Monday, August 2, 2010

Running Backwards Saves A Session

If there was ever a day to take off from running, today was that day. And I ignored the signs.

Running today was a real chore. The legs felt totally rung out, hips felt stiff and painful, and it was in the mid-eighties again even at 5:00 PM. To ad insult to injury, I had put in a strong 10 miler on Friday followed by a marathon long run on Saturday. So, I was tired.

Most of this run started out as a run-walk, which means after running for 15 minutes and not getting any power out of my legs, I switched to walking a bit before running again. At the pace I was using, I think jogging would be a better description. After running for a few miles, I decided to move to more of a fartlek format. I could manage a faster pace, but only for about 100 meters. After that, I started dragging again. So I alternated between the fast pace 100 meters and the slower paced 200 or more meters.

After hitting mile 6 and not feeling any better, I decided to change things up again. Since the left hip was still feeling weak and sore, I decided to try running in a different fashion to work a different set of muscles. So I started running backwards.

Running backwards was slower than running forward, but it did turn out a different kind of workout. I was on my toes much of the time, my quads were bearing much of the strain, and the hamstrings and glutes were supplying much of the drive. And, when I started running forward again, I noticed an extra spring in my forward gait.

Running backwards is not something I could do for long periods. If you have weak lower legs or are nursing shin splints, I would not recommend this exercise. All of the muscles responsible for shin splints get a serious workout and too much of this will definitely aggravate the condition. However, with judicious use, running backwards will develop some of those leg muscles that we normally ignore during a normal workout.

If you are looking to change things up during one of your easy runs, try running backward for a few intervals and work some of those unused leg muscles.

Total exposure today was 2 hours. Used the Asics 1130s.

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