Sprints, Hills, Crossfit, and Running Clinic

Welcome to a post of random updates on running-ish things from the past week-ish.  I did say “random”.  You’ve been warned…

I went to the school track for a morning run.  Actually, it was for morning sprints.  In all the places I’ve read tips for running faster (since I still need to break that 2:30 mark in my half!) they always say add sprints to your training regime.  So I sprinted as fast as I could on the straightaway, walked the curve, the jogged the other straightaway and curve.  Repeat six times.  I don’t know how fast I was actually going, but it sure FELT fast and it actually gave me a runner’s high!  That’s, like, one of three times ever that’s happened I think.

The other thing those running tips say to increase speed is to run hills.  So I’ve been frequenting this one over the past few weeks:

IMG_9694

Doesn’t look like much from this angle, but there are over sixty steps there on the left and about 80% up it gets steeper.  I run as fast as I can up it, then walk down (which is just barely long enough to catch my breath).  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  It’s a beast.

You know this thing from the internet?

What-I-look-like-when-I-run

‘Twas confirmed when I set the camera on the step to take a picture.

IMG_9693

Emma Coburn I am not.

By the way, sprint day followed by hill day equals shin splints for Alissa.  Again.  Grrr.

HIIT update: I gave up on squats and lunges for now because my knees hated me for it so so much.  But going strong with pushups and situps.  My abs ache, and yet my arms are doing okay thanks to a pushup tip from an ex-Navy-ite: planting your hands further apart makes them a little easier.  Crossfitters might roll their eyes at my silly little pushups, but I’m still pretty proud of them.  🙂

I’ve considered Crossfit.  Yeah, I know, Crossfitters seem rather intense, and I’m a bit intimidated by them.  Best way to face intimidation: head-on!  There’s no way I could afford to do something like Crossfit long-term, but if I want to continue strength training (and I think I do) then I’d love to learn more about the right ways to lift and such so that I don’t hurt myself.  Crossfit seemed like a way I could get started on that.  And there’s a club only a few blocks fro my home.

(Note: every time I need to be more inspired to do strength training, I watch this.  Never fails.  And my jaw always drops at 2:25; how does she DO that?!)

Their introductory classes were sold out, but I did see a thing online for a Crossfit running clinic for $25.  At 11:30.  On a 90-degree day.  Yikes!  After much debating, I decided to sign up.  Wanted to get some more formal and specific advice and feedback on my running.

The clinic was on the Pose Method, and it was hot.  Really hot.  We were melting, but thankfully the class itself didn’t involve too much running.  Primarily short drills in changing your gait, posture, etc.  Almost the entire clinic was done shoe-less, just socks.  Socks on astroturf is surprisingly hot, which I guess kept us bouncing.  Key things learned:

  • landing softly on the ball of your foot rather than your heel, but letting your heels still kiss the ground
  • lifting your leg with your hamstrings (big muscle) rather than hip flexors (small muscle)
  • leaning forward slightly, letting gravity pull you forward
  • keeping your legs under you as much as possible

The instructor was great and video-taped us at the beginning and the end to show changes.  We all showed improvement (though this again confirmed that I run like the girl in the yellow jacket…) but I do need to work on picking my feet up more.  Too much time on the ground, not enough time in the air.  Homework assignment: jumping rope.

*****

I’m still shocked pretty much daily that the girl who despised running the mile in gym and basically hated gym class in general (except parachute day) and never really participated in any athletics (unless you count some marching band and tap-dancing?) has become so interested in fitness.   I admired those athletes for so long, and it just shows that it’s never too late to define and become the person you want to be.

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2 Responses to Sprints, Hills, Crossfit, and Running Clinic

  1. cwupcake says:

    I was just videotaped while running by a running coach. (Can I still say ‘videotaped’ when it was done with an iPad?) Trust me- the pic of you running looks a thousand times better than what I looked like!

    • Alissa says:

      I swear the pros must all take some kind of secret how-to-look-like-a-badass-while-running class. Each time I get an e-mail link to race photos, I wonder how the photographers always manage to capture me when I’ve just landed and the impact is shifting everything on my body down — including jowls I didn’t know I had.

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