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    Back on the Horse


    I went for my first post-marathon run on Sunday morning. It sucked. My knees were sore and I just wasn’t feeling it. But still! 4k is better than no k. Then yesterday I donned my swim cap and goggles and headed to the pool for 1000 metres. It’s been a while since I’ve spent any time in the water and it felt good. I can definitely feel it in my shoulders today, which I also love.

    Tonight is the first night of the 10k Clinic I’m coaching at the Halifax Running Room. I had set this up a couple of months ago so that I would stay running through the summer instead of falling into a post-marathon slump.

    In July there’s a triathlon I’m thinking of doing, then the Army Half (for which we’re crunching numbers to make sure we can go) and then! Team Diabetes offered me a spot on their trip to the Cayman Islands in December. I raised enough for Ottawa so cover the trip to the Cayman Islands so my fundraising is already done! How could I say no?

    That will bring me to a total of three half marathons in 2011 (I ran Hypothermic Half in February) and one full. I have never, ever run this much, this consistently. I’m… let’s use the phrase “aware of avoiding injuries” instead of “worried about injuries” just because of the volume of kms I’ll be putting in over the next six months.

    So tell me, when your kilometres are going to stay fairly high for a while, what’s the best way to avoid injury?


    1. When I started running four years ago, I suffered several setbacks from injuries while training for my first half-marathon – a torn calf muscle, a torn Achilles tendon, and severe lower back pain. I was going to give up, figuring at the time that my 44 year old body just wasn’t up for the abuse that it use to tolerate when I was younger. A colleague of mine then pointed me to natural running form and ChiRunning, and gave me a lesson in the technique.

      The basic idea is to change the running form so that all the work is done by the large core muscles, instead of the smaller extremity muscles in the lower leg and foot. Add to that a landing where the foot itself is used to absorb most of the impact energy, so that it doesn’t get transferred to the ankle and knee on up. This is accomplished by skeletal alignment, coupled with a mid-foot landing directly under the body (putting the stride behind the body), a slightly forward lean, and proper arm swing working together. It took a lot of concentration over many long runs to get the hang of it – in fact I use to complain that I would come back from a run more tired mentally than physically.

      This was a life-changer for me – I now run marathons (I ran Boston, then Ottawa this year so far) and haven’t had an injury in over two and a half years. Sure, I’ve had periods of persistent soreness as I adapted to the new form, but not an injury that prevented me from training. I now put a lot of kilometres on my body weekly, without any complaints.

      Doing an internet search for ChiRunning and natural running form is a good place to start. Good luck!

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