Sunday, December 2, 2007

Lions and Gazelles

So now that I am at the end of my strength phase (I'm moving into a strength maintenance cycle now), and after reading Lucho's blog, I've started a run focused phase where I will run 30 times in 30 days. If I like this I'll do similar 30 day stints in the pool and on the bike. So far I'm on day 7 now and not feeling anything like I thought I would. Honestly after 7 straight days of running I thought I'd be dead. But I'm not. And that is a good thing.

One thing I have noticed already is a much "lighter" foot strike. So instead of having a sensation of heavy legs I'm actually feeling lighter on my feet, almost as though I'm floating. I am splitting my time on the road with time on the treadmill to make this 30 day streak happen more easily.

In the past I wasn't really a big fan of treadmill running. I still feel you have to be careful with them. There is a huge potential for injury on them if you aren't an efficient runner or if your form gets sloppy due to fatigue. Simply put, if your pace is slower than that of the machine's, the machine has a tendency to "run" you. And if you run faster than the belt (this is less likely in the general population) then you try to "run" the treadmill. When either of these things happen, the slightest bit of pronation or supination gets exaggerated and puts more stress on your tendons and joints than you would experience on the road. I used to see treadmill injuries quite a bit when I worked at the running store. Part of the problem I suspect was the tendency to zone out while running on one, I suppose. Since you don't have to worry about where you are going and there is usually a TV monitor nearby, running mindlessly is easier. So as I use the treadmill, I'm going to pay attention to my form. When it starts to go south I'm getting off.

I think I'm gonna start wearing my old RunTex "Lions and Gazelles" tee shirt around the house after my workouts. It will serve as both my reward and my motivation to assure these daily runs happen. Here is what it says:

Lions or Gazelles?

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle:
when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

Think you want one too? Look here. Be careful though, I used to have two of those shirts and a sweat shirt. Now my mom has a sweat shirt and a tee shirt. I did not give either of them to her if you catch my drift...


Triteacher said...

That IS good motivation. :) And yes, family. They have a way of acquiring things that used to be mine... (Fortunately I give - or rather, take - as good as I get on this!)

ace said...

Yeah, the only reason I still have this one is I "took" it back from my dad. I told him to work things out with mom as to who got the sweat shirt and who got the tee. It is honestly amazing to see how much of my race swag the two of them have managed to liberate from my house...

Lucho said...

Nice write up.. I like the Lions and Gazelles analogy. I always say running isn't complicated, it is what the cavemen did to get their dinner, sort of similar.
I signed up for the Austin Marathon! I'm excited.. it will be my 4th open marathon race. Are you racing?

ace said...

That is a really good race. Top notch support throughout the course. The older courses used to be all downhill which made for some wicked fast times (and sore feet) but I think the newer course is more challenging with some nice long hills in the first few miles. I may do the half to test fitness. Racing a full marathon is still something I have to get my head around. Though reading your blog really inspires me. Who knows? When I read about your training, I do come away with an "anything is possible" attitude..

bill said...

We share another funny habit it appears. My best shirts, jackets, hoodies, and most of all sweatshirts ending up on someone else.

It's been fun for me to determine which is the better method for training gazelle or lion - I think they both speak to something different inside you.

ace said...

Hmmm, I don't know how it happened but I missed Bill's comment. But I think he is right how we run from day to day does depend on our mindset. And I think either can put you where your goals are. Sort of like sometimes you're the windshield, other times you're the bug. Though now that I think about it, that analogy doesn't quite hold true in this instance....