As with last year's big mass training runs, I'll reflect on most runs and look for some pointers to share about what I saw:
This year we had another great group out for the 1st night of VMC training runs.
Last night you all got your training schedules, did your first interval run, and learned some about your new stride, how to breathe, and to NOT go buy shoes before next week's run!
Some things to self-examine:
Make sure you are landing on the balls of your feet (think of landing flat)-have someone else watch you and tell you if you're still landing on your heels. As most of you have been running on your heels for 10, 20, 30, 40 years transitioning to the forefoot is not an easy swap.
Also remember that you are not tiptoe running - you want your forefoot to land first, but then you Do want your heel to touch immediately thereafter. So you land forefoot, midfoot, heel-then the heel starts to come off the ground and you immediately pull into your next stride. But it is important that your heel does 'tap' the ground each stride to allow your calf muscles that split second of relax time before it contracts again.
Shorten your stride. Already done that? Good, now cut it in half again. Your stride must be short enough where you are not stretching out in front, you're not landing on your heel, and you Are landing directly underneath your center of gravity. Think of it as a bicycle stroke.
The ground is hot. You're running on a bed of coals. Do Not stay on the ground - as soon as there is daylight between your heel and the ground, Lift immediately into your next stride (fast cadence)
As you work on lifting/pulling your leg instead of pushing into your next stride, remember that this is Not high-stepping. That doesn't mean you lift/pull your knees up to your chest, only that those are the muscles you use. Lifting your foot (knees) high off the ground takes a lot of effort but gives no return - so you want your feet to stay as close to the ground as possible. Think of it as if you're almost skiing - your feet glide forward, just barely over the surface of the ground. This way you're not wasting any energy (remember - it's all about efficiency) and your feet (and the rest of you) have less distance to 'fall' back to the ground, thus even less impact.
Lastly, I did not bring any of my books to the training runs last night and honestly don't plan on pushing them there, I'd much rather you just buy them on your own if you'd like a copy.
The book is "Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed" and is available on Amazon, Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, etc. The ebook formats (iPad/iPhone, Kindle, etc.) can be found on Diesel-ebooks