Jul 23, 2014

I’m pleased that I haven’t pulled up too sorely after the race on Sunday. Normally after a longish race with a lot of downhill, my quads are very sore. There is some soreness, but I’ve been able to run quite freely regardless. I put this down to my forefoot running style. This was the first race I’ve done since I changed my running style from heel striking four years ago. Forefoot striking produces a lot lower peak impact on the legs.

Which brings me to another ramification from the change in style. Landing on one’s toes or forefoot comes at a cost. It means you implicitly shorten your stride length marginally, perhaps by a couple of centimetres per step. You simply can’t stretch out your leg as far each stride if you need to land on the front part of your foot.

This can add up over a long distance. Running speed is ultimately the product of leg speed (more correctly, stride frequency) multiplied by stride length. Most people’s stride frequency (how many steps per minute) doesn’t reduce with age, but their stride length does. And in my case, regardless of the age factor, the stride length has reduced quite abruptly due to the change in running style. Could it be that forefoot running, as beneficial as it is in terms of impact shock, might unavoidably result in a reduction in speed?

I’ll examine this possibility a little more in the next blog post.


On This Day


Jul 23, 2012

Distance today = 50.19 km; Total distance = 9606.05 km; Location = Clinton, Illinois – 40 08.890′ N, 88 58.343′ W; Start time = 0805 Finish time = 1615


Despite the temperature reaching 40C today (in the shade), I again benefited from the cloud cover and breeze.  In fact, I was having quite a good day, at least for the first three-quarters of the run.

Then it happened. I tripped on a ridge in the road and went down like the proverbial bag. I lost a bit of skin on my hands, but the worst outcome was I suffered what feels like a tear in my hamstring, where it attaches to my buttock. It was excruciating at first, and I had to limp for some time afterward until the pain eased. It’s still very sore as I write. It also caused my ankle to start hurting again, after it had been very good for the past few days.

I’ll have to see how I wake up tomorrow. Admittedly, I run so slowly that a hamstring injury shouldn’t be a major problem, but I still need it a little during every step. And it looks like it’s back to square one with the ankle.

And to top it off, the cloud cover lifted and the temperature went up by about ten degrees. Added to this, the traffic increased significantly on the road (I think there may have been a shift change at the nuclear power plant I had just run past) at just the time the paved shoulder disappeared completely. I had to run on an extremely rough gravel surface by the side of the road, and the unevenness made the ankle hurt even more. Yes, it was a very tough last quarter to the day.

At least the battery in the new watch lasted through the day, although it did give me a “low battery” signal just before I finished. I don’t really know what causes it to last one day and not the next.


Jul 23, 2013

Distance for today = 51.85 km; Total distance = 23,614.05 km; Location = Koongawa, SA – 33 09.958’ S, 135 53.192′ E; Start time = 0816, Finish time = 1613


I reached the 90% mark of my journey today. It certainly feels good, knowing I now have just 10% left to run.

It was a lovely day, but my feet ached for some reason. Hopefully they will feel better tomorrow. Jeff ran the last 7.5 km, and Michael rode 45 km.

We’re free-camping again tonight. We have a beautiful little spot, nestled among a grove of trees, within green fields of wheat. Michael made a great fire, and we’re gathered around it, enjoying a beer. The sun will set soon, and dinner will be cooked on the open fire. It doesn’t come much better than that.

I haven’t been overly original or imaginative in my blogs of late, but I put it down to tiredness. I’ve averaged 55 km per day so far for the month of July, which is probably a record for this run. I’ll pick up as I get nearer the end.