Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why I’m Going to Live An Extra 7-9 Years

First things first! No one guessed the stray dog’s name or breed (from my last post). She is a Blue Heeler/Border Collie mix named Kaia! I think she looks more an Aussie Shepard myself, but that’s what the owner told me.

As you know, last week I eliminated speed work to make sure my knee was going to behave. When you are slightly on the verge of injury – rest is the best thing. And, if your are not totally idle, for God’s sake cut out/decrease speed, frequency and high mileage.

So, after a successful long run on Sunday, I brought back in my speed today in the form of the tempo run (and no knee pain!). Is it just me or does everyone think tempo runs are more challenging than intervals? Granted, the paces aren’t as fast, but there is no rest like you get with intervals. The point of a tempo is to not take breaks, right? I like breaks. You know, time for a cigarette and stuff.

Typically, a tempo run will start with a mellow warm up and end with a nice cool down. On tap for today was to warm up for 2 miles, run tempo for 4 miles and cool down for 1 mile.  The miles sandwiched in between warm up/cool down were to be my half marathon pace + 10 seconds, with the 6th mile at my 10K pace. Here’s how it shook out:

Mile 1 (warm up): 9:18
Mile 2 (warm up): 9:23
Mile 3: 8:20
Mile 4: 8:10
Mile 5: 8:12
Mile 6: 7:52
Mile 7 (cool down): 9:23

Speaking of injuries, my mom brought me this article from today’s Wall Street Journal about the benefit of having a gait analysis to prevent injuries in runners. I think my mom doesn’t want her little girl hurt (yet, again).


I have had a few gait evaluations done and I think over time it has definitely helped me to increase efficiency and decrease risk of injury. Most helpful for me has been Chi Running and working with a coach who videotaped me running outside so he could pick apart all of my flaws. Basically the things I have worked the most on are increased cadence (180 bpms), shorter strides and posture.

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Some interesting points from the article:

  • Runners have a 50% chance of getting injured. The number is much higher for marathon runners. Well, crap.
  • It’s not how much or fast you run, but HOW you run that causes injury
  • Gait analyses show that many runners stride too far out in front of their bodies, or land with their legs at awkward angles
  • Studies show that runners' joints and bones are healthier than the average Joe. Runners are actually significantly less likely to experience arthritis or require a major joint replacement than people who don't run. YES!
  • Best news I’ve heard all day >>>A study showed running or another form of vigorous exercise postponed disability by 16 years and death by seven to nine years. That means I won’t be using my walker until 70 or so!
  • Regarding older runners – the “shufflers” can hang in there for a really long time. I foresee me and my sagging self shuffling along well into my 80s.

In my opinion there can be lots of factors that contribute to injuries – nutrition, over training, etc – but running form is a biggie. And, proper shoes.

Ever had a gait analysis done? What did you find out?



  1. I have never had a gait analysis done. I'd be curious to see what it would be. I don't think my form is wrong when I run (I'm sure everyone says that until they see themselves) I do know that I have a slight lean forward. Fortunately I haven't had any injuries, so my form can't be that bad.

  2. I also did a Chi Running seminar with slow motion gait analysis. It was interesting to see EXACTLY what goes on when your feet hit the ground. Luckily, my gait was pretty decent so there wasn't much to talk about other than I needed to shorten my gait a bit. It's amazing to watch the stresses you put on your legs and feet during running. Scary, too.

  3. Glad the knee is feeling better! Yay! I agree...tempo harder than intervals. Must be why I like Tuesday better than Thursday. Never had a gait analysis done...the thought of having to see myself running on film terrifies me! Probably should suck it up and do it...

  4. I've never had a gait analysis done, but before I started working with my CrossFit trainer, she analyzed me when I did squats and some other CF stuff...and worked on those areas. Apparently my glutes weren't firing. Tell THAT to my family....

    In all seriousness, she hit the nail on the head and I'm currently enjoying some really fast splits and fun! Who knew?

  5. Glad your knee seems to be all better! I have had a gait analysis and full PT eval. done, which revealed that I over-stride a bit and have a pretty marked leg length difference, which possibly explains why I'm constantly injured on just one side of my body! One PT gave me a lift for my shoe, but another one told me that I've adapted over my life to the leg-length difference, and that the lift would just cause more problems. Nothing like totally contrary advice! I took the lift out but am now laid up with all manner of knee troubles, so maybe it's time to rethink it. If only my body could keep up with all the grand plans that my brain has for it :)

  6. I've never had a gait analysyis done but I do have that garmin foot pod to try and get my turnover to 180 or so. I also am conscious to not over stridee or heel strike. Luckily the only pain I had was years ago befor I was a "serious" runner and it went away with new shoes (my shoes at the time were probably 5+ years old - eek!)

