Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fresh start, a newbie once again!

So my hamstring/tendon issue is resolving (a hell of a lot slower than I would have liked) and it's time to get back to running. Pity I missed the end of autumn and start of winter. I'll just have to get stuck into it with all my layers!
Having not been running for 6 weeks, I've lost some fitness and endurance. I've kept up my cross training (rower, core work etc) but it doesn't replace a nice long run or a speed workout. I miss them.
Before my injury, I had started wearing my VFFs for two or three runs a week, up to 10k. Marathon training kind of got in the way of getting any further than that though. So I've taken the decision to have a fresh start at running. I always feel it's better to practice the technique slowly, master it and then speed it up as required. This is also true in other sports. To this end, I went to a local Chi Running course, hosted by Catherina McKiernan, Ireland's only Master Instructor.
I went along to the hotel where the course was being held and quickly realized I was the only one of 13 wearing minimalist shoes - VFF KSOs to be exact. During the day, each one of the other attendees asked me about the VFFs, and I was even asked to give a quick talk about them and barefoot running (not that I'm any kind of expert!).
So we had a talk first, then Catherina made a video of each of us running along about 200m from the front, side and back. After that we went inside for some drills on correct posture etc and then we went for four laps of the local park to practice. Then we had lunch and chatted for a while before doing more drills and practice. Then we got to see how each of us ran on the video. It was the first time I'd seen how I looked when I ran and Catherina said I kept my back very tense and stuck my elbows out too much, but otherwise ok. A lot of the other runners were heel striking etc, so we each got critiqued.
We then chatted about various running related things (I was asked to talk about nutrition, but I was poorly prepared and didn't do the topic justice) and went over some stretches. Last up was a short, slow run in loops of about 100m where Catherina could run beside each of us and recommend how to correct our form. Gotta say I took a lot away from this and found it well worth it. All my runs since the course have focused on form, posture and just getting it all to gel without any speed at all. Just practice, practice. Also, all of my runs since I was injured have been in the VFFs (either Bikilas or KSOs). I'll bring distance up as I feel I can and then when that's comfortable and my posture is ok I'll add in speed work.
One step at a time...



  1. I'm glad you can get back into it again Eoin.You would have a much slower comeback if you hadn't kept up all your other training over your down time. Sounds like an interesting course!

  2. So glad you're back. Nice to hear you easing back into it though. :-)

  3. Welcome back to the running world Eoin, The Chi running course sounded good :)

  4. not wanting to spoil it here guys, Chi running teaches you to run tilted in order to use the gravity to pull yourself forward. I say that we are supposed to run tall, to stand tall, to use our gluteus to power our legs forward. Chi running consumes more energy...I would not recommend it and I have been a runner for 36 years, yes since I was 2 1/2

    I ll echo the other comments too, by saying nice to hear you are back!

  5. Well actually Chi Running teaches you to stand tall, with a correct and strong posture and *then* lean. So you aren't slumping and leaning. Being totally straight while running would pretty much mean your feet are landing in front of your centre of mass, which is not a good idea.