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  1. #1
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    Fast swim/bike--a dud on the run...help!! :-(

    I can swim 1:20 per hundred yards for 2000 yards, hold 22mph on a bike for an hour--maybe faster--then get out run by old ladies with walkers (7 minute miles/ 5k--8 minute miles in a 10k). It's pitiful, and years of trying to run faster haven't made me a lick faster--I think I'm actually getting slower. :-( (Maybe it's age?--40). I determined to overcome this during the spring season, and I ended up tired all the time, constantly acheing in my legs--in short, I over-trained and went backwards in performance. Now I'm trying a 12 week 1/2 marathon training regimen that has me doing slower than 8 minute mile runs (e.g 8 miles at 8:20 pace). This seems counter-intuitive...don't I need to run faster than an 8 minute mile in training if I want to run under 8 minute miles? Beings as my intuition has failed me for 7 years on the running category, I am SURE my thoughts on running are all wrong. How can I get to a 7:45/mile pace for a 1/2 marathon? (Man, I'll be satisfied with even small progress at this point.)

    Thanks for any advice.

    David

  2. #2
    TriBob
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    Each workout has a specific purpose. Most of your runs should be aerobic. Use a HRM. You will hate it in the beginning; but, after a month you will start to see the gains you want. After you have a good base, you will add speed work. Intervals, hill repeats, fartleks, etc.

  3. #3
    I get high on lactic acid ^*^BATMAN^*^'s Avatar
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    Run at a higher steps per minute. Take shorter paces, but faster, that will allow you to use less muscle power, so you can go faster, longer. Thats how i did it on sunday, and impressed myself with a 35 minute 7.5km.

    I am the same ad you thouhg, fast swimmer/cyclist......not even close to fast runner.
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  4. #4
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    This is where that Chi Running is supposed to help! The faster you go, the less effort it takes...

    I'm not living proof by any means, I'm well acquainted with the little old ladies and their walkers, but I am getting a little faster. The book was available at our local library and I'm trying to absorb what's in it. Totally different style than what I was used to. Just some food for thought (low carb)...

  5. #5
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    This was my curse for a long time, but just this past year I started to see massive improvement. Just this past weekend, post race, someone I had run down said: "I remember you flying past me at Strawberry Fields." I'm still not a spectacular runner, but have at least managed to crack the 20min mark for 5K off-the-bike.

    Key Elements:
    1) Super high bike cadence. I ride at close to 100rpm unless I'm accelerating. You can still average 22-23mph, but this keeps it aerobic so your legs don't feel like anchors.
    2) Hate to say it, but weight loss. Fortunately this happens pretty naturally with proper aerobic run training. A case of bronchitis helped me as well.
    3) Long base runs at 1min - 1:30min slower per mile than your intended race pace. This works. I typically do long runs at 8-8:30min miles but have run half marathons (sore and untapered) at a little over 7min miles. This adapts your body for oxygen economy -building more blood vessels, etc. To get through these mentally think about form rather than speed.
    4) Form: Get on your toes. Shorten your stride. Watch out for heel strike (putting on the brakes). Especially work on your kick. Be sure that during the long runs running easier doesn't simply mean your kick goes out the window. You will know when its high enough because your hamstrings will ***** and moan (at first) but the recovery of your leg during the swing phase just seems to flow better. Pick one aspect of form to work on each week (starting with your kick). Check out the visualization suggested by "The Pose Method." I don't know about becoming a fast runner by drills alone, but it does a good job of helping you think about what good running feels like.
    5) Hamstring curls.
    6) More hamstring curls. Fast running is about a fast kick. A fast kick is about strong hamstrings. This is more or less an offseason fix but it helps with the kick in part 4.
    7) If you can get a video analysis this helps too.

    Keep at it. Eventually you'll get off the bike thinking "time to take down some cyclists..."

