Taking it to the track
Today marks Cheri's return to running after 3 weeks off due to Runner's Knee - a very common knee injury. She wanted to start running last week but I convinced her to give it one more week. She's not training for anything so a few more days off won't do any harm. Running too soon will, however.
I also convinced her to buy a pair of neutral running shoes, so I'm really hoping I'm right about her support shoes being the source of the knee pain. I told her to get a pair of neutral shoes, but she was thinking of going to the extreme and buying a pair of racing flats. We went to Dick's and found the perfect compromise - Adidas Boston Classic. It's a race shoe with more cushioning for longer distances. Basically, it's right in between a racing flat and a neutral shoe.
I spent some time last winter working on the Pose method of running, and while I never came close to perfecting it I did change my form a bit and ran 1,000 miles so far without an injury. I don't think I ever went more than 250 before. So Cheri wanted to learn a bit about the Pose method and see if it would help her out too.
The rain let up for a bit today so we went to the track at the Verona High School to do a workout - the first track workout for both of us. Track workouts are typically pretty tough and probably not the best place to start your training after an injury, but I thought it would be perfect if we kept it super easy. It's a soft surface and we could run one lap (400 meters - 1/4 mile) at a time focusing on form. Then we'd rest a bit and do another lap. [not to mention my legs are still sore from the Ironman - mainly because I couldn't resist the aquathon Thursday - running a 5K 4 days after an IM is a horrible, horrible idea]
We started with 2 laps super easy to get warmed up. Then I taught Cheri what little I know about the Pose method. Mainly we're focusing on getting her to land on the ball of her foot or mid foot instead of landing on her heels first. We're also working on shortening her stride a bit and getting a faster turnover rate (cadence). She's currently running at an 82 cadence (meaning her right foot hits the ground 82 times per minute) and we'd like to get that above 85. Maybe as high as 90 by spring.
After working on the Pose method for about 20 minutes, we did a few drills that I thought would be easy - high knees and butt kicks. Not so easy. In fact, they were pretty tough. They'll definitely be a part of my 10K training.
Then we did 3x400 with 2 minutes rest between each lap. We kept the pace really slow and focused on form - landing on the balls of our feet and taking short strides with a quick cadence. Fast feet.
Then we did some strengthening. We did some walking lunges, side lunges and squats. Then we came home and did a core workout.
All total we ran 1.65 miles. Not much, but it's a start. Best of all, Cheri didn't have any knee pain. Her calves are really sore though, but that comes with the territory when you start landing on the balls of your feet.
Monday she'll do some more strengthening exercises and Wednesday she gets to run again...maybe as many as 2 miles!
Hopefully this will be the start of a long injury free streak for her.