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Keeping Pace, Issue #007 -- Run Softly Then Wolf Down a Muffin
March 01, 2013

Quick Feet for Soft Running

Running ‘softly’ is one of the keys to a healthy long term running career. Soft running means running in such a way that minimizes the impact on your body when your feet hit the ground. Soft running is less the objective and more the resulting benefit of running with good technique. However, since good running technique does not come naturally for most of us, it’s something we need to practice over and over, like a golf swing, until it becomes more instinctive.

One of the most effective and fun drills for minimizing your ground contact time is the quick feet drill which helps to increase your running cadence. You might think that training to hit the ground more frequently would actually increase the pounding to your body however just the opposite is true. When you increase the number of times your feet hit the ground a few changes occur in your running form.

To accommodate the quicker cadence, your hamstrings fire quicker, your heels come up faster and as a result your stride shortens since you simply don’t have time to make those huge strides that would otherwise drive your feet out in front of your body. So the main benefit of a shorter stride is helping you to move away from landing on your heels, or ‘heel striking’- the true culprit to unnecessary running impact and the 'arch' enemy of running speed! Runners of any level can practice increasing their running cadence because cadence is not pace related! It is just as easy to lift your heels straight up under your butt at 180 steps per minute going 5 miles/hour as it is at 9 miles/hour. The difference is 180 or more steps per minute comes more naturally when you are running fast.

Quick Feet Drill

Before getting into the drill, let’s do a quick review of good running technique.
  • Good posture – head over torso, chest slightly puffed out
  • Relaxed shoulders, arms slightly bent and always along sides of the body
  • Fall forwards from the ankles not from the waist
  • Pull heels up under and towards your butt by engaging your hamstrings
  • Let feet fall naturally back down (this is way harder than it sounds)
What better way to work on increasing your cadence than running to the beat of some good tunes? Here’s a fresh list of easy rock running tunes that will have you running at a good cadence when you follow the beat. As always, the list starts out with songs that are a little slower to use either as a warm up, or for those of you who are still quite far from 180 steps per minute. As the list progresses so does the cadence.

Ratch's Training Fuel

I know. Another dessert recipe BUT… in case you haven't heard, a huge secret to weight management and just eating well in general is to fuel your training and recovery with food that is nutritious and just as important, easily accessible! Not only are these just yummy, some of the health and recovery benefits include:
  • cholesterol lowering effects
  • good for your heart
  • anti-oxidative powers - Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium
  • rich in vitamin A, dietary fiber, minerals

Pumpkin Streusal Muffins

  • 2 cups of almond meal
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of cloves ground
  • 2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 3 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Streusal Topping

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 3 tsp of palm coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ground flax seed

Directions: In a bowl, mix dry ingredients . In another bowl whisk together wet ingredients. Combine and pour into muffin tin. Sprinkle streusal topping. Bake at 375 for 20 min. or until tooth pick comes out clean. Makes 12 medium sized muffins.


MYRG Quote of the Month

"No matter how carefully you plan your goals they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto."

W. Clement Stone

**Next month** - Another addition to the running music playlist, this time harder rock to help with your running cadence. Also, the announcement of a scary alliance!

Here's to keeping pace with your running goals!

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