Saturday, November 29, 2008

Where it's so white as snow

Today was one of those days where you make the right choice of when to run. I chose early this morning instead of later in the day and was given mostly packed snow and calm conditions. If I had waited until the end of the day I would have run through 8-10 inches of snow. For that, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Snow get credit for today's title.

Because I chose wisely this morning it was a fairly uneventful day for training. I met up with John Wirum for our usual Saturday run and we pumped out a nice steady 7-miler. I'm hopeful  I can keep John doing more runs with me as that will go a long way towards helping him prepare for Boston. Now is a good time to catch me as I'm not going too far or fast for him. I think he runs much better than he gives himself credit for when we train. I'm predicting great things for him at Boston this spring.

Legs felt good today and I could have run another 3 miles but I'm satisfied with what I got. I can feel the bit of pop in my stride that means I'm somewhat light on my feet, especially through the loose snow. I've been focusing more on my ankle strength and flexibility by doing the balance disc in our shop and on the Bosu ball at the club. I believe the ankle is hugely important towards helping with balance, flexibility and explosiveness.

I remember reading Lasse Viren's coach commenting on ankle power when I was a sophomore in college and it has stuck with me since. Most runners don't think of running as a balance activity but you are always on one leg at a time. Good balance takes the stress off the muscles that go up the leg. Explosiveness in the ankle also allows one to pop off the ground more quickly, thus spending more time in the air and less on the ground. Notice how the Kenyans seem to always be off the ground when running?

There are many ways to work on developing spring in your ankles, but the simplest is just jumping. As I get stronger I'll be adding more plyometric work to my routine. But a very easy way is jump rope as a warm up and focus on being light on your feet. However, if you get tired - stop. You want to train yourself to always be light and loose. Getting tired and slower will help you develop those skills better. I already know how to run slow, so I stop when I feel my form slipping.

Keep it light and loose


Tom Ritchie said...

Another great post John. I had wrestling practice from 9-11am. When it was finished the snow was coming down good. Did the mille instead and looked out my window at the snow.

Kelrock said...

Thanks for the response John.

I also agree about ankle and general foot strength. I remember reading an article written about Said Aouita where he discusses ankle flexibility and strength as being a key part of his routine.

So I decided no bike today either. I am just going to rest for 2 or 3 days and do some store visits. Its all good me man. Looking forward to todays post!


Tom Ritchie said...

I really like the jump rope video. I've done a lot of jump roping when I use to warm-up or cut weight for wrestling. I never jumped rope with a good looking lady like that though.