  6. #6
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    What a great, helpful reply! Thank you. I hadn't thought about emphasizing my kick. I'm 6'4", so typically, I'm probably over-striding, trying to catch more of the ground in front of me. You seem to agree with the books on the slower pace for long runs. I would LOVE to look forward to the run for a change. Based on your mentioned times, you're the lady that I hate: she typically passes me and is nice as they come and has the nerve to say "Great job, keep up the good work"...and I get to watch her trot on away from me. :-)

    Thanks, again.

    David

  7. #7
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    The heart rate monitor was my other question...any recommendations? Everything I've read indicates that I waaaay over-train. My thoughts were always that I should get used to the pain during my training so that I'd be able to live with the discomfort of a hard effort during the races. I have to take hospital call that keeps me up all night sometimes, so the constant, acheing, near-dozing-off fatigue of over-training just wasn't working for my tri-life or my real life. Hence, I'm in here trying to get you guys' wisdom. I'm tired of doing this the hard way. If it stops being fun...well, you know the rest of that one. Will a simple heart rate monitor that yells at me when I exert outside my aerobic range be the main thing I need?

    Thanks for your help.

    David

  8. #8
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    You've got to do some intervals, man. You can't increase your speed until you spend some time actually running faster than your goal. Your body gets used to running faster = it will run faster. See if you can find a gentle hill about a mile long and do repeats up the hill, that will get you on a good start and be easier on your body.

    And yes, a quicker stride is better.
    Steve

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    Speed work, hills and Threshold runs. You have to teach your body what running faster is. Be able to decipher the difference between your 5k, 10k and Half Marathon paces are and learn to use them in your training. One workout would be...
    10 min. warm up
    6 x 1 mile at 30 seconds per mile slower than 10k pace with 1 minute rest inbetween.
    15 min cool down.

    If you don't know pace go to a track and run reps there until it feels familiar. I don't know how much you run but do more of it. And if you want to run a good Half then you should be doing a long run that should be +13 miles and your long run shouldn't be more than 1/3 of your mileage, preferably 1/4.
    Yes I know that means 40 to 50 miles a week but cut some of your time on the bike and it won't seem so bad.
    By the way, I've never used a heart rate monitor, it's all part of learning your body, not a little gizmo.

  10. #10
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    I realized later that I forgot to mention speedwork. This is where you "get used to the pain." Warm up for a good 20min and then do some accelerations (0-95% over 100yds). This is a neuromuscular thing because you have to pull your form together to run faster. Its strong medicine and best given in the smallest effective dose. Speedwork requires a solid base to avoid getting hurt. I typically do one track workout per week. As I get into better shape, I add one "tempo workout" per week.

    "Fixing your run" is best done in the offseason. I ramped up from around 20mi/week to around 35mi/week. The mileage increase will lead to injuries if your form is bad. If its done too fast you get hurt and take 3 steps backwards. I used to get hurt putting in 15mi/week but last week I was able to put in 40.

    Call? Are you a physician? I'm starting med school in about 3 weeks.

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    Wow - this has been an incredibly helpful thread for me too. My first 2 triathlons I've finished at the front of my group after the bike but then get passed by like 20 people on a 5k run - it's miserable. My hamstrings generally don't get as sore as other parts of my leg (especially my calves) on a run so I might try working on the kick. I'm starting track workouts this week but it sounds like getting better will be a longer-term thing - maybe a year or two before I get down to those 7 and 8 minute miles from my current pace of 10-minute miles (I know - really, really slow). Thanks again!

  12. #12
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    Hard workouts are important for sure, but faster runners use different running techniques and becoming more efficient is just as important as becoming stronger. I coach some of the fastest runners in triathlon and we continue to work on running technique every week.

    Fundamentals of Efficient Running Technique
    2004 by Ken Mierke
    Developer, Evolution Running: Run Faster with Fewer Injuries

    1. Land with your foot directly beneath your hips, never out in front. This reduces braking and impact stress, letting you carry energy from the previous stride efficiently into the next.

    2. Keep the heel unweighted throughout the stride cycle. Efficient runners keep almost all of their weight on the forefoot throughout the weight bearing phase. This provides both shock absorption and energy return for propulsion.