    All good news on the longevity, etc! Even more incentive to keep running!

  7. I had my gait analyzed once, and the only thing it saw was how my left knee goes out just a tiny bit.I tried to correct it but it requires SEVERE concentration so it hasn't quite worked out for me. Oh well, my knee is just going to have to go out a little.

  8. I did a simple gait analysis when I got fitted for shoes about a year ago and have worked hard to correct form problems. I need to get a more detailed analysis done now that I think I have corrected those problems and see what I need to fix now. Great post and glad your knee is feeling better.

  9. I had a gait analysis a few months back because I was buying new running shoes for myself, as I plan to jog around our neighborhood every morning. I was surprised because the sales clerk told me that I have a cavus foot or high arch. He then recommended me a number of shoes that I could buy for myself. My husband also had a gait analysis and he has a flat feet. It is really nice that we had gait analysis, so that we could properly buy shoes that is right for our shoe type.

  10. I've been thinking about having a gait analysis done. I can tell that something is off with my gait because my right leg experiences fatigue and soreness totally different from what I feel in my left leg. Something is off balance.

  11. My dad sent me the same article.. Nice to know our parents are concerned ;-) Good thing I still haven't told him and my mom that I signed up for my 2nd Ironman after swearing I would be a 1 and done or he might have had more to say.

  12. Good idea. I think I'll have the Hubs try and video tape me to see what I look like when I run. I have no idea where to get an gait analysis. Some race pictures look great and some not so good.... My 50th birthday is coming up and I'm planning on running til I"m 100! :)

  13. I usually think intervals are harder, except for todays tempo run- 1 mile warmup and cooldown with 10 miles in between at 8:18 pace. Would have been fine but my legs were toast from doing Iron Strength yesterday (a workout designed for runners- been doing it for months and I STILL get sore legs after it- sucks so good). Oh well- simulates what that last 10k of a marathon feels like! My Mom gave me a similar magazine article yesterday on injury prevention, rest, and recovery yesterday. Aren't moms great?! No gait analysis yet- would definitely be curious! (Other than the shoe store people on the treadmill for 20 seconds who told me I overpronate.)

  14. I totally love tempo runs and intervals are solo much tougher.

  15. I had a gait analysis done at a running store. Does that help? I found out I pronate. I didn't learn anything about posture or cadence though, so maybe it wasn't really complete?

  16. I did. They tried to sell me Newtons. I didn't buy them.

  17. Just my opinion, but if you think that tempo runs are harder than intervals, then you are either doing the tempo run too fast or the interval run too slowly. Love it that your knee is pain free. You're going to rock the runners' world in PA.

  18. Your mom and my dad have something in common!
    I've had a gait analysis done. The local running shoe store experts in Eugene had me as an over pronator... then a few injuries later, they retested me and I had improved to a neutral.
    I thought i won the lottery there, but then when I went in for plantar fasciitis, the PT told me that I supinate.
    Then, some people they will say none of that matters. You just have to have strong feet or stay on soft surfaces.. I'd still like another road marathon though!
    Glad you are running strong!

  19. I haven't had a gait analysis but I would like to. Although, a few years ago after going to PT for broken foot (from car accident) they did give me some pointers that made a huge difference with strength and form based on what they observed in my PT workouts.

    As for tempo's, I think they are more mentally challenging than intervals. My coach gives me super long tempos and mentally it's more daunting to me than reading a workout for intervals.

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  21. Happy your knee is by all accounts generally improved! I have had a stride investigation and full PT eval. done, which uncovered that I over-walk a bit and have a really checked leg length contrast, which potentially clarifies why I'm continually harmed on only one side of my body! One PT gave me a lift for my shoe, yet another let me know that I've adjusted over my life to the leg-length distinction, and that the lift would admirable motivation more issues. Not at all like absolutely opposite exhortation! to 70-410 I took the lift out yet am currently laid up with all way of knee inconveniences, so perhaps it's a great opportunity to reconsider it.

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