My legs hurt in new places. I have had awful doms from squatting before, but never from running. Not like this. Calves, hamstrings, hips scream at every step, and it is all down to the fantastic session on running I went to over the weekend.
Having never taken any running classes, I jumped at the opportunity to pick the brain of a person like Grace, and she did not disappoint.
In CrossFit the 400 m run features frequently, so getting some practical advice on how to improve is invaluable. Andrew opened the class introducing Grace, and emphasised the fact that finding someone to teach proper sprinting drills is surprisingly difficult. It seems a lot of running is taught by… …running. And then running some more.
With running 400m or 800m being very different from running long distance, just hitting the track won’t cut it.
Alex has already written up what the class covered on the CrossFit London blog, so I won’t repeat that here.
My first insight was my usual one: boy, I need to build up more max effort stamina…! Doing a 400m run, sprinting drills, 4 x 200m max effort and then a final 400m run is really rough. I wasn’t the only one gasping on the ground half way through.
Second, arm movement is crucial. As Grace put it, by the end of an 800m run, when your breath is out the window, posture starts to collapse and you just want it to end, pumping your arms in the way we did in the sprinting drills helps you keep form and forwards momentum together.
The main coaching point Grace gave me was to relax my upper body, especially when starting to get tired. She also pointed out that while my arm movements are ok, I need to think about pulling them back a bit more.
Third, running as done by someone who has practiced it more or less daily for over a decade is a beautiful thing. Grace is pure poetry in motion, and the inspiration drawn from just watching her effortlessly move from one side of a basketball court to another is immense.
There was also talk about using barefoot running shoes or more traditional ones. Grace’s opinion is simple and sounds intuitively correct: unless you have done a lot of running with bare feet and have proper posture for that style of running, using traditional shoes is a given. Everything else amounts to massive risk of injury.
In our society most of us use chunky and protective shoes from day one and mainly spend our time on really hard urban surfaces. Growing up using traditional shoes, a running style formed over decades isn’t simply replaced over night. Changing a body pattern (and the conditioning of your feet) is difficult and takes a long time.
For me, that means that I will use my barefoot running shoes only for short distances and when running on a treadmill (because I do love how comfortable and light they are). For anything above 3k I’ll stick to my regular running shoes, at least for now. Besides, variation is always a good thing.
Certainly hope there will be more of these sessions in the future!
Mentioned to Andrew after the class that they really ought to shoot a few video clips with Grace teaching the sprinting drills and put up on YouTube.
First session at Gales Gardens. Can’t for the life of me understand where the advertised “gardens” are, it’s all just concrete backyards, railway arches and metal fences…
Met a fellow Swede. Again reminded how much more fun and social this is compared to going to a globo gym.
Have for some reason had mental lower back pain since the session on Tuesday. Made me remember how often my back hurt before I started doing CrossFit and how bad it sometimes got the first few weeks.
Started easing up this morning, and didn’t bother me much during this session, so hoping it’s a passing thing.
Felt really good throughout in fact, no worrisome shoulder pain. Knackered now though, found the WOD really tiring. Clearly lost some of my metcon stamina.
Incredible jelly legs now. Actually had difficulties going down the stairs to the tube… :D
DUs, shoulder stretching with PVC
Paleo chair, hip stretches
K2E, 5 reps, max reps
T2B, 5 reps, max reps
I did T2B all reps. K2E for some reason makes my shoulder complain bad, while T2E doesn’t… Something with the more acute angle of the torso when touching knees to elbows?
OHS drills, 8kg bar only
5x10 OHS, 15kg bar only
Hang clean drills, 8kg, 20kg, 30kg
3 rounds for time:
50 air squats
7 ring dips (blue band)
7 ring rows
10 hang cleans (30kg)
Time: 09:59, not all too happy with that. Didn’t even have 2 “real” ring dips in me. On the positive side, they didn’t hurt at all which I expected.
Had to break the squats in two sets on the second round and 4 on the 3rd.
Cleans worked well, although had to break in 5s on the 3rd round despite the low weight.
The Gym at Waterloo may be dull and uninspiring, but it ticks the boxes for the basics.
100 DUs, 28 unbroken, 8 rounds
1km run warmup, 08:00
1 mile run / sprint, 07:53
Stretching and shoulder rehab work:
Hip flexor stretch
Lower back pressed to floor, touch floor with straight arms over head
On stomach, hands in lower back, push shoulders up while circling hands to front ending with straight arms over head
Lying on side, 3x(10 lifts with back of hand up followed by 10 pumps with thumb up) on each side with 2kg dumbbell (so tiring!)
3x10 pushups, back pushed up towards ceiling
Elbows at 90 degrees, hands in front of waist, pulling rubber band apart, 3x 10
Rubber band around foot, lifting hand with straight arm to just above shoulder height, 3x10 each side
Dumbell chest presses on bench, 1x10 12kg each side warmup, 3x8 18kg each side
Started training again, albeit light and cautiously. Buying day passes at The Gym in Waterloo two days a week to go do shoulder exercises and some light lifting. Not that I really like the place (always crowded, far too few free weights, only one Oly barbell…), but it works for this purpose. And pay as you go gyms are the way forward!
Also gives me an excuse to go visit my beloved Lower Marsh a couple of times a week! Getting up early for some gym work and then breakfast at one of my favourite hang outs is a great start to the day. Wish there was more WiFi in the area though…
Stupidly, doing exercises with light weights make me feel silly. Doing shoulder presses with 10kg? Vanity kicks in, and I immediately want to drop the barbell and go get a heavier one. Why does that matter? It doesn’t.
In fact, I think this is really good for me. With that very light weight I can really think about form. Squeezing my butt, tightening my core, active shoulders, getting my head out between my arms, punching the ceiling.
50 double unders. Broke it twice.
1 mile rowing for time: 6:45
After stretching, some dumbbell rotations while lying on my side (2x20) and push ups (2x10) making sure to push my shoulder blades up towards the ceiling.
Those dumbbell rotations while lying on the side are surprisingly tiring, even for my fresh shoulder!
2 sets of 10 reps @ 50kg
2 sets of 5 reps @ 70kg
1 set of 5 reps @ 80kg
3 sets of 10 reps using a 10kg barbell