    3. Run with a turnover of at least 180-182 foot-strikes per minute at any running speed. This reduces the need for vertical displacement and minimizes fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment and impact stress.

    4. Create Propulsion through hip extension and not knee flexion or knee extension. This creates a more efficient, horizontal propulsion and engages larger muscle groups to do the work.

    5. Accelerate the foot backward before it hits the ground. This minimizes braking and allows propulsion to begin the instant the foot becomes weight bearing.

    6. Minimize contact time between the feet and ground. This minimizes vertical displacement and allows optimal use of elastic recoil.

    You might be interested in my book The Triathlete's Guide to Run Training or the video that Joe Friel and I produced about running technique, Evolution Running: Run Faster with Fewer Injuries. Both are available at www.EvolutionRunning.com Good luck, Ken

  13. #13
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    Damn, my goal for this summer is to get under a 10min/mile for 5 miles and you're complaining about 7min/mile for a 5k?!?!??! To me you ARE fast! Of course, I've only been running for 2 months.

    Thanks to all who provided info on the OP's questions, VERY useful and informative!

  14. #14
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    I would simply say....hire a coach. It's cheap actually. Probably less annually than your race entry fees. The suggestions on form are very good, no doubt. However, in order to properly advise someone on what they need to do to get better on the run...it's important to look at the big picture. You probably are over-training or at least running too hard on days you should be going easy. If your coach puts you through a few HR tests he/she will be able to determine exactly whyat your training intensity needs to be. Your already a very good swimmer / cyclist so there's a good chance there is pretty good runner in there too. The hardest thing for me to learn this year was not what to do....but what not to do. I used to do almost all my runs around the same pace, always med-hard particularly at the end. The tendency is to think that if I'm not hurting a little...I'm not helping myself. Easy days should be EEAASY...hard days should be hard.

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    If you want to become a faster runner you're going to have to put in some quality speed sessions. You can use a track for convenient measurements or you can just use your car to estimate a road course. Nevertheless, you can do all the aerobic training on earth and only be "so fast." I used to run the 1500m/3000steeple in college so i'm familiar with distance training (i've competed at essentially every distance other than marathon). Mile repeats will really get your legs into shape for the middle part of any race. If you're just doing a sprint-tri, mile repeats might even be superfluous. For 5K runs I would recommend doing 800m (1/2 mile) repeats with enough rest in between that allows you to do them pretty fast. For example, if you wanted to run 18:00 for 5K that's obviously ~6min/mile. Run your 800 repeats in about 2.50. Take enough time between repeats so that you can consistantly run 4 or 6 in a row at 2.50 pace. As you gain fitness, start decreasing your rest in between repeats until you can start running your repeats in 2.45. So on and so forth. My coach always used to say that 800 repeats were a perfect distance for any runner because they build character. They get your body used to moving fast, and they're just short enough to where running faster makes each repeat end sooner. There are all kinds of methodologies about speed training. This is merely one suggestion based on personal experience. The rest between repeats is what makes you faster and faster, not necessarily how quickly or slowly you complete each one.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p9morbid
    If you want to become a faster runner you're going to have to put in some quality speed sessions. You can use a track for convenient measurements or you can just use your car to estimate a road course. Nevertheless, you can do all the aerobic training on earth and only be "so fast." I used to run the 1500m/3000steeple in college so i'm familiar with distance training (i've competed at essentially every distance other than marathon). Mile repeats will really get your legs into shape for the middle part of any race. If you're just doing a sprint-tri, mile repeats might even be superfluous. For 5K runs I would recommend doing 800m (1/2 mile) repeats with enough rest in between that allows you to do them pretty fast. For example, if you wanted to run 18:00 for 5K that's obviously ~6min/mile. Run your 800 repeats in about 2.50. Take enough time between repeats so that you can consistantly run 4 or 6 in a row at 2.50 pace. As you gain fitness, start decreasing your rest in between repeats until you can start running your repeats in 2.45. So on and so forth. My coach always used to say that 800 repeats were a perfect distance for any runner because they build character. They get your body used to moving fast, and they're just short enough to where running faster makes each repeat end sooner. There are all kinds of methodologies about speed training. This is merely one suggestion based on personal experience. The rest between repeats is what makes you faster and faster, not necessarily how quickly or slowly you complete each one.
    Great post! Great advice!
    I typically run about a 7:30 mile in training and also about that at triathlons. I'd love to get down into the 6:30 range. Your advice makes sense. I do intervals on the bike and in the pool - so it makes sense to start doing it for running.

