Showing posts with label gait. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gait. Show all posts

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Running Faster but Gait's A Disaster

In other words, I'm limping
In my April 14 post, I wrote about the way my blood pressure medicine was negatively affecting my running performance. A change in dosage made such a difference that I'm now running about 2 minutes per mile faster than my pace prior to March. 

While that's great, my lower back is not on board with it. Running harder seems to have triggered an old disc issue and on most runs my stride starts slightly unbalanced. This is likely due to nerve aggravation. This irritation has gone on for a few weeks and my aggravated nerves are beginning to aggravate me.
The problem minimizes after about 8 minutes into the run but it doesn't completely disappear and my antalgic gait appears to be costing me 30 to 45 seconds on my first mile. I really want that time back. I'm applying heat and ice to my lower back and have been doing active leg swings on the advice of Runsketeer TPP. It's helping, but recovery has been slow. 

In terms of performance, I looked at my running history on Garmin Connect and the data revealed a sharp drop-off in my pace that started in June 2017. 

This coincided with two interesting data points:

  • My stride length shortened 8.5% compared to the prior six months. 
  • My average cadence/SPM fell 8.6% over the same period.
I usually prefer downhill, but not in this case
Something caused this and I wanted to know what it was. Looking at my medical history at that time, I saw two things that happened around June 2017 that could explain it. 
  • My doctor put me on blood pressure medication. 
  • My ophthalmologist put me on a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor to address an eye pressure condition. 
I suspected that these drugs were negatively affecting my running, but I didn't know to what extent. Now that my BP medication is at the correct dosage and I'm no longer on that eye medication, my cadence and speed have returned to May 2017 levels. As great as that is, my stride length has not dramatically improved. I attribute that to my current back issue, so I still have a problem to solve.

I'm going to keep heating, icing and dynamic stretching and hopefully the nerve issues in my lower back will recede. If that happens, I think I may be able to improve my average pace by at least 30 seconds per mile. Will I ever get back to running well enough to credibly compete again? Well, that's the subject for another post.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Goodbye pain, hello speed

Illustration by Mr. Emerging Runner Jr. 
Today's run (street): 3.9 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.6 miles

Happy Mother's Day. We did most of our celebrating yesterday because we had a lot of stuff to do today. That meant family time during the day, followed by an early dinner at our favorite place. This weekend also included a couple of sunny outdoor runs for me that felt close to normal. The gating (or gaiting : ) factor is my stride that feels constrained on my left side. It's causing my left foot to land differently, so that it jams up against the front of my shoe.

Both of my weekend runs were pretty much the same, although they were tougher than they should have been. The issue wasn't my disc problem. Part of it came from an extremely heavy pollen count and high humidity, especially today. I'll also blame the minimal road work I've done over the past couple of months. My street runs are generally longer than the treadmill and elliptical workouts that I've been doing. Plus, these outside runs produce a lot more impact than fitness machines.

The bright spot in today's run happened near the end when I came down a long stretch and saw a couple walking in the distance. I picked up the pace to pass them and held it long enough to determine that I wouldn't cause a relapse of my upper thigh pain. My overall pace for the run was still very slow, but that last quarter mile was in the mid-8:00 range. No pain during or after.

Tomorrow I'll finish up the formal testing of alternative running machines. I want to keep the momentum of weekday workouts after this program finishes. I don't like using the locker room at my company's fitness center, but if I schedule my workouts for the end of the day, I can towel off with gym wipes and then head straight home. That's what I've been doing during this testing period.

Over the weekend, my son created a running graphic for me (above) that looks like some of the artwork I've created for this site. I like his running man (or woman!) and I think he nailed both the concept of running and a forward leaning stance in karate. I haven't had to combine those two things to date, but if I do, I'll have an icon to represent it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

World's shortest endurance run

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

I woke up with my usual disbelief that I'd be outside running in the next fifteen minutes. Although I ran on Sunday, this was my return to the 4:00 AM darkness, where bad things can happen if you don't pay proper attention. With my injuries healing, but still stinging, I got up, put on my running clothes and headed out the door.

Sunday's workout wasn't great, but it confirmed my ability to run. Two mornings later, I expected more, but I experienced tightness in my muscles and in the skin around my injuries. This discomfort forced me to adjust my stride a little and the result was sub-par, mechanical gait that prevented me from generating much speed. I focused on enduring the run, knowing above all else, that getting through a workout is preferable to skipping one.

At the end of my run, I approached my driveway carefully and managed to avoid the raised edge that tripped me up on Friday morning. I completed my usual route in a minute longer than normal and that gave me a 25 second per mile slower pace. Considering the circumstances, I'd call that a decent outcome.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unstable run

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles at 9:28

This morning brought a welcome break from the heat. According to the local news station the temperature was 71 when I went out for my run. I was hoping to experience the crisp air that occasionally appears on summer mornings when the humidity is low. It was certainly pleasant but there was too much moisture in the air to call it cool. I had a little trouble with my stride today and I can't really understand what was going on. I just felt that I was running unbalanced for some reason and my whole running process felt very inefficient. All the same I was pleased to get this run in on a day where the heat and humidity weren't overwhelming. I may run in Central Park tomorrow but if the weather reports are still calling for high temps and high humidity on Friday I'll do my run at the start of my day.

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