot lands directly in front of the other (imagine what those footprints would look like - single file). It may just be mind games with myself, but I feel like this footfall pattern enables me to climb the hill more efficiently.
- My nose is always up to something, even when I'm not running. It runs, it's congested... there's always something in it and always something ready to come out of it. I've found that blowing my nose while running can screw up my breathing, but I've learned how to time the blow with when it's time for me to exhale. To accommodate an extra long nose blow, a long inhale is needed. I've also found that taking long sigh-like breaths during a run can help control the urge to breath hyperventilator-style. It also helps you believe that this run is a piece of cake, so much so that it makes you sigh (or at least you can sound like that's the case when you're passing someone while doing this).
- The downside to my increased mileage is that my joints get fatigued, and the joints that I feel it most in are my ankles. Toward the end of a run, I'm not only fatigued but my form is compromised, and I think due to this compromised running form, I experience more ankle-rolling, primarily on uneven surfaces (or it could be that I just have weak ankles from spraining them so many times as a kid). It is these instances that made me realize that my ankles may be in need of some mobilization and strengthening exercises.