  17. #17
    5AM ride again? Damn... XC99TF00's Avatar
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    Well, as opposed to everyone else in this thread, the run is my best part. And whoever said earlier to stay on your toes, wow, are you asking for an injury? No offense, but the crashpad in your heal is there for a reason. Much like P9morbid, I run in college as well, predominantly steeplechase, 5k and 10k. But during the summer I relax and use the triathlons as my cross training. I put in about 50 miles (short weeks) to 75 (long weeks) in combination with cycling and the occassional swim. In my opinion, unless your biomechanics are extremely poor, first worry about aerobic conditioning, and then worry about form.

    To boost the aerobic condition, do LSD long slow distance. Pace isn't the most important thing on these runs as the goal is to get out there and do some mileage at a relatively comfortable pace, but just hard enough that you will be tired at the end of the run. My long runs are in the range of 15-16 mi right now and I'll do them at about 7:35-45 pace, about 1:45-1:55 behind my 10k pace. For most people this is a long a** run, and most people won't need to do that much. This distance is really a once a week type of deal. Adjust your run so that it matches your current 10k race pace, for example, 8min/mile run 9:30-40 for your long runs. Works for everyone on my team, however, it may not for others.
    And don't boost any mileage by more than 7-8% in any given consecutive weeks. This is asking for an injury, so it is best to slowly boost your mileage.

    Normal runs just go a little faster than those LSD runs, but not much, and may last anywhere from 6-10 miles. Again, just getting the body out there running is the key factor.

    For speed building, I suggest, although it maynot work for some again, A good Tempo run or Fartlek. For a tempo, do a 1-2 mile warmup, anywhere from 3-8 miles at like 90% of race pace (depends on the distances you are training for), and then a comparable cool down of 1-2 miles with lots of stretching afterwards. This seems to help the endurance and turnover for racing. For the fartlek, we did a work out of 2 miles warm up, and then 3-4 sets of 1min @ race pace or a little faster if possible, 1min off, 2 on, 2 off, 3,3, and then repeat starting at one again. And cool down with an easy 1-2 miles. No need to do that many repeats, but runs such as this with accelerations are very beneficial to leg turnover. So whether you do something along these lines or maybe on a track run a fast lap, then slow, fast, slow, etc... for 2 or three miles, the turnover should improve over time.

    In any given week, you should limit yourself to no more than two hard workouts so that you don't burn out, whether they be tempo or fartlek or track. Eitherway, too much will do more harm than good, so pace your training.

    Now there are tons of other theories out there, and they are all just that (mine included), theories. Not everything works for each person. So you'll want to try out various types of workouts and if they work for you great, if they don't, well you can move on to the next training method. Either way, good luck to you and hopefully your new training, (whomever's plan you chose to try) will be beneficial for you in your racing season.

    Take care.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC99TF00
    Well, as opposed to everyone else in this thread, the run is my best part. And whoever said earlier to stay on your toes, wow, are you asking for an injury? No offense, but the crashpad in your heal is there for a reason.
    The crashpad in your heel is made by the shoe manufacturer because that is how most people run - and a lot of those people develop running injuries. Try running without shoes on. You won't crash down on your heel because you don't have padding. The reason (among others) our feet have arches is that we are designed to land on the flat part of our feet (between the ball and the heel) and the muscular/bone structure of our foot provides cushioning as it flexes. Landing on the sole of your foot rather than your heel will reduce the impact on your ankles, knees and hips. I have had 2 orthopedic surgeons (one a foot and ankle specialist - the other a sports medicine guy) my physical therapist and orthotic maker all confirm this. Read chi running. It discusses this point in depth.

  19. #19
    5AM ride again? Damn... XC99TF00's Avatar
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    I understand where you are meant to land, the point I was trying to get across is that most people do land on the heal, and if you buy appropriate shoes and evenually work out your biomechanics that can be fixed. But the avg. runner still does training runs by striking the heel first, and shoes are generally built with this in mind, with the exception of sprint and mid distance spikes, where a minimalist heel is a prevalent feature. I do my strides barefoot, so I know what you are talking about in that respect as well. This was more or less directed at an average runner who doesn't go see a coach to work on biomechanics, and just wants to become a faster runner. Cause without the aerobic ability, you can't even attempt to run faster with any great success, once you do this, then working on biomechanics will help increase efficiency and speed.

    A lot of the injuries that I have seen are caused by people wearing too much of a corrective shoe, when all they need is a simple cushioned shoe. When they get a stability or motion controlled shoe, it forces their foot to land and roll differently, thus creating the problem that they didn't have in the first place. Its unfortunite, because then they need these shoes they had been running in because of the new problem. Granted, I severely pronate, so I need some correction to my stride.

    Oh, sorry got off topic, but the flat part is the place to land, I agree, but the place that was mentioned was on the toes to the first post I responded to. You don't want to land on your toes because of the stress it places on bones such as your metatarcil (sp?). Either way, i think we are agreeing on the issue, but seeing it in our own view, which isn't coming across to the other person. Sorry if this was confusing...but I do agree witht he correct landing area of the foot.
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    Another, much easier, way to gain a little running fitness is to just add some tempos from time to time in your daily mileage. You want to warm up for a couple miles first of course, but then just gradually increase your effort until you get that "uncomfortable" feeling in your legs/arms. Try to stay right at that "effort" for "x" amount of time (not necessarily miles). Running right on that threshold of aerobic/anaerobic effort will prepare you mentally for the discomfort associated with being tired in a race. We all know how important it is to be familiar with the pain -- that's half the battle at least.

    If you're interested in being a real speedster then you're going to have to do some anaerobic running -- the kind of running where you certainly wouldn't want any photographs of. I'm not going to type out a big long deal, but if anyone is interested in REAL speed training I will elaborate more another time. I'm sure others probably have vast knowledge of this as well.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC99TF00
    I understand where you are meant to land, the point I was trying to get across is that most people do land on the heal, and if you buy appropriate shoes and evenually work out your biomechanics that can be fixed. But the avg. runner still does training runs by striking the heel first, and shoes are generally built with this in mind, with the exception of sprint and mid distance spikes, where a minimalist heel is a prevalent feature. I do my strides barefoot, so I know what you are talking about in that respect as well. This was more or less directed at an average runner who doesn't go see a coach to work on biomechanics, and just wants to become a faster runner. Cause without the aerobic ability, you can't even attempt to run faster with any great success, once you do this, then working on biomechanics will help increase efficiency and speed.

    A lot of the injuries that I have seen are caused by people wearing too much of a corrective shoe, when all they need is a simple cushioned shoe. When they get a stability or motion controlled shoe, it forces their foot to land and roll differently, thus creating the problem that they didn't have in the first place. Its unfortunite, because then they need these shoes they had been running in because of the new problem. Granted, I severely pronate, so I need some correction to my stride.

    Oh, sorry got off topic, but the flat part is the place to land, I agree, but the place that was mentioned was on the toes to the first post I responded to. You don't want to land on your toes because of the stress it places on bones such as your metatarcil (sp?). Either way, i think we are agreeing on the issue, but seeing it in our own view, which isn't coming across to the other person. Sorry if this was confusing...but I do agree witht he correct landing area of the foot.
    We agree.

  22. #22
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newadam
    How can I get to a 7:45/mile pace for a 1/2 marathon? (Man, I'll be satisfied with even small progress at this point.)
    You may also want to pick up a copy of ChiRunning by Danny Dryer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XC99TF00
    Well, as opposed to everyone else in this thread, the run is my best part. And whoever said earlier to stay on your toes, wow, are you asking for an injury? No offense, but the crashpad in your heal is there for a reason.....In my opinion, unless your biomechanics are extremely poor, first worry about aerobic conditioning, and then worry about form.

    Take care.
    I'm going to ingnore the tone of this post and agree with most of what was said. A few quick points though:
    1) Most people with a swimming background have not extremely poor but APPALING form. The kind that will cause injuries as soon as mileage is increased.
    2) Recommendations on foot strike vary tremendously, both in the medical/biomechanical literature and in the philosophy of various coaches (I have worked for years as an orthopedic research engineer). In my experience, older coaches tend to recommend heel-strike while more recently trained coaches tend to recommend midfoot strike (which feels like "on your toes" to most people who heel strike). Personally, by changing from heel-strike to midfoot strike I halted a never-ending cycle of running injuries and watched my times plummet.

    Happy running to all.

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    i'm a "mid-foot striker" by definition. However I tend to wear lightweight trainers instead of bulky shoes. I don't know ANYTHING about engineering or physics, but I think footwear makes a big difference in how you strike the ground. Older people (typically heavier and more worn out) cannot afford to wear shoes that don't provide support/cushioning. I wear prescription insoles so that's not AS big of a problem for me (and i'm only 24).

  25. #25
    5AM ride again? Damn... XC99TF00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racergirl
    I'm going to ingnore the tone of this post and agree with most of what was said. A few quick points though:
    1) Most people with a swimming background have not extremely poor but APPALING form. The kind that will cause injuries as soon as mileage is increased.
    2) Recommendations on foot strike vary tremendously, both in the medical/biomechanical literature and in the philosophy of various coaches (I have worked for years as an orthopedic research engineer). In my experience, older coaches tend to recommend heel-strike while more recently trained coaches tend to recommend midfoot strike (which feels like "on your toes" to most people who heel strike). Personally, by changing from heel-strike to midfoot strike I halted a never-ending cycle of running injuries and watched my times plummet.

    Happy running to all.

    Sorry if it sounded condecending. No offense meant at all. The swimmers generally have a great aerobic capacity though, so working on their form makes tons of sense. I mean, swimming they work out so many more muscles than the run or bike, that the muscles necessary for the latter two are used to exercise as opposed to a cyclist who is just picking up running and visa versa. That is where I found building up my aerobic base was toughest, just because of the different muscles that are predominantly used. I would be fine as a whole, but certain muscle groups would be tiring more quickly. (sorry if that was a tad on the confusing side... I think I am agreeing, but right now my vision is shot from eye drops after a visit to the optomotrist this morning, so I may have misread or mis responded)

    The footstrike itself, I'm not going to get into that since you worked as an orthopedic researcher. I suppose I thought you meant in your first post literally "on your toes". And I am just picturing someone in sprinting form trying to run a 10k or some long distance race, which would just beat the snot out of their shins and calf muscle as well as their achilles. I run with a moderate heel strike and that's what works for me, and others don't which I suppose hopefully is working for them. I think I was thrown off by the whole running on the toes thing and was just shocked by that. Anyhow, glad to hear you are knowledgable on the subject and would probably (well, definitely) put me to shame on any technical questions about it. I am just responding based on the little biomechanical info I know from my various trips to the orthopedic doctor, and personal experiences I have had within my 10 years of running. I think we agree as a whole and I just mis-interpretted your previous post. My apologies for my tone in response to that post.
    Road: '04 Campy Veloce equipt Softride Solo
    Mtn: '97 LX equipt Softride Powercurve
    Work in progress: Late 70's Richard Sachs - yet to be restored